Saturday, September 18, 2004

Hey man

Today's word of the day is "man"--not "man" as in "Hey man, you're harshing my mellow," but "man" the prefix, as in "man-smell," "man-whore," and "man-spat."

I've been noticing more and more of these words lately, which are sometimes used to name something a dude has that is more dudette-like: "man-boobs," for example. But I don't know how much consistency there is among these words--"mankind," "manhole," "man hours," and "man-eater" are familiar and random enough, and The Word Spy website lists a few more man-words, like "man cave" (a guy's fortress of solitude in his house, possibly including power tools or blunt instruments) "man breasts," (man-boobs), and "manscaping" (the shaving, cutting, trimming, or otherwise annihilating of a guy's body hair). "Man-root" and "man-balls" go back to Walt Whitman, but I don't think the following words can be found in much English literature: "man-pole," "man-diapers," "man-beast," "man-love," "man-toys," "man-package," and "man-pile."

Then again, the Oxford English Dictionary surprised me by showing some pretty old citations for "man-flesh" (1812), "man-witch" (1886), and "man-smell" (1905). "Man-ape," "man-fish," "man-leech," "man-sphinx," and "man-fiend" are also listed, but I'm sad to report no citations for "man-bunny."

Here's one last man-word you may not have heard of: a "manmaid," who is a male member (uh, unfortunate choice of words there...) of a bridal party, also known as the "dude of honor." I don't know how widespread this man-fad really is, but man, I know I'll be one happy man-blogger if I ever get to be a dude of honor.

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