Naughty Jargon in public, 1917?

Elymus repens

Elymus repens (image credit: Wikipedia)

Oh no he didn’t!  Did he?

Am I the only reader who wonders whether this letter writer (and the editor) just wanted an excuse to say naughty Chinuk Wawa and English synonyms for a female body part?

The discussion of common names for Elymus repens is legitimate.

But I can’t help thinking the post-frontier readers of a Puget Sound newspaper would’ve been tittering over the writer’s parting question.

You be the judge:




When you set out to look up a word ln the dictionary, do you let your attention wander among the alluring novelties you encounter on the way or in the vicinity? I thought so; I suppose all cultivated persons do It.

Well, having occasion to look up squit, I found a lovely old spelling of skunk; squuncke. It seems to disguise politely the malodorousness of the pretty animal — for it is a pretty animal.

But I wanted to ask how many of your readers realize that witch grass is not the same as quitch grass, altho the latter is identical with squitch-grass? And can any of them — can you — state accurately the relation of squitch-grass to quick-grass and cooch-grass? I can.

By the way, squit is the same as squeteague.          F. M. B.

— from the Tacoma (WA) Times of July 31, 1917, page 8, column 5

qʰáta msáyka tə́mtəm?
What do you all think?