A version of this post appeared on The Week.
Lexicographer Jonathon Green's comprehensive historical dictionary of slang, Green's Dictionary of Slang, covers hundreds of years of jargon, cant, and naughty talk. He has created a series of online timelines (here and here) where the words too impolite, indecent, or risqué for the usual history books are arranged in the order they came into fashion.
Here are the most adorable terms for sexual intercourse from the last 600 or so years. Many of them have origins so obscure they hardly make sense at all, but that doesn't detract from their bawdy adorability in the slightest. When it comes to the ol' houghmagandy, a little mystery goes a long way.
1. Give someone a green gown (1351)
2. Play nug-a-nug (1505)
3. Play the pyrdewy (1512)
4. Play at couch quail (1521)
5. Ride below the crupper (1578)
6. Board a land carrack (1604)
7. Fadoodling (1611)
8. Put the devil into hell (1616)
9. Night physic (1621)
10. Princum-prancum (1630)
11. Culbatizing exercise (1653)
12. Join paunches (1656)
13. Dance the Paphian jig (1656)
14. Play at tray trip of a die (1660)
15. Dance Barnaby (1664)
16. Shot twixt wind and water (1665)
17. Play at rantum-scantum (1667)
18. Play hey gammer cook (1674)
19. Join giblets (1680)
20. Play at rumpscuttle and clapperdepouch (1684)
21. Lerricompoop (1694)
22. Ride a dragon upon St. George (1698)
23. Houghmagandy (1700)
24. Make feet for children's stockings (1785)
25. Dance the kipples (1796)
26. Have one's corn ground (1800)
27. Horizontal refreshment (1863)
28. Arrive at the end of the sentimental journey (1896)
29. Get one's ashes hauled (1910)
More from The Week:
TODAY IN SLATE
False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.
I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.
The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B
How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!
The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola
The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
The Other Huxtable Effect
Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.