cockchafer

cockchafer
   Not a term which is habitually used as a vocative, though an interesting example occurs in Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis. Jim Dixon is careful to address the head of the history department by his professional title to his face, but Amis tells us what he would like to call him: He’d just say, quite quietly and very slowly and distinctly, to give Welch a good chance of catching his general drift: Look here, you old cockchafer, what makes you think you can run a history department, even at a place like this, eh, you old cockchafer.
   The cockchafer is a fairly large insect or beetle which is very destmctive to vegetation. Since it emerges from the chrysalis in May it is also known as the Maybug. In slang ‘cockchafer’ has naturally been re-interpreted in the past to play upon the penis meaning of ‘cock’, and Amis may have had in mind some such meaning as masturbator, from ‘chafe’ in its sense of ‘rub’. In his Dictionary of Historical Slang, Eric Partridge equates ‘cockchafer’ with ‘cock-teaser’, used of a girl or woman ‘permitting - and assuming - most of the intimacies but not the greatest’.

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

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  • Cockchafer — Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum …   Wikipedia

  • Cockchafer — Cock chaf er, n. [See {Chafer} the beetle.] (Zo[ o]l.) A beetle of the genus {Melolontha} (esp. {Melolontha vulgaris}) and allied genera; called also {May bug}, {chafer}, or {dorbeetle}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cockchafer — [käk′chāf΄ər] n. [ COCK1 (? because of size) + CHAFER] any of several large European scarab beetles whose grubs live in the soil and feed on the roots of plants …   English World dictionary

  • cockchafer — /kok chay feuhr/, n. any of certain scarab beetles, esp. the European species, Melolontha melolontha, which is very destructive to forest trees. [1685 95; COCK1 (with reference to its size) + CHAFER] * * * Large European beetle (Melolontha… …   Universalium

  • cockchafer — [18] Etymologically, cockchafer (a medium sized beetle) is probably a ‘large gnawer’. The second part of the word, which goes back to Old English times (ceafor), can be traced to a prehistoric base *kab ‘gnaw’, source also of English jowl. The… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • cockchafer —    1. a treadmill    The flesh was rubbed raw by the coarse cloth used in prison garments. Punning on the Maybug, or Melolontha vulgaris:     He expiated , as it is called, this offence by three months exercise on the cockchafer (treadmill).… …   How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms

  • cockchafer — [18] Etymologically, cockchafer (a medium sized beetle) is probably a ‘large gnawer’. The second part of the word, which goes back to Old English times (ceafor), can be traced to a prehistoric base *kab ‘gnaw’, source also of English jowl. The… …   Word origins

  • cockchafer — noun Etymology: 1cock + chafer Date: 1712 a large European beetle (Melolontha melolontha) destructive to vegetation as an adult and to roots as a larva; also any of various related beetles …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • cockchafer — noun Any of the large European beetles from the genus Melolontha that are destructive to vegetation …   Wiktionary

  • cockchafer — cock|chaf|er [ˈkɔkˌtʃeıfə US ˈka:kˌtʃeıfər] n a European ↑beetle (=a kind of insect) that damages trees and plants …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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