Body Parts and Risqué Toponyms

in From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780226534657
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226534640 | DOI:
Body Parts and Risqué Toponyms

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This chapter focuses on the toponyms used in the United States that offend people bothered by rude or otherwise impolite references to body parts, sex, or excrement. A form of geographic cussing, rowdy feature names are markedly less controversial than their ethnically derogatory counterparts, partly because the irreverent miners and ranchers responsible for most of them have avoided shockers, and partly because questionable toponyms occur mostly in remote, sparsely inhabited areas with few eyebrows to raise. Many of the risqué toponyms presented in the chapter are more impish than salacious, and some are innocent victims (or beneficiaries) of society's penchant for giving old words new, markedly different meanings. The male anatomy is commemorated far less frequently than the female form because phallic landforms are comparatively rare in nature and most of the namers were men.

Keywords: toponyms; risqué toponyms; geographic cussing; phallic landforms; male anatomy; female form

Chapter.  3402 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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