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What is the origin of the word boner? Trying to find the roots for its prevalent usage, especially in North America.

According to a dictionary it means an erect penis.

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Are you creating a porn dictionary? –  Ivo Rossi Jan 5 '11 at 15:23
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As @Ivo mentions, your questions are continually on taboo/sexual words. Most likely for amusement purposes, getting a bit old. –  Orbling Jan 6 '11 at 1:01
    
Hehe, he used the word ROOT, hehe... –  mplungjan Feb 10 '11 at 12:38

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

When I was growing up in the 1980s the word "boner" was also used as a synonym for "jerk" or "idiot" among adolescent and pre-pubescent boys.

For example, if your friend was being mean to a little kid or doing something stupid you might say, "Hey, don't be a boner."

"Boner" also means "a blunder or mistake," although that is a more dated use of the word. But its etymology, if you are interested, follows:

"blunder," 1912, baseball slang, probably from bonehead.

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"Boner" was also the name of Mike Seaver's best friend on the US sitcom "Growing Pains" from the 1980s. –  Kosmonaut Jan 6 '11 at 15:09

Etymonline has this:

Meaning "erect penis" is 1950s, from earlier bone-on (1940s), probably a variation (with connection notion of "hardness") of hard-on (1893).

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Some animals, dogs for instance, do actually have a bone in it - further increasing the validity of that notion. –  Orbling Jan 6 '11 at 1:02
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@Orbling: Not only do dogs have an actual bone in their penis, but many other mammals do as well, even some other primates, such as chimpanzees. –  Scott Mitchell Jan 6 '11 at 17:46
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@Scott Mitchell: Aye, it's quite common. Glad we don't, would hate to break that. –  Orbling Jan 6 '11 at 17:58
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@Orbling: I wish you hadn't suggested that! –  Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Jan 7 '11 at 15:24
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The name of the bony instrument that @Orbling and @Scott Mitchell refer to is scientifically known as a baculum. –  Uticensis Apr 13 '11 at 9:24

There was an American comic strip that used to run, well into the early 2000s, called "Boner's Ark"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boner's_Ark

Here are some sample strips

I didn't think it was very funny when I read it in the early 70s, and they're not funny today. But this strip ran, with the word "Boner", in major newspapers. So the second meaning of that word must be fairly modern.

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