phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at


Posted by David FG on November 16, 2009 at 09:33

In Reply to: Birds posted by Smokey Stover on November 16, 2009 at 02:27:

: : : : : : Why are so many sexual euphemisms related to birds? Bird, tit, shag, booby, cock, chough, the list is long.

: : : : : I wouldn't call those euphemisms; rather the opposite! But the names of other animals are just as commonplace: bitch, foxy, wolf whistle, dogging, and so on. (VSD)

: : : : And then of course, there are 'the birds and the bees'.

: : : : A thought does occur to me: many (most?) people will never have seen a wild mammal mating (come to that, outside the farming community, most won't have seen a non-wild mammal mating) but everyone has seen pigeons, sparrows and so on thus engaged. Might this have given rise to a tradition that birds are particularly active in this area?

: : : : Though I believe the fact that a number of our cruder words for sexual activities and bodily parts are also the names of birds is more coincidence than anything else: for example, I believe 'tit' as in the bird species is not related to 'tit' as in breast.

: : : : DFG

: : : I guess your television system doesn't provide Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, ... I have thereby seen even whales mating. And, there are no dogs in your neighborhood.
: : : I have never seen "pigeons, sparrows, and so on thus engaged" in real life though I have seen the nests and eggs and baby birds. The many squirrels in my area, however, seem to burst forth from the ground fully grown.

: : Possibly, but I rather suspect that the usages under discussion somewhat pre-date the wonders of television (even terrestrial as opposed to satellite).

: : If you've never seen pigeons mating you must have spent a lot of time looking the other way. The only time the ones around here stop is to eat.

: : DFG

: I have a bird-feeder that draws a lot of tiny birds (sparrows, mostly), but also grackles that can barely figure out how to get at the food, and pigeons that can't stand on the little perches at all. They are far too busy picking seeds up off the ground to do any spooning. They also have to dodge our cats.
: SS

Eastpondian birds clearly have different priorities - or maybe it just says something about me.

I do seem to have some idea stuck in my head that the association between birds (particularly doves) and concupiscence is an old one.

And I love 'spoon'! I assume you are using it in its older and more innocent sense: it is a word that has taken on new meanings - not entirely inappropriately for this discussion.


  • Birds R. Berg 17/November/09