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PTPS
01-20-2001, 10:44 PM
I happen to think Dick is a very respectable name. My
grandfather's name is Dick. How was this name corrupted, i.e. why is it used to refer to the penis, and why as a derogatory term?

Slithy Tove
01-20-2001, 11:19 PM
This was answered by a doper far more erudite than myself in an earlier thread - it's from old British army slang. BTW - my dad's name is Dick, too, and his generation was on the cusp of the sexual revolution - so he was among the last men to enjoy the name as an old-fashoined moniker, like Tad for Theodore, and among the first enjoy in it's phallic connotation.

DaveRaver
01-20-2001, 11:28 PM
"Willy" is also a British slang for penis. The movie title "Free Willy" must have gotten a few giggles there!

The Flying Dutchman
01-20-2001, 11:33 PM
What I find odd, is that when I read about a Dick in a novel, I don't get a super virile image like I do from reading about Rod, Lance, or especially Derrik.

samclem
01-20-2001, 11:50 PM
Where to begin? We did it before here (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=16130)

But,as to your questions, we may never know "How was this name corrupted, i.e. why is it used to refer to the penis, and why as a derogatory term?" These are the hard to answer parts.

To summerize; Dick as a shortened name for Richard comes about in print in English around 1553, and is used afterwards to mean a fellow, esp. if foolish or peculiar. From my Lighter, American Slang

The earliest we can find *Dick* meaning penis in print in US is 1888, one cite being military and the other student(the two greatest sources of slang!). Again, from Lighter.

If anyone can figure out the answers to the above questions, your next task will be to explain how a *dick* comes to mean a detective around the turn of the century.

Johanna
01-21-2001, 01:18 AM
DICK + BUSH = YOU'RE SCREWED

kbutcher
01-21-2001, 02:08 AM
Kind of OT but I believe they changed the name of the movie "Free Willy" in england for just that reason.

RM Mentock
01-21-2001, 03:28 AM
All the Dicks, Rogers, Orels, Willys, and Peters have formed a support group called PROWD.

Adolph Peewee
01-21-2001, 07:11 AM
Originally posted by DaveRaver
"Willy" is also a British slang for penis. The movie title "Free Willy" must have gotten a few giggles there!

hehe...and here I was thinking that movie was a documentary on vasectomies! :wally

handy
01-21-2001, 11:36 AM
A dictionary, a very handy tool:

dick \"dik\ noun [Dick, nickname for Richard] (1553)
1 chiefly Brit : fellow, chap
2 : penis usu. considered vulgar
3 [by shortening & alter.] : detective

(C)1996 Zane Publishing, Inc. and Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. All rights reserved.


See, short for 'chap'

IBBen
01-21-2001, 12:06 PM
Originally posted by kbutcher
Kind of OT but I believe they changed the name of the movie "Free Willy" in england for just that reason.

What did they call in England? Should we burn all copies of Moby Dick while we're at it? Or perhaps a little creative graffiti with a felt pen could create a new title, "Moby Bick"

Imagine the poor sod born with this name:

http://people.yahoo.com/py/psPhoneSearch.py?FirstName=richard&LastName=gay&City=&State=

Corrupted name indeed.

mnemosyne
01-21-2001, 02:28 PM
I always assumed that the idea for dick = penis came from the fact that Dick must have beeen a pretty common name, i.e. "Every Dick and Jane", and people just started associating the name with "male" and hence "penis".

melchizedek
01-21-2001, 02:49 PM
No, they didn't change the name from "Free Willy", that's what we called it here in sunny England.

Pjen
01-21-2001, 04:12 PM
From the Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary:

"b. The penis Coarse Slang
1891 in 'Farmer' Slang"

Relatively recent apparently as this is the earliest citation.

However the OED itself says that the term dick applies to the flower the periwinkle, and winkle is slang for the penis. However I cannot find a citation for winkle as a penis before 1951.

Who knows. Anyone know more.

I had believed that Willy as a slang word for penis dated from the first world war. Kitty Kelly in The Royals relates it to a rude poke at Kaiser Wilhelm, however, checking up for this post I now find that the OED has an eighteeenth century citation.

Free Willy did cause some merriment here in England.

I remember that Peter is also slang for the penis in the USA as I was at school with a person called Peter Holder and this caused much merriment.