Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Of dingleberries and aarschgnoddle

From Bryson, we learn that the Pennsylvania Dutch have "curiously specific terms" in their dialect of German. One such world is aarschgnoddle:

the globules of dung found on the hair in the vicinity of the anus (and, no, I cannot think why they might need such a word)

One shouldn't have to think hard, as English has its own word: dingleberrry. According to Wikipedia (yes, there is an entry; take that Encyclopedia Brittanica):

A dingleberry is fecal matter stuck in small round clumps to the hair or fur around the anus. It is often found on sheep that have not been shorn for some time and in some other long-haired animals, such as persian cats...The term is popular in both Australia and in rural America, especially the South. The term originates from the now somewhat-antiquated name for the Southern Mountain Cranberry (Vaccinium erythrocarpum).

UPDATE: The OED (of course) has something to add:

[f. dingle, of uncertain origin (perh. DINGLE n. or as in DINGBAT n.), + BERRY n.1]

1. U.S. A cranberry, Vaccinium erythrocarpum, of the south-eastern U.S.
1952 B. C. BLACKBURN Trees & Shrubs Eastern N. Amer. 334 Dingleberry, Vaccinium erythrocarpum. 1974 G. USHER Dict. Plants used by Man 594/2 V. erythrocarpum Michx. (Bear Berry, Dingleberry, Mountain Cranberry). S.E. N. America.

2. Transferred uses. a. pl. Dried faecal matter attached to the hair around the anus. Also transf. slang (orig. U.S.).
1953 BERREY & VAN DEN BARK Amer. Thes. Slang (1954) §124/2 Dingbats, dingleberries, dried adherent dung. 1972 B. RODGERS Queens' Vernacular 19 Dingle-berries (late '50s-late '60s), dried globs of feces hanging to the anal hairs of an unfastidious person. Ibid. 25 Ass... Syn: dingle-berry pie (early '60s); salad bowl (late '50s). 1974 R. K. MUELLER Buzzwords II. 67 Taken from the trade colloquialism referring to the splattered molten particles around a metallic weld on a pipe or vessel. His presentation ‘left a lot of dingleberries’ means he splattered thoughts and inferences all around the main task.

Looking at dingle, perhaps there is something to the supposed connection:

[Of uncertain origin. A single example meaning ‘deep hollow, abyss’ is known in 13th c.; otherwise, the word appears to have been only in dialectal use till the 17th c., when it began to appear in literature. In the same sense dimble is known from the 16th c. Dimble and dingle might be phonetic doublets: cf. cramble and crangle.]

A deep dell or hollow; now usually applied (app. after Milton) to one that is closely wooded or shaded with trees; but, according to Ray and in mod. Yorkshire dialect, the name of a deep narrow cleft between hills.
a1240 Sowles Warde in Cott. Hom. 263 His runes ant his domes {th}e derne beo{edh} ant deopre {th}en eni sea dingle [= abyss of the sea: cf. Ps. xxxv. 6 Vulg. Judicia tua abyssus multa]. 1630 DRAYTON Muses Elizium ii. 29 In Dingles deepe, and Mountains hore..They cumbated the tusky Boare. 1634 MILTON Comus 311, I know each lane, and every alley green, Dingle, or bushy dell of this wild wood. 1636 JAMES Iter Lanc. 357 Amongst ye Dingles and ye Apennines. 1674 RAY N.C. Words 14 Dingle, a small clough or valley between two steep hills. 1757 DYER Fleece I. 134 Dingles and dells, by lofty fir embow'r'd. 1796 SOUTHEY Occas. Pieces v. Poems II. 226 Seek some sequestered dingle's coolest shade. 1810 SCOTT Lady of L. III. i. 12 Both field and forest, dingle, cliff, and dell, And solitary heath, the signal knew. 1876 Whitby Gloss., Dingle, a cleft or narrow valley between two hills.

Hence {sm}dingly a., abounding in dingles, of the nature of a dingle.
1841 HODGSON Hist. Northmbld. II. III. 393/2 Stonecroft burn..joins the dingly channel of the brook. 1855 Chamb. Jrnl. III. 260 Sweet dingly dells and bosky bowers.

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