User comments for Dick (1) (Meaning / History Only)

The slang use of "dick" for "penis" had nothing to do with Richard Nixon. There are written references to it as early as 1891, and since vulgar slang for sexual organs didn't make it into print often back in the 19th century, it's probably really a bit older than that.

It's amazing to me how quickly historical memory about the use of names is lost. Almost every American man named Richard who was born before 1950 would have been called Dick as his main nickname as a matter of course. No one would have thought it was "cruel" to use the name just because it had a slang meaning any more than most people today would think it cruel to name a child John even though that name has the slang meanings of "toilet" and "prostitute's customer". As long as almost everyone heard the name many more times a day than they heard the slang meaning, the name seemed perfectly OK. It's only after Richard became less common as a given name, and people started using sexual slang more openly as part of their everyday conversation, that people in younger generations were able to start thinking of using the name Dick as being "cruel" or "odd".
clevelandkentevans  5/12/2008
Dick does not mean penis as someone said, it is slang. Just wanted to clear that up... penis is the right word.
― Anonymous User  6/25/2015

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