phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: That Sucks!

Posted by R. Berg on May 02, 2001

In Reply to: That Sucks! posted by Terry on May 02, 2001

: My kids and I recently got into a discussion about this saying, and opinions were devided as to whether it just meant 'that's awful' or whether it was actually a very rude saying meaning to suck on a certain part of the male anatomy. Can anybody clear this up?

My opinion: This phrase did originally refer to a sexual act, but its meaning has generalized to "That's awful," so that it no longer strikes the average American as obscene. (Any average Americans reading this are invited to correct me.) The Dictionary of American Slang has no entry for it. It does have an entry for "suck," the first sense being a taboo one and the second (derived from the first) being "to curry favor with people in authority." The same book shows a similar history for "suck up to."