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I noticed a lot of fairly common Asian names — Poon, Dong, Wang — are also slang for genitalia in American English.

Why is this?

(See also: people’s names as names for genitalia, for English names like Peter, Johnson, Dick.)

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closed as not a real question by Mitch, FumbleFingers, Jim, simchona, Mahnax Apr 3 '12 at 5:51

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Let me guess. I’m getting downvotes because people assume it’s “racist!” despite that (a) it’s factual (and neither false nor subjective) and (b) I include a link to a similar question regarding English names (directly implying that I do not suffer under the illusion that only Asian names become schlong slang.) –  Anonymous Coward Apr 3 '12 at 0:56
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Your question is a good one, and I've up-voted it. BTW, I remember a t-shirt double-entendre message from the 1980's: "My Wang is always up!" - referring to the great computer invented by the American Chinese immigrant An Wang. –  Hexagon Tiling Apr 3 '12 at 2:36
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@AnonymousCoward your guess is wrong. Your question hasn't been flagged as offensive a single time. Much rather, it got closed as not a real question. And that is because your premise is flawed. There are over 4000 different surnames in China alone. You name three. That is not "a lot". And only one of them belongs to the top 25 most popular names, which also include "Sun" and "Song". You have to make a way stronger case, otherwise this is a complex question and the downvotes are justified. –  RegDwigнt Apr 3 '12 at 8:52
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Poon is Vietnamese, so I would not expect it to show in a list of most popular Chinese names. Not sure about Dong. –  Anonymous Coward Apr 4 '12 at 22:36

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Long before the names Poon or Dong were common in America (though Wang, or Wong --most Americans don't distinguish them -- has been known here as a Chinese name for over a century), the euphemisms

  • poon < poontang < putain < Fr pute, 'prostitute'

(for female genitalia), and

  • wang /wæŋ/ < wangdoogle, nonce phrase for 'thing'
  • dong < dangle, 'to hang down as a pendulum'

(for male genitalia), and many more as well, for both, were making the rounds of the English-speaking world.

English, since its speakers have many strange beliefs and taboos about the power of word magic, has to use an enormous number of euphemisms in order to avoid taboo words. One is reminded of the Nacirema.

These euphemisms change constantly, of course, like any other fashion, and, if allowed to fester, will use up every available syllable.

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So it’s entirely coincidence due to there only being so many possible short words? Just like other “odd” Asian names like “Huh”. –  Anonymous Coward Apr 3 '12 at 0:59
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@Anonymous Coward: Maybe it's blue car syndrome. Did you recently come across a new Asian-based euphemism? –  FumbleFingers Apr 3 '12 at 2:12

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