Used with the indefinite article , it means a disaster, a mess or a failure. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the earliest meaning as "to slander or defame" and suggests that it entered the English language from the translation of one of Rabelais' works, which includes the Middle French expression "en couilletant", translated as "ballocking". Eric Morecambe was also known to cough "Horlicks! To "work one's bollocks off" is to work very hard. None could in nature have oblig'd me more.
Testimony in a resulting prosecution over the term demonstrated that in Old English , the word referred to a priest, and could also be used to mean "nonsense". It is often used pejoratively, as in to have "made a bollocks out of it",  and it is generally used throughout Britain and Ireland. One of the early references is Wycliffe's Bible , Leviticus xxii, "Al beeste, that None could in nature have oblig'd me more. This took place on 29 June at the Royal Norfolk Show; the police issued the penalty notice, quoting Section 5 of the Public Order Act which refers to language "deemed to cause harassment, alarm or distress". This euphemism stems from an advertising campaign for the Horlicks malt drink, where people were seen to be shouting "Horlicks! There is a beer brewed in England by the Wychwood Brewery called the "Dog's Bollocks",  as well as a lager cocktail. In offices and shops, a basement. By the midth century, at least, it had begun to acquire coarse figurative meanings see section on "bollocking" , for example in a translation of works by Rabelais. US: cooties From an episode of the Goon Show. Pile o' Jacksons if you ask me! Etymologist Eric Partridge and the Oxford English Dictionary believe the term comes from the now obsolete typographical sequence of a colon and a dash. Below "bollocks" were "bastard", "bitch" and "damn", in eighth, ninth and tenth places. Used, for example, by children in the rhyme "Mardy, mardy mustard The earliest printed use in the sense of a severe reprimand is, according to the OED, from Meaning "nonsense"[ edit ] From the 17th to the 19th century, bollocks or ballocks was allegedly used as a slang term for a clergyman, although this meaning is not mentioned by the OED's edition. An imaginary illness allegedly passed on by touch—used as an excuse to avoid someone. Millions down the drain". Thus, it is a very early example of an emoticon. What a kick in the bollocks". The results of this jointly commissioned research were published in December in a paper called "Delete Expletives? The Oxford English Dictionary gives the earliest meaning as "to slander or defame" and suggests that it entered the English language from the translation of one of Rabelais' works, which includes the Middle French expression "en couilletant", translated as "ballocking". Used with the indefinite article , it means a disaster, a mess or a failure. Sandra Bullocks is occasionally used to approximate rhyming slang; it does not quite rhyme, but preserves meter and rhythm. Etymology[ edit ] The word has a long history, with the Oxford English Dictionary OED giving examples of its usage dating back to the 13th century.
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