A new etymology of “fanny”

Fine upstanding gentleman, prepare your great serpent to play the lovely Encarnación’s fandango.

Here‘s the traditional definition and derivation:

fanny “buttocks,” 1920, Amer.Eng., from earlier British meaning “vulva” (1879), perhaps from the name of John Cleland’s heroine in the scandalous novel Fanny Hill or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure” (1748). The fem. proper name is a dim. of Frances. The genital sense is still the primary one outside U.S., but is not current in Amer.Eng., which can have consequences when U.S. TV programs and movies air in Britain.

I don’t see that there’s anything wrong with the Fanny Hill idea, but here’s an intriguing little versicle from the edition of El Fandango published in Madrid on 1845/7/15:

Caballero de alto rango
templad vuestro serpentón
para tocar el fandango
a la bella Encarnación.

Or, more or less,

Fine upstanding gentleman,
Prepare your great serpent
To play the lovely Encarnación’s fandango.

The verse is quoted in Camilo José Cela’s wonderful Diccionario secreto (thanks, CB), which tells us that “fandango means cunt.” This news still awaits confirmation by Cela’s great foe, the notoriously conservative Real Academia Española, which notes in several of its older dictionaries that the fandango is a passionate and entertaining dance, popular among Andalusians.

I’m sure that Americans will be able (and want) to explain the intricacies of sexual culture that led “fanny” to mean “buttocks” over there, not to mention Michael “Fanny” Fandango in Machine-Gun Kelly.

I seem to remember once playing a Cajun number called Fresh Fanny, but there’s no need to go everywhere Google does.

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