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March 1990

ETYMOLOGY OF A FAMILIAR WORDTo the Editors of the Journal of Cutaneous and Genito-urinary Diseases

Author Affiliations

1532 Pine Street, Philadelphia, January 15, 1890.

Arch Dermatol. 1990;126(3):286. doi:10.1001/archderm.1990.01670270018002

In one of your issues last summer I noticed a communication the object of which was to give the writer's idea of the derivation of the vulgar name for the testicles. He made it identical with "bullocks," which, as every one knew already, is the diminutive of "bull." This involves an error in orthography, and is also entirely inadequate. The word as in common use is spelled correctly with "o," not "u." The true descent of the word is from "boll," which means a seed-vessel; whence, naturally enough, "bollocks," little seed-vessels. It is Saxon, pure and undefiled, and not a vulgar play upon words; and, moreover, it is strictly and scientifically correct. The matter is not one of great importance, of course, but it is probably as well that it should be set right.

Benjamin Lee

1532 Pine Street, Philadelphia, January 15,1890.

J Cutan Genikmrin Dis.