Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2015-05-30
I am NOT trying to naughty here. However, it is pretty obvious that “Blow Job” is a misunderstanding of “Below Job.” Does this qualify as an Eggcorn? Inquiring minds want to know.
Of course, I meant to write, “I am not trying to BE naughty here…” And, I am not. Not much www evidence on this expression, nothing on a quick check on this site…
Below? Feels to me like a folk etymology.
Blow job is fairly late (1960s) AmSlang. Blow (without the job) for fellatio is known from the 1930s.
If I had to guess, I would look for the source of “blow” (=fellatio) in one of two places. Either (1) in the slang term of blow in the sense of treat, a usage abroad in the last decade of the nineteenth century (OED cites the 1889 A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon & Cant by Barrère and Leland with the definition “To blow off, to treat to drinks” and Miller’s 1949 _Death of a Salesman with “Tell Dad, we want to blow him to a good meal”) or (2) in the older (18th century) sense of blow as the spouting of a whale.
Hatching new language, one eggcorn at a time.
Interesting discussion. It never occurred to me that “blow” might have come from “below”, and I doubt that it did. I just found a webpage that illuminates the issue, at:
The most relevant part of the discussion thereat says this:“Linguist think the sexual connotation of “blow job” evolved from “blowoff,” an expression meaning to finish off, to climax, to end. “Blowoff” in this sense is related to “blow off steam,” to put an end to a emotionally frustrating experience. When a prostitute gave a client a blow job she was helping him “blow off” the steam of sexual arousal. In the 1930s, street-walkers offered oral sex with the phrase “I’ll blow you off.” It suggests ‘I’ll cool you down,’ ‘I’ll release your steam.’ “Some linguists think the term “blow job” evolved gradually from an eighteenth century European name for a prostitute, blower. A popular name for penis at the time was “whorepipe,” and it is easy to see how the woman who played the instrument came to be called a “blower.””