I really hate to ask this one, but...

When I was a child, some thirty plus years ago, there was a popular juvenile game where you would try to trick a friend into asking a question that could be answered with the mildly obscene reply "deez nuts!" (meaning "these testicles"). Sample:

Jokester: Did you get that CD?
Victim: What CD?
Jokester: See deez nuts!

Apparently everything old is new again --I was recently ambushed with a "deez nuts" joke by some current teenagers of my acquaintance. Upon investigation, the old chestnut has apparently returned to currency due to a series of popular Vine videos starring a young man of amazingly unusual looks.

However, my question is this --where did the joke originally come from? Does it date from the 80's or is it even older? I'm fairly certain it originates somewhere within the black American urban subculture --maybe a skit on a rap album? I've done some research, but all the citations trace back only to the recent videos, nothing any further.

  • Deez Nutz for President! – user98990 Sep 17 '15 at 22:26
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Berkeley High School Slang Dictionary - Page 26 Rick Ayers - 2004

Deez-nuts (deez nutz) n., Literally, these testicles.
Used to refer to oneself. "I'm not going to let anyone mess with deez-nuts."
Also: Negative response to a question. “Hey, pass that joint.” “Deez-nuts.”
[Origin : Hip Hop]

A 1985 reference:

The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and UnconventionalThe New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional ... Eric Partridge, ‎Tom Dalzell, ‎Terry Victor - 2006

“I'm not going to let anyone mess with deez-nuts”— Peter Smith and Fred M Barritt, Bermewjan Vurds. p. 18, 1985

Contradicting that is:

Deez nuts is a phrase that originated from the song "Deeez Nuuuts" on
Dr. Dre's original album "The Chronic", released in 1992.
(www.chacha.com)

Also, incomplete:

Cassell's Dictionary of Slang - Page 393 Jonathon Green - 2005

deez (nuts) n. [1990s+] (US Black) the testicles; the male genitals.
[SE these + NUTS n.2 (1)] def adj. [1970s+] (orig. US Black) perfect, excellent, first-rate.
[? Black pron. of SE death or abbr. SE definitive. Note 1907 cit. in Cassidy [???]

  • 1
    It's definitely at least 15-20 years older than that... – Chris Sunami Apr 23 '15 at 3:44
  • I see you edited some new info into this post. I'm sure The Chronic gave it a new wave of popularity, but it's older than that.... The 1985 citation seems about the right date, but it doesn't give any origins. – Chris Sunami Apr 23 '15 at 12:47
  • Does there have to be an "origin"? deez sounds like these, it's the kind of thing that kids just make up. It's like asking who invented "Duck, Duck, Goose!" – Barmar Apr 27 '15 at 21:38
  • I suspect the revival is related to the popularity of the z sound, and other urban mispronunciations, in hip-hop culture. – Barmar Apr 27 '15 at 21:39
  • I've thought about it more, and it's possible that The Chronic is the right origin for its entry into mainstream culture --I could be misremembering hearing it earlier than that. I'm going to mark this accepted. – Chris Sunami May 7 '15 at 16:35

protected by Andrew Leach May 16 '15 at 19:08

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