Last modified on 28 September 2014, at 14:49

gunsel

EnglishEdit

PronunciationEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From Yiddish גענדזל (gendzl, gosling).

NounEdit

gunsel (plural gunsels)

  1. A young man kept for homosexual purposes; a catamite.
    • 1929, Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon:
      The boy’s eyes [] ran over Spade’s body from shoulders to knees, [] ¶ “Another thing,” Spade repeated, glaring at the boy: “Keep that gunsel away from me while you’re making up your mind. I’ll kill him. []
  2. (street and prison slang) A passive partner in anal intercourse.

Etymology 2Edit

By misunderstanding of the 1929 Maltese Falcon quotation above (which survived in a popular 1941 film adaptation). The novel was originally serialized in a magazine, Black Mask, whose editor refused to allow vulgarities. Hammett used the word gunsel knowing that the editor would likely misunderstand it as relating to gun, and therefore allow it.[1][2]

NounEdit

gunsel (plural gunsels)

  1. A gun-carrying hoodlum or other criminal.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ William Safire, “Dirigiste” (On Language column, 2000 April 30), in The New York Times; relevant portion also in The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time, Simon and Schuster (2004), ISBN 9780743242448, page 35.
  2. ^ Michael Quinion, “Gunsel” (World Wide Words piece, 2006 August 12).

AnagramsEdit