Sayings you didn't realize were obscene

…or at had obscene origins.
The classic example, as I only learned in college, was that SNAFU didn’t stand for Situation Normal, All Fouled Up (as the homeside newspapers translated the WWII-era phrase for the folks back home), but Situation Normal, All Fucked Up.

Similarly (as Allan Sherman’s book The Rape of the A.P.E. informed me)*

FUBAR = Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition
JANFU = Joint Army Navy Fuckup, and so on.
It was from the Oxford Dictional of Naval Terms that I learned that what is called a Cut Splice was originally a Cunt Splice (named for its shape – “Cut Splice” makes no sense), and that the Contiline of a rope was originally the Cunting, which I can understand.
well, recently I learned that the phrase “For the Birds” is a shortened, cleaned up version of its early 20th century original, “Shit for the Birds” , which explains why it carries the sense of “nonsense” or “worthless” that the truncated “For the Birds” doesn’t explain

Se here, for instance – Shit for the birds - Idioms by The Free Dictionary

Finally (for this entry, at least), I just learned that “feisty” derives, ultimately, from “fart”:

Think about that the next time you want to call someone “feisty”.

Any others?

*A book published by the press owned by his friend, Hugh Hefner, Playboy Press. Seems appropriate that this comes up now, with Hefner’s death.

Does “Lickety-Split” mean something…dirty?

You’d like to think so, but, as the column by the Perfect Master you quoted makes clear, no.

On the other hand, “hoist by his own petard” certainly has obscene roots

While there’s some debate about the origin of “gyp” (as in swindle) it could be derived from “gypsy,” putting it in the same category as “jew someone down.”

I don’t use either one, and call out people who do.

I used to call people “buggers” when I was a kid, until my dad explained that it wasn’t for use in polite company. I figured it meant they were people who bugged you.

Somewhat related.

For a long time as a kid I always hear the first line of the lymeric “there once was a man from Nantuket”

FINALLY hearing the damn whole thing was like popping a zit I’d had for like a decade.

There are, it turns out, quite a lot of obscene limericks that start out with that line (or one very similar).

But, to be fair, there’s a trio of surprisingly good clean ones:

To be honest, though, I doubt if these would exist were it not for the prior existence of the “dirty” forms.

Likewise, to “futz around” really means to “fart around.”

In elementary school I said “Screw you” to another kid in class just joking around and the teacher disciplined me. I did not know at the time that it related in anyway to fornication.

Two of my favorite profanities are “frig” and “bugger”. Most Americans don’t know what they mean, so they think you are using a quaint little euphemism, like “darn” or “heck”.

Actually, both words refer to specific sexual acts.

Has anyone ever heard of " tighter than Dick’s hatband?" Think about it for a moment. I used the expression for many years without any thought about its meaning.

I guess technically when you say something “sucks” you are saying it “sucks dick” thus saying it’s “gay” and thus equating “gay” with “bad” which was ubiquitous when I was a kid and is now rightly frowned upon but “sucks” still remains.

“Bugger” I used casually until well into college, when I met some Brits who explained to me its derivation and how it’s a bit more vulgar of a word than it generally is here in the US.

“Frig” is just a euphemism for “fuck,” though, isn’t it? Does it also carry a more offensive meaning in the UK? (Truth be told, I’ve only heard Americans use the word – and I myself do – in the form “friggin’” or “frickin’” for “fuckin’.”)

I learned the “tiger” version of the “Eeny meeny miney mo” rhyme as a child. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I discovered the unbowlderized original version.

I thought “a baby’s arm holding an apple” was just some weird strange thing you could get from life, like a Matador, a Mack truck, an autographed picture of Randy Mantooth and Bob Dylan’s new unlisted phone number. I didn’t know it referred to something obscene-ish.

“Putz” has been used on TV for so long, and it’s such a funny-sounding word to English-speakers anyway, that it might be a shock to find out it means “dick”.

“Schmuck” means the same thing, BTW.

I had to google that one, having never heard it. I get it now, but it still doesn’t resonate with me.

There was a commercial on TV where two little kids are calling each other, “Dorks”.

Everything is dirty if you dig deep enough.

I dunno. We used to to say that something “sucks raw eggs,” when I was a kid. I don’t know why, and it was probably a euphemism for “sucks dick,” but that was the only version I ever knew, and if I said something “sucks,” it was short for that. It’s just as logical to say that women who sucked dick used to be thought of as sluts, and therefore “sucks” is a form of slut-shaming. No one thinks of it that way in their heads when they say it. No anymore than anyone equates “cool” with being literally “cool-headed,” even though the origin of the term comes from cool people being people who could maintain a disinterested manner while “squares” “lost their cool.”

Shmuck is actually a very bad word if you are a Yiddish speaker. I knew better than to say it as a child-- I’d get punished if I dared.

“Frig” means to use your hand. You can frig yourself (masturbation) or you can frig your partner (giving a hand job).