My very own eggcorn

An eggcorn. Joseph Massey, when he commented on my comments on the New Sincerity, titled the post ‘Nevermind the bullocks, here comes The New Sincerity.’ Which I assumed was a cattle-related joke of some obscure kind, since the Sex Pistols album is in fact Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols.

‘Bollocks’ is slang for testicles, while ‘bullock’ is a castrated bull. But then another online American used the term, in the phrase “I think that’s bullocks”. So perhaps the misunderstanding is a common one. ‘Bollocks’ is used in Britain to mean something rather like ‘bullshit’, so that may have influenced people.

As a side-note, Rochester used ‘ballock’. From A Ramble in St James’s Park:

[…] Did ever I refuse to bear
The meanest part your lust could spare?
When your lewd cunt came spewing home
Drenched with the seed of half the town,
My dram of sperm was supped up after
For the digestive surfeit water.
Full gorged at another time
With a vast meal of slime
Which your devouring cunt had drawn
From porters’ backs and footmen’s brawn,
I was content to serve you up
My ballock-full for your grace cup, […]

I wonder if after/water was a true rhyme in the C17th.

3 Comments

  1. Messalina
    24 August 2005 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps it comes down to accent and dialect? My Irish relations have a very interesting way of pronouncing bollocks, not dissimilar to Rochester’s. At school (Yorkshire – in the early days of the safety pin), some kids used ‘ball cock’ as a non-naughty substitute. By the way, the mother of one of my friends snapped and binned his (vinyl) copy of Never Mind the very moment he walked in the house with it – I’m sure she’d have preferred him to spend his time reading more 17th century literature rather than listening to such lewd lyrics. . .

  2. Harry
    24 August 2005 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Well, ‘ball’ isn’t that far from being pronounced ‘boll’ anyway, I suppose. I guess it depends on your accent. For most Americans, I should think they are identical. I’ve been trying to think how it would sound with an Irish accent, but I’m not sure I can imagine it.

  3. Messalina
    24 August 2005 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    I can’t ‘do’ phonetics I’m afraid – ‘bal-acks’ is as close as I can come to it (the ‘bal’ bit pronounced the same way as in ‘Bali’ in Received Pronunciation). In any event, “feck” is a much more satisfactory Irish swearword for my money and my favourite all purpose word in my family’s local community (Tipperary – lots of farming), is ‘yoke’ as in: “where’s the feckin’ yoke gone?”.

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