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Potlicker or potlikker

Posted by Marian on April 29, 2004

This one's in my Webster's Third New International Dictionary, defined as "a mongrel dog, especially: stray." It came up in conversation this evening when my husband recalled a former co-worker from the early 1980s who occasionally used the word to refer, for instance, to someone he felt had attempted to cheat him in some way. This co-worker happened to be a Morman who rarely used foul language, but he used the word in such a derogatory way that there was no question what he thought of the offending party. I wondered if this was a somewhat more genteel word for the phrase "son of a bitch," which, interestingly, also seems to spring from the canine world.