Lexicon Valley

Nine Nasty Words

John McWhorter teases his new book about off-color English expressions, starting with cock.


Episode Notes

How did the word cock come to mean both a male chicken and a penis? And how did faggot, once simply a bundle of sticks, evolve into a slur for a gay man? In a preview of his forthcoming new book, Nine Nasty Words: English in the Gutter—Then, Now, and Forever, John discusses the history and origin of some of our most vulgar expressions.

Podcast production by Mike Vuolo.


About the Show

If you’ve ever had curious thoughts and questions about the ways we speak, read, and write, Lexicon Valley is the show for you. Hosted by linguist John McWhorter.

All episodes