Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
E-Mail: Enter 'Beacon' in subject box. Send to: Minnekota@Referencedesk.org
Okay. Begin with the fact that I am a scholar of the English language. The origin of words and how they are used to name certain things are an important part of the profound work I do.
Something has bothered me for some time. El-spousarito and daughters have asked me to provide my perceptions when they venture out in jeans that may be too tight. They ask if the jeans fit, but they are really asking if the jeans are too tight and if certain topographical features are in evidence. My usual reply is, if you're worried about that, wear a %*$^ing skirt.
A certain term describes the feature that they are asking for evidence of. It came to mind today as I made my near-daily visit to The Onion
. It occurs in one of their faux advertisements.
I realize that 9/11 has intruded Arab culture into the American lifestyle in ways that the bomb jockeys never imagined. I have also been a great observer of phenomena, natural and contrived. I am well versed in the making of metaphors and similes. I have visited zoos to make the necessary scientific observations to trace the root of this word. I am befuddled, I think. But this is a problem that needs the collective brain-power from both sides of the aisle.
Why is it called cameltoe? And who is responsible for naming it?