I’ve mentioned I own this book. There are more Dicks inside than a whorehouse on Dollar Day. And there our story begins –

In the heyday of early to mid 20th Century detective stories, the private eye and legitimate detectives were called “dicks.” The etymology has many tangents, but the most believable to me is criminal slang from 1800’s England used “dick” to mean “to look or see”. Derived from the Gypsy word “dik” meaning the same. The activity of looking, possibly surreptitiously, was known as “dicking”. The descriptive noun for one who dicks is, no surprise, a dick.

I have been reading stories from The Black Mask, as well as Hammett and Chandler shorts. I would occasionally snicker aloud over some lines.

We’ll take your dick along so you don’t try to get wise – Your dick’s got quite a mouth on him – Who let that ugly dick in here – What’s the matter, dick? You not get enough of us earlier? – Come on, dick. Show us what you’ve got – the house dick was short and fat – that dick’s sure got a hard head – Watch your back. The last thing this department needs is another stiff dick – And those are the tip of the iceberg. (Unintentional pun)

I started thinking of all the ways dick gets used now. Much the same as fuck. Transitive and intransitive verb, noun, adverb, adjective, pronoun. Dick ‘em down, we got this dicked, he dicked her, she got dicked, stupid (etc) dick, don’t be a dick, just like a dick, dick, dick it, grow some dick, pencil dick, dickin’ off, dick breath, the test was dick hard, stiff as a dick.

Bearing in mind these various uses is it any wonder when we see a word or series of words that our minds slip straight into the gutter, or the locker room? I mean, come on, what’s the first thing that crossed your mind when you saw TubenASS?

Well, they got it dicht for you, right here.

Published by

Phil Huston


21 thoughts on “DICHT!”

    1. I could be wrong as can be here, but if I remember the class before I quit college dick, in this instance was some south sea indigenous word for whale and the book was loosely named after some south sea island where an evil whale taunted the islanders. Hence island name like Moby and their dick, or whale. Renamed today it would probably be singular, like Whale! Along the lines of Alien! Or Shark! It would be a stretch to think Melville was snickering quietly over “Ahab may have lost a leg but he’s got a Whale of a dick.” But then…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s worse when you use a word or phrase and didn’t know it had a secondary meaning until you see the twisted disturbed look on your coworker’s face and you go home and look it up on Urban Dictionary 😭

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Brings to mind an ol’ George Carlin’ skit when his point was it’s okay to portray killing in this society, but not fucking. So he swapped the two words to make his point:
    We’re gonna fuck ya, Sherriff. We gonna fuck ya real slow.”
    Yeah, we’re gonna fuck ya hard.
    And believe me Sheriff, if we could fuck ya more than once, we would.
    Yeah, we’d all fuck ya.
    Maybe a random association, but I still laugh!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Not so random. Carlin was on the heels of Lenny Bruce. Before our time mostly, but the guy said some interesting things in the censorship vein and took it wide angle on “offensive”. His take was unweighting the words. If we don’t allow the word any weight it loses its impact. Fuck. So what? He took it all the way to race and name calling. And he’s right. He also had his middle finger loaded and cocked.

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  3. I recall, pretty clearly, my father using the phrase “dickin’ around” to mean doing nothing in particular but doing it nonetheless.
    Here’s a question for ya, we lose words to negative connotations all the time. One that, to me, seems a considerable loss is “gay”. Who, these days, allows themselves to feel light and gay and free from worry?
    I wonder if such words ever do the full circle and, once again, become words that mean what they used to mean before being commandeered for alternate meanings?

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    1. We lose words all the time due to (lack of) education, the culture. Since mid last century our society has thickened the pseudo toughness attitude to where many lighter, happier, older words have disappeared. I have to dumb down writing occasionally because I falter on who the hell knows what ostentatious means? I tried to have the college educated dame in the pulp speak with a touch of educated class – He travels a great deal instead of the gum smacking He travels a lot. Merry. We had a merry time at the fair. No. We had bitchin’ time at the fair. Whatever happened to Oldsmobile and did its demise take merry with it? I deleted over half of this answer because I went off on renaming.

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