Posted by R. Berg on October 15, 2001

In Reply to: Well hung: Well, maybe posted by Fergus McCallum on October 14, 2001

: : : I was given to understand that the origin of the term well hung referred to the sad physiological effect of having one's spine broken, as when hung by the neck, with a resultant instantaneous penile erection. If the subject was not well hung, or hung well, then there was no erection.

: : : yes? no?

: : That sounds questionable. I believe hanging kills by suffocation, not by spine-breaking. If the operative feature of hanging were the breaking of the neck, it would produce quadriplegia but not necessarily death. Anyway, doesn't "well hung" usually refer to a man's endowment in the relaxed state rather than his potency?

: Death by hanging is achieved by severing the spinal cord in the neck and not by suffocation. In the Special Forces we were taught how to kill silently by snapping the neck at the base of the skull - I never had occasion to do it.

Oh, okay. I had supposed that the traditional wording of the judicial sentence, something like ". . . to be hanged by the neck until dead," implied that the process might take a long time and hence that it went on until the person being executed died from lack of oxygen.