johnson / john thomas / john -- penis synonyms

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johnson / john thomas / john -- penis synonyms

Post by Archived Topic » Fri Apr 16, 2004 9:08 am

i was wondering why a male sex organ is sometimes called a "johnson"...a friend's mom thought it was a regional dialect because said she has also heard it called a samson (or something along the lines of that) somewhere on the east coast. any light shed on the subject would be greatly appreciated. thanks, elise in minneapolis, USA
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johnson/penis synonyms

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Apr 16, 2004 9:22 am

Have heard it called a John Thomas over here, don't know where this originates. Could it be from Lady Chatteley's Lover?"
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Post by Archived Reply » Fri Apr 16, 2004 9:37 am

From The Slanguage of Sex (1985) by Brigid McConville & John Shearlaw:

"John Thomas The penis. Made famous by D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover which went to an obscenity trial in the 1960s for using terms like this \ which today seem ludicrously mild. But the term dates back to the 1840s at least. Sometimes abbreviated to J.T.
Another variant is John Willy. Related -- but dated -- words for penis are Johnnie and Johnson."

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"Bitterly cold; neck frozen. Face ditto; thighs ditto; Johnson ditto; & sphincter vesicae partially paralysed so that I had great difficulty to retain." (Cheadle's Journal of Trip across Canada, 1931 [2 Feb 1863])

My own John Thomas was in all the pride and panoply of prickdom. (Romance of Lust, c1866)
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Post by Archived Reply » Fri Apr 16, 2004 9:51 am

"Johnson," as I recall from research on many such synonyms ten years ago, is the surname of a world heavy-weight champion of the early twentieth century. His schwanz was of such obviously large proportions, it became more legendary than the boxing exploits of the well-endowed Mr. Johnson.
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Post by Archived Reply » Fri Apr 16, 2004 10:05 am

see lexicographer
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Post by Archived Reply » Fri Apr 16, 2004 10:20 am

I became curious after visiting Johnson Space Center near Houston.

Everyone there referred to the center as "Johnson", however in the movies the astronauts always say "Houston, we have a problem." or "Viking to Houston." I thought it would be too hillarious if they would say "Johnson we have a problem." or if in the Superman movie, if Earth were referred to as "Planet Johnson."

I thought perhaps that something about Lyndon Johnson himself, or the space rockets as phallic symbols could have played a part in the slang's origins. I now know it's birth was much earlier.
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Re: johnson / john thomas / john -- penis synonyms

Post by Ken Greenwald » Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:04 am

In the posting Funny Place Names the initials JT and John Thomas were referred to:
Posted on: 25 Jan 2009 20:35
Erik_Kowal wrote: My mother's street address has a postcode that ends in 'JT'.

When I was visiting her some years ago I overheard her spelling it out to a former colleague on the phone:

"... J for John and T for Thomas".

She realised straightaway what she had said, and we all had a good laugh.
However, not being familiar with the terms, the humor went over my head. But when I looked it up I found that it is a U.K. expression, largely unfamiliar to those of us in the U.S. But now I can laugh!

ENCARTA

JOHN THOMAS (plural John Thomases) noun: U.K. and offensive term for penis (slang ) [Origin ?)
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OXFORD DICTIONARY OR SLANG

JOHN THOMAS(1879), John or john (1934): Male genitals [arbitrary use of a male name]
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CASSELL’S DICTIONARY OF SLANG

john thomas noun 1) [late 17th century and still in use] (also john thomson, Sir Thomas): The penis (cf. ‘abraham’). 2) A liveried servant. [? like the former the latter ‘stands’ in the presence of a lady]

j.t. noun [20th century]: The penis. [abbreviation for john thomas]
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OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY

John Thomas: (a) a generic name for a livery servant; (b) slang, the penis.

John [[1934]]: Abbreviation of John Thomas
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<1928 “So I wrote my novel, which I want to call John Thomas and Lady Jane. . . But that I have to submerge into a subtitle, and call it Lady Chatterley’s Lover .”—Letter to Witter Bynner, 13 March 1928, from D. H. Lawrence> [[John Thomas and Lady Jane, an earlier and his less explicit draft of Lady Chatterley, was published posthumously in 1972. Lawrence well knew the meaning of the British slang euphemism and is what he had Lady Chatterley call her gamekeeper's penis.]]

<1934 “Here [at public-school] his first linguistic experience will be with mumfordish and swear-words (e.g. . . . john ‘penis’. . .).”— Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, Vol. 35, page 130> [[from OED]]

<1948 “How often did the nurse find him with his old john lying limply?”—Cunninghams by D. Ballantyne, II. xvi. page 241> [[from OED]]

<1971 “sneakin’ around scriblin’ John Thomas on the wall?”—Bazza Pulls it Off by B. Humphries

<1972 “The grotesquely coy accounts of sex, during which Tony tells that his ‘John Thomas wa ‘up and raring to go.’”—Times Literary Sulpplement (London> [[from Oxford Dictionary of Slang by Jojn Ayto]]

<1972 “The tip of old John brushed against the inside of my thigh.”—Private View by C. Murry, I. page 33>

<1993 “For Men, The Unkindest Cut of All . . . Forget dreams about falling, showing up unprepared for an exam or losing your teeth. There is one nightmare that strikes fear in men that Satan himself could not make worse: The knife comes out of the dark, the razor slashes, the guillotine falls, and whooosh. No more penis. No more manhood. No fatherhood. John Thomas is gone.—Washington Post, 25 June> [[A rare appearance of the phrase in a U.S. newspaper. From the infamous Bobbit case – I still think they should have left in the lot where she threw it.]]

<2001 “ED affects about 18 per cent of men aged between 50 and 59 but, for obvious reasons, only a tiny percentage comes forward for treatment. . . . Luckily, medical miracles and John Thomas doctors mean that help is at hand, but it'll cost you.”—The Independent (London), 2 December>

<2003 (book review) “. . . a three-page essay on naming children, . . . warns that some first names ‘have acquired meanings of their own, . . . In his list of . . . names he includes: . . . Bill ('invoice'), Dotty (‘crazy, daft'), Hector ('pester'), . . . John Thomas (‘penis’), . . ? It is clearly sensible not to call your baby boy John Thomas, since it means ‘penis’ . . .”—The Spectator (London), 17 May>

<2007 (sports) “What about that poor geezer who cut off his own penis in a London restaurant? The things you have to do to catch the waiter's eye these days. I wonder if he left a tip? . . . Luckily he was rushed to St John Thomas' Hospital for emergency repairs, . . . Though there's no clear motive for the unkindest cut, rumours are he'd backed West Brom for promotion and Monday's defeat at Burnley was the final straw.”—The Mirror (London), 25 April>

<2008 “Any verbal reference to the lower half of the body or its functions was . . . considered bad education. In England, discreet allusion was [
] the rule: a prostitute was never a whore, but called an ‘academician,’ or a ‘cat’ if she was drunk; ‘glue’ meant venereal disease, a vulva was called ‘leather’ and ‘to be in his altitude’ was used of someone who was drunk. Female breasts were referred to as ‘globes’ or ‘hemispheres,’ or as a ‘milk-shop,’ a ‘feeding bottle’ or a ‘baby’s public house,’ which at least describes their nursing function. When John Thomas met Fanny, Mary Jane or Lady Jane, the penis had entered the vagina. To ‘urinate’ was to ‘plant a sweet pea,’ ‘shake hands with an old friend,’ or, more often, to ‘spend a penny.’”—Orgasm and the West by R. Muchembled, page 164> [[Note: The author attributes these expressions to the Victorian era (circa 1840-1900), but ‘spend a penny’ derives from coin-operated toilets and Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang dates this expression from the 1930s]]

(quotes from archived sources except as noted)
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Ken – January 26, 2009
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