Date: Fri, 15 Mar 1996 07:58:55 -0500

From: "Dennis R. Preston" preston[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]PILOT.MSU.EDU

Subject: Re: "smathered"

Like Ron, I have known this expression since High School (Louisville area,

mid-1950's), although I have not seen in this discussion yet what I believe

to be the obvious etymological link (at least the one I have always given

it unquestioningly, if one can pretend to recall the folk etymologies of


For me the term was simply a euphemism for 'corn-hole,' a wide-spread label

for anal intercourse. To say one was 'corn-holed' (=cheated) simply

parallels general usage (in which any term for intercourse may be used to

equal 'cheat,' a practice so ubiquitous with 'screwed,' for example, that

the connection for many younger speakers now between the sexual sense and

the derived one appears to be lost). Notice that even metaphoric sexual

expresssions (e.g., 'reamed') readily transfer to the 'cheated' sense.

In my adolescent etymological innocence, I simply connected the verbal

'cob' under discussion here with the 'corn' of 'corn-hole.'

Hence, 'cobbed.'

On Thu, 14 Mar 1996, David Robertson wrote:

And has anybody else heard the expression "cobbed", as for example

when my 62 - year - old dad says "Boy, when we took my brother to the

casino, we really got cobbed on that one!" It means 'royally screwed

over', I think, but evidently isn't considered obscene...

I'd forgotten all about this expression. We used it exactly that way when

I was iln college (U of Iowa, 1958-62). I recall it from highschool as

well. Did you check the Random House slang dictionary?

Dennis R. Preston

Department of Linguistics and Languages

Michigan State University

East Lansing MI 48824-1027 USA


Office: (517)432-1235

Fax: (517)432-2736