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Cornhole
A family game with a not-so-family name.
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2014/08/08
10:57am
Glenn
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The mere mention of the game cornhole makes me feel flush while an f-bomb won’t. Does anyone else have trouble with this? Is it just me?

I was long familiar with cornhole as a vulgar term for anus when I encountered the lawn game by that name. I first encountered the game years ago when my pastor’s wife invited my wife and me to their house for a picnic, and added that “we could also play some cornhole.” I almost did a spit take.

This has come up in my life recently because this summer some city organization has put out cornhole games on a closed-off street outside my office. Note that I work in Manhattan. They put cornhole games out in the streets of Manhattan, New York f-bomb City!

Wordnik’s entry for cornhole mentions that the term can also be used for anal intercourse and anal rape.

Wikipedia’s entry for the game of cornhole says the game is also called tailgate. This confirms in my dirty mind the association with the anus. A lot of the game’s slang also seems playfully scatological, but these could be later additions. At least tailgate doesn’t make me blush. I use that word on occasion to refer to part of my pickup, and do not associate it exclusively with vulgar use. I could almost call the game tailgate. I’m more inclined to call it the beanbag game.

Now, anyone up for a friendly game of f-bomb?

2014/08/08
1:39pm
deaconB
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Before the Iriquois taught a bunch of illegal immigrants how to raise maize, a new world crop, the word corn/korn meant grain. The game apparently originated in Bavaria about 600 tears ago when bags of grain were substituted in a stone-toss game.

About 25 years ago, the game was first commercially produced in a garage workshop in Western Hills, a Cincinnati neighborhood, Cincinnati being largely populated from near Bavaria, and college kids at nearby Miami found it a great game for drunken socializing with co-eds. Undoubtedly, the outrageous name helped; cornhole had become a synonym for rectum or for anal intercourse about a century ago. (Some references say about 1930, but Google Books says it’s earlier.)

Those same references say that the vulgar usage comes from the fact that whole kernel corn often passes through the body undigested, but I think that’s wrong. Otherwise, the seat in an outhouse would also have a “corn hole”; I think it’s more likely that the name came the use of corncobs for sanitation before Mr. Whipple invented Charmin.

Some people call the game corn board, if you prefer to call it that,, but when I lived in Pennsylvania, Hershey Street was only 3 blocks from my house, and despite all the people calling it “Hershey Highway”, nobody seemed to quail at eating chocolate.

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