The other night Mr T. and I were delving into the culture of our adopted nation by watching Anchorman. If you are not familiar with this classic, the following lines from the opening should get you up to speed.
“There was a time. A time before cable. When the local anchorman reigned supreme. When people believed everything they heard on TV. This was an age where only men were allowed to read the news. And in San Diego, one anchorman was more man than the rest. His name was Ron Burgundy. He was like a God walking amongst mere mortals. He had a voice that could make a wolverine purr. And suits so fine they made Sinatra look like a hobo. In other words Ron Burgundy was the balls.”
Here is Ron, looking like Will Ferrell, looking like Chevy Chase.
Anyway, Ron is a bit of a prat really and when he tries to chat up the blond girl pictured just over his shoulder there, he says, “You have an absolutely breathtaking hiney. I mean that thing is good. I want to be friends with it.”
So what’s that all about then? Oh! He’s talking about her bum. Or bottom. Or butt. Buns. Ass. Arse. Derriere. Behind. Rear. Tush. I could go on.
And in fact it occurred to me that there really are quite a number of words out there in the world for a bottom (or hiney) and so I checked out the entry for buttocks in my lovely Historical Thesaurus of the OED and have prepared the following list of hiney synonyms and the date they first entered the language. The entry for buttocks, by the way, has over 80 words listed, none of which is hiney.
Here are my highlights:
earsendu – Old English (sounds like arse to me)
fundament – 1297
arse – 1377
bum – 1387
butt – 1450
hurdies – 1535 (that one’s Scottish)
catastrophe – 1597 (would I lie?)
toby – 1681 (fell out of use in 1842)
jacksy – 1896
beam – 1929 (and it doesn’t say ‘beam-end’ but that’s one from my childhood)
twat – 1950 (which, like fanny – 1928 does not mean buttocks to me!)
So no hiney in that list, but here is the most iconic American hiney picture I can think of. One for the ladies though 😉