Meat Words

The holidays have now come and gone, but food is still on my mind – how delicious it is, how fraught, but most importantly, how sweary. For whatever reason, it seems that almost every commonly consumed meat is also some kind of swear. Don’t believe me? That’s stupid. Look:

Beef – as in “to beef with,” or “who beefed?” Chicken – as in “what are you, chicken?” Turkey – as in “jive turkey” Pork – as in “I’d pork her.” Fish – as in “bargain busted basic fish.”

Even the word “meat” is dripping with euphemistic potential. This can’t be a coincidence.

So why is English like this? Possibly because of all the weighty and carnal connotations of “flesh”, generally. Meat words automatically objectify flesh, by turning it into an inert object meant to be consumed. And since we’ve all got a lot of feelings about our fragile, quivering meat prisons, words that objectify flesh automatically pack a punch.

Now that you possess this forbidden knowledge, the world is your prairie oyster. Spice things up by calling someone a turd-ducken or – if you crave a meatless option – a to-fool. Go nuts. Or better yet, go hog-wild. And if anybody finds a sweary use for “venison,” let me know.