some words not in use in 1900

With Ganymede Quartet, I tried to make all the things that weren’t slavery in the 20th century as historically accurate as possible, and that included the language I used. Here are some words that would have come in handy but were not appropriate for the time period.

  • “Sexy.” You don’t realize what convenient shorthand this word is until you can’t use it. Modern usage of sexy dates from the 1920s. Apparently “sexful” would have been all right in 1900, but I wasn’t about to refer to any character as sexful for what I think should be obvious reasons!
  • “Asshole” as derogatory term/insult. Calling people assholes didn’t see common usage until the 1930s.
  • “Jerk” as a noun/derogatory term, though it could be used as a verb, as in “jerk off.” Referring to people as jerks also dates from the 1930s.
  • “Wank.” Dates from around 1950.
  • “Come” as a noun, as in the product of ejaculation, though it could be used as a verb.  The verb form actually dates from the 1650s, but referring to semen as come is as recent as the 1920s.
  • “Blow job.” This one really wasn’t a surprise. Dates from about 1948.

A gentleman by the  name of Jonathon Green, creator of an English language slang dictionary, has made extremely handy timelines of sex terms, which you can access from his page. Very useful for historical smut :)

Penis, vagina, and alcohol terms:
Intercourse terms:


2 thoughts on “some words not in use in 1900”

  1. I hate you. You are ruining my life.

    1.) At 12:01 a.m. on September 28th I opened my Kindle and there it was. I read until after 2:00 a.m. even though I knew I had to be ready to leave at 7:30 a.m. Then I couldn’t fall asleep thinking about poor frightened Henry and confused Martin.

    2.) I had planned to sleep on the trip from Philadelphia to Dover, DE but instead I read.

    3.) It was already dark when we started home, but unfortunately about half-way home, I remembered I could read it on my smart phone, so I did.

    4.) I am retired but I had a ton of stuff to take care of this morning, and I did. Because of my granddaughter’s work schedule we eat dinner at 2:00 p.m. After I cleaned up, I had to pick up a few things at the grocery store. On the way home, I stopped at Starbucks for a cup of coffee…and pulled out my Kindle. I read until 10:00 p.m., only pausing to put on a load of laundry.

    5.) I only stopped at 10:00 p.m. because I only have 20% of the book left and I want to save for when I go to bed. I am dreadfully afraid you are going to zing me with a cliff hanger that will leave me desperate for Book 2.

    I repeat: I hate you. You are ruining my life. njs

    1. Your hatred brings me delight. I live on your tears.

      This made my day! Perhaps it’s irresponsible of me, but I’m thrilled my story is capable of having an impact on anyone’s life, even if that means it messes their schedule up a little bit. I hope you enjoy that last 20% as much as everything that came before :) Thank you SO MUCH for letting me know you like my boys <3

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