Akimbo is a position where the the hands are on the hips and the elbows are bowed forward.
My source's quote, "[She] often skips into a veritable ballet of akimbo limbs" (Jack Kroll).
From where does this word come? Similar words of position?
I think it's from Old English "keene bowe," or bent bow, giving the appearance of a drawn bow.
>> "giving the appearance of a drawn bow"
interestingly, both in shape and in threatening aspect.
>> "Similar words of position?"
A familiar one is prone, lying on one's stomach.
Less familiar is supine: lying on one's back. A secondary meaning of supine, which I learned just now on looking it up, is "having the palm upward". To my mind, each of these meanings has an aspecto of supplication and submissiveness.
I do know that prone and supine are common medical terminology for positioning patients. In that context, there is no submissiveness inferred, except to the extent that one is a patient.
Kalleh, I would agree with Embellishment on this one about supine. At least in a sexual role. Lying on ones back would definitely be submissive.
I recall a story a friend told me recently about their female dog having its first meeting with a male dog. Not knowing what to do, the dog laid on its back. Definitely submissive.
"Kalleh, I would agree with Embellishment on this one about supine. At least in a sexual role. Lying on ones back would definitely be submissive."
While I agree that your dog's act was a submissive one, I doubt that a supine position is necesarily a submissive one in human sexuality. It can be, or, with a supine male beneath a a prone female, the male may just be too lazy to support himself, so asks the woman to assume the "superior" position! In truth, human sexuality is waaay to complex to categorize dominance/submission/equality by position alone.
I do believe the question of submission depends on how the word is used; in a medical sense (where I see prone and supine used most), they are not considered submissive terms.
While we are talking of positions used in medicine, there are others that are rather fun, such as Trendelenburg--meaning with the head down; the website I found on that was written in German only! Then, there is my favorite--the William's position: Think of lying in a big "V", with knees hanging down over the second line. Interesting!
does anyone remember akimbo? once the subject of sex comes up, no matter how geeky one is, reason and memory go out the window.
i was thinking of the word akimbo today, because i have a friend with gangly, rangy limbs who is always cutting up and posturing and she had her arms akimbo today, telling me a story and acting it out. this is also the way one holds one's arms in certain kinds of dances, like the virginia reel.
so. puddin' pies. regarding positions, what's wrong with missionary? also, dogs lay on their backs for the alpha male, be they female OR male. and human ones especially..
"regarding positions, what's wrong with missionary?"
That depends on one's intended mission, doesn't it?
"also, dogs lay on their backs for the alpha male, be they female OR male. and human ones especially.."
Was the pun intended? It's the good old "lay/lie" business, you see...
Speaking of lay/lie, I teach my students that 'lie' is an intransitive verb and the past form is 'lay', while 'lay' is a transitive verb whose past form is 'laid' etc. (they have a helluva time absorbing this, I admit). However, I've met very few native speakers of English from the United States who actually use these verbs this way. They say, "I'm going to lay down for a while." Or: " Yesterday I laid around all day." I also hear it used this way in movies. Is it just that they are misusing the word or that this use has become an Americanism?
"Is it just that they are misusing the word or that this use has become an Americanism?"
Yes, and yes, in my opinion. The two are not exclusive. We US of Americans seem to have lost the idea that "as" and "like" are different parts of speech. "As" has nearly disappeared. Can you imagine Shakespeare writing "Like You Like It?"
Where do you teach, Museamuse?
A different subject: Last night I went to see an Amrican-made movie called, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." While very funny, I noticed that the producers tried to further "greekify" it by using the Greek letter sigma in place of the Roman letter "E" in the credits. They didn't realize that they had changed the pronunciation of it, just as American car salesmen don't see what's wrong with making a "trendy" form of the letter, "A" without the crossbar in it. For instance, the Saturn automobile is really called Slturn, and the Korean-built Kia is really a Kil!
>> "Similar words of position?"
1. sitting crosslegged, or indian style
2. figure-4 position: A US man, sitting in a chair, will place one leg so that from knee to foot it is horizonal, with the ankle resting on the opposite knee. The two legs form very roughly the shape of the digit 4; hence the name.
Some men will instead sit with legs rougly parallel to each other, one crossing over the other at the knee. US observers would subconsciously consider that position effeminate, but I understand that in Eurpoe it's the normal position. Comments from our europeans?
www.interculturalrelations.com/v2i1Winter1999/w99leigh.htm at section 13
re "positions" -- I blush to have failed to mention the missionary position.
Regarding a comment made reference the use/misuse of lay and lie, point One: A pet peeve of mine which I see growing in the past year (with proper care and feeding, of course) is the assumption that any example of poor grammar can be chalked up to being an Americanism. As a Yank myself, I very, very, VERY freely admit that my countrymen and women tend to show a disgraceful lack of intelligence in a wide variety of areas and a lack of respect for education in general. The fact that Vanna White, possibly the most worthless person in the world, pulls down a large 6-figure income for her "work" on TV while the average American school teacher can barely afford the basic necessities of life is something that we all should be deeply ashamed about. Most of us don't give a sh*t, though. We're Americans. We don't have to.
Having said that, though, not every misuse of English grammar, vocabulary, or whatever can be said to be the result of the misspeaker having been born between the Atlantic & the Pacific and Canada & Mexico.
Regarding the discussion on submission, sexual and otherwise, as denoted by a person's physical postition, point Two: It can be argued that there is no sexually submissive position for women in that in each case it is the woman who surrounds the man. Not that I completely believe that but, man's upper body strength to the contrary, when it comes to intimacy (and, notably, lack thereof) it is generally women who run the show.
Here's a thought. If women ruled the world and, more importantly, if women had ALWAYS ruled the world, our technology quite possibly would have evolved so that rockets and missles resembled vaginas.
Oh, CJ! You reminded me of something I heard back in high school...many, many years ago.
"The woman is always dominant in sex no matter what the position because she encloses the man."
~~credit Johnny Carson
"Having said that, though, not every misuse of English grammar, vocabulary, or whatever can be said to be the result of the misspeaker having been born between the Atlantic & the Pacific and Canada & Mexico."
Of course not. Nevertheless, my next-door-neighbor would be out of a job if we weren't so loathe to learn basic grammar. She teaches Engish to advertising and public relations people! That's a pretty sad commentary on the US education system's priorities.
Regarding the discussion on submission, sexual and otherwise, as denoted by a person's physical postition,...: It can be argued that there is no sexually submissive position for women in that in each case it is the woman who surrounds the man.
Good comment! Nevertheless, there are positions wherein there is very little physical intimacy, and others wherein there is a great deal. As I posted earlier, this whole dominance/submission thing is too complex among humans to assign levels based on position alone.
"... when it comes to intimacy (and, notably, lack thereof) it is generally women who run the show."
I've observed that usually women want sex when they feel loved, and men feel loved once they get sex. This can lead to all kinds of merry (and not so merry) mix-ups!
"If women ruled the world and, more importantly, if women hadALWAYS ruled the world, our technology quite possibly would have evolved so that rockets and missles resembled vaginas."
Would we even have rockets and missiles? Another thought: Is there a relationship between the word, "penis," and the ancient Roman house gods, the Penates? They are both things that go within, from the Latin "penes," within.
In response to Asa's "This can lead to merry (and not so merry) mix-ups, in my experience it's more a case of this leading to married (and not so married) mixups.
In response to CJ Strolin's remark about Americanisms, I did not by any means intend to insult Americans. I am am American myself, but have lived in Greece for the last 28 years. And I do realize that many Americanisms are early English forms that were subsequently dropped by the British. For example the form 'gotten' was used by Shakespeare, but modernday Brits do not use it anymore. There are, however, misuses of language that are gradually used more and more by a group of people and that 'misuse' grows into colloquial usage. In any case, no one answered my question: Is "I'm going to lay down" considered proper American English now?
Asa asked me what I teach. I teach translation studies at the undergrad level here in Athens. It's a course for students who want to become professional translators and I teach them the techniques for translating from Greek into English which often involves teaching them English grammar (now which grammar is another story!). It's lots of fun and very challenging.
oops! Asa DID answer my question! Sorry! Would anyone else like to venture an opinion on that?
I also saw that movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and it was hilarious! But please don't think that ALL Greek-Americans are that loud and that tacky! Nonetheless, there were lots of things I could identify with in that movie as a Greek-American.
I agree that the use of the 'sigma' instead of the 'E' was confusing at first for the reader of Greek. They could have used another more Greek-style font and achieved the same result. In fact, it's interesting how many letters of the Greek alphabet evolved into Roman characters. It's hard to show here but an example is the Greek "Rho" which has an 'R' sound in Greek looks like a Roman 'P'. In ancient Greek the letter had a little tail on it. The Romans extended the tail into the letter "R" and the Greeks cut it off!
To be perfectly honest, I think I say "I'm going to lie down for a few minutes", but it has been so long since I learned this, I'm not even sure it is correct. Lay and lie are two words I confuse! The old brain just doesn't remember everything like it used to.
"I'm gonna go lay down" is, sad to say, becoming more acceptable in the States as time goes on but only in that it's less likely to elicit a correction from the person addressed. Similarly, this same person would probably not point out that it's "going to" and not "gonna" but that doesn't mean that either error is being considered correct in the States (or elsewhere for that matter) but, more likely, that our incorrectness reflects a laziness on our part.
This isn't an excuse, of course. Whether it's caused by laziness or ignorance, an error is an error and poor grammar is all the more deplorable when it is so easily avoided.
the discussion is focusing on the idea of dominance or submission as a physical position. but "who has the upper hand" is, like asa said, more complicated. remember john and yoko's comment "woman is the ______ of the world". of course it's a man's world. one has to accept it, as a woman, in order to go on living and enjoying one's life and still being able to love some men. which is work. but if that isn't lying prone i don't know what is.
also, our missiles etc. might look like vaginas, but with the current climate of porn-borne man-pleasing, they would still be waxed bare, decorated with a heart shape or exclamation point, dyed easter colors and clipped. more work (and money). in the words of a gay male cosmetician working on the brazilian playboy shoot: "these girls aren't professionals, they don't wax, they don't pluck. i'm exhausted!"
regarding the above:
when i was in college, we girls used to bemoan the fact that makeup and haircare were so expensive and how to budget it in with all the cost of books and such. if i had had to decorate my hoo-ha back then, i wouldn't been able to afford graduating.©
hmmmmm ... since anything I'd say on female cosmetics might well be deemed improper, let me revert a bit to lie/lay:
Does anyone ever use the past particle lain -- or even hear it used? Or has it de facto dropped out of the language?
"oes anyone ever use the past particle lain -- or even hear it used? Or has it de facto dropped out of the language?"
I still hear people use it in past and future perfect tenses, but maybe I hang out with an odd crowd.
If you are here...you hang out with some very odd folks! Especially me, sweety!
quote:Reverting to Asa's point:
That is regrettable but not new. It must be at elast three decades ago that a national advertising campaign informed us, "Winston Tastes Good, Like a Cigarette Should." After that had been thorougly milked, the advertising mavens, trying to squeeze more from the campaign, mocking those who had noted their bad grammar. The follow-up ad campaign argued, "What do you want, good grammar or good taste?'
""Winston Tastes Good, Like a Cigarette Should."
As much as I'd like to shoot every smoker I encounter, I had to laugh at their ads. To do the ad one better, Winston sponsored "The Beverly Hillbillies," whereon Buddy Ebsen said, "Winston tastes good, like a cigarette had oughta!"
Personal opinion: THEY ALL STINK!!!!
Well, I am reviving this thread because I think this word best belongs here--dissemia, a positioning in that people get closer to others than is socially acceptable.
Dissemia is when people have no concept of personal space, and, consequently, they invade into the territory of others. Dissemia is actually a learning disability relating to the inability to read non-verbal messsages/having a poor sense of personal space/misinterpreting facial expressions or the emotional quality of the voice.
Geesh--do a few people in my aerobics class really have dissemia!
The study of personal space is known as proxemics and is fascinating.
Apart from the, clearly accurate, statement about some people's inability to read body language there is another important point to consider.
Personal space (one's comfort zone) varies from nation to nation. The English need a much greater distance from those with whom they are conversing than do most other nations (including Americans). Most Latin races prefer less space and it is sometimes possible to see, at multi-racial gatherings such a cocktail parties, the spectacle of an Englishman retreating backwards from a Latin as each tries to maintain comfortable separation! Ususally the process ends when the Englishman has his back pressed firmly against the way while looking furtively from left to right to seek escape!
quote:The typical personal space in arabic cultures is also small, indeed smaller than in the latin cultures, I'd say. A non-latin USn might feel uncomfortable with a latin's spacing, but when confronted with arabic spacing he would retreat exactly as Richard describes of the Englishman above.
The Mediterraneans are also touchy-feely people and have a different concept of one's personal space bubble than northern Europeans. But this is something I have found to be slightly adjustable. I worked with Brits for about a decade at the British Council here in Athens and I noticed that the British newcomers did gradually get used to the different size of space bubbles and became more comfortable with kissing on both cheeks as a greeting and standing closer together. Of course one might argue that the reason they decided to live in a Mediterranean country was because the style of the people suited their own personal style more than their native country did.
Interesting cultural discussion. In America, I think you see a combination of the above because of the various cultures. Again, African-Americans seem to like the closeness, whereas Germans I have worked with are much more space conscious.
Richard, I roared with your example, and it is exactly what I have seen at parties where there are English or German people, and Italian or Jewish people.
The same cultural bent seems to be present with public displays of affection, doesn't it? Is there a term for the latter?
I heard somewhere that you could tell a person's nationality by the way in which he would react if an unknown but attractive woman were to come up to him in the street and kiss him enthusiastically on the lips.
I can't speak for all other nations but, of course, an Englishman would apologise immediately and unreservedly, before doffing his hat and walking on.
>> "an Englishman would apologise ... unreservedly"
Clearly quite flustered, for he foregoes the normal English reserve?
I think a lot depends upon how well you know the person to whom you are talking. When we discuss our personal space, are we referring to lovers, friends, acquaintances, or strangers. I would also think whether it is male to male, male to female or female to female would make a difference as well.
And greeting people...I'm a hugger. How about you?
quote:Concerning ethnic differences, I blushingly recount the story of a chain of beautiful deserted islands, on which the following people are stranded, each triad on their own island: 1. Two Italian men and one Italian woman; 2. Two French men and one French woman; 3. Two German men and one German woman; 4. ... English ... 5. ... Bulgarian ... 6. ... Japanese ...7. ... Irish ... 8. American
One month later:
1. One Italian man killed the other for the Italian woman.
2. The two French men and the French woman are living happily together in a ménage a trois.
3. The two German men have a strict weekly schedule of alternating visits with the German woman.
4. The two English men are still waiting for someone to introduce them to the English woman.
5. The two Bulgarian men took one look at the Bulgarian woman and started swimming to the English Island.
6. The Japanese faxed Tokyo and are awaiting instructions.
7. The two Irish men divided the island into North and South and set up a distillery. They do not remember if sex is in the picture because it gets somewhat foggy after a couple of liters of coconut whiskey. However, they're satisfied because the English aren't having any fun.
8. The two American men are contemplating suicide, because the American woman will not shut up and complains relentlessly about her body, the true nature of feminism, what the sun is doing to her skin and hair, how she can do anything they can do, the necessity of fulfillment, the equal division of household chores, how sand and palm trees make her look fat, how her last boyfriend respected her opinion and treated her nicer than they do, and how her relationship with her mother is the cause of her problems, and why didn't they bring a cell phone so they could call 911 and get them all rescued so she can get her nails done and go shopping.
LOL! That's a classic, Hic et Ubique! And true to life...
Hey! I resemble that joke!
That's hilarious--though it makes me hate being an American woman!
A while back, Asa mentioned the thought that akimbo might be "from Old English 'keene bowe,' or bent bow, giving the appearance of a drawn bow." I just stumbled upon a note about the metaphor other languages use for that position:
Many languages use a teapot metaphor for this, such as Fr. faire le pot
a deux anses "to play the pot with two handles."
Ah, yes. But, upon reflecting on your earlier joke, I wonder if the modern US of American nursery rhyme about teapots might be, "I'm a little teapot, short and stout; tip me over and I'll sue your ass for assault!"
I have a wonderful teapot story.
As a literalist, I completely misunderstood a friend once; thankfully I am able to laugh at myself!
My friend was Chinese and was to meet her in-laws in China for the first time. She told me that she was anxious because the occasion was formal, and, she said, "I have to pour tea on my knees". My comment: Won't you get burned? She looked at me questioningly, and then roared with laughter!
to pour tea on my knees".
While in college I roomed with a Japanese student who read English fluently, but he didn't speak it well, and knew nothing of US idioms. Upon returning from a creative writing class, I threw a paper down on the table and said to Tetsuo, my housemate, "The professor said my paper stinks!" Tetsuo then walked into the bathroom, came out and presented me with a can of deodorant!
No, no, it has to ryhme. How about, "Im a little teapot, stout and short; tip me over and I'll see you in court".
No, no, it has to ryhme. How about, "Im a little teapot, stout and short; tip me over
and I'll see you in court".
Ohhh, Tinman, that's spookily close to the real case of the idiot who sued McDonald's for serving her a cup of hot coffee, and WON!
I know this is waaaaaaay far from a word post. However, Asa, I read a long and detailed Wall Street Journal article about that lawsuit and the history of complaints to MacDonalds leading up to it. The lawsuit sounded legitimate to me. There were many previous complaints that MacDonalds had ignored, even though the measured temperature of their coffee was scalding and unsafe. The woman incurred 3rd degree burns and originally asked only for her medical bills to be paid. MacDonalds haughtily said "no". Then the plaintiff, an elderly lady, got tough with them. The woman has gotten a bad rap from the media, IMHO.
Yes, I agree, Kalleh. Too many people made snap judgements about the merits of this case without knowing the facts. (Rember "just the facts, ma'am", Joe Friday?) Presumably the jury heard all the evidence and found McDonald's negligent based on that evidence. It's really a little arrogant for someone who hasn't heard the evidence to pronounce judgement. Yet, that is done time and time again. Many people decide whether someone is innocent or guilty based on a brief newspaper article or news report. Of course, we know the news reports are always right.
OK, I stand corrected. Thanks for the added information. As I said, I'm no friend of faceless, excessively powerful corporations, so your additional information only reinforces my general feeling about them.
While we're wandering so far away from language topics I'll add my view. Some of us accept that when an individual fights a corporation they sometimes have a good case and applaud heartily when the corporation loses.
However the scale of the 'punitive damages' that are sometimes awarded is often ludicrously disproportonate to the offence.
The case I'm specifically thinking of is the recent award of 3 billion dollars to a smoker with cancer.
Now I'm not just a lifelong non-smoker but also a passionate hater of tobacco and smoking and even I think that this award is ridiculous for what after all amounts to a self-inflicted injury.
Don't even get me started on the concept of suing fast food companies for making you fat.
si hoc legere scis nimium eruditiones habes
Read all about my travels around the world here.
I guess it's time for my two cents as well. On the tobacco issue, I suffer from asthma, and have a severe allergy to cigarette smoke. Every year I get pneumonia or bronchitis, and suffer from many respiratory illnesses due to the damage done to my lungs when I was a child. All this, and I am a lifelong non-smoker as well. My parents smoked liked chimneys around me when I grew up.
So, who is to blame?
The tobacco companies, my folks, me, or how about the advertising companies that made it look so enjoyable to my parents? No, I'm not going to sue anyone, but it does get the brain to thinking!