Tallywacker

Meaning

What does Tallywacker mean?

Tallywacker is a slang term of many meanings.

It can be traced back to a time when shepherds would lead their woolly friends around by a rope. The sheep in question were tied onto said line and as they walked along, the shepherd at times had cause for concern that his flock might not move forward with enough haste. To remedy this situation, he’d give an almighty crack on the behinds of whichever unfortunate creature was last in line using the aforementioned rope.

This particular part of said cord came to be known colloquially as “Tallywacker”.

In contemporary slang, “Tallywacker” refers to a man’s genitalia. Although the connection isn’t entirely clear, some speculate that traces linking “Tallywacker” directly to man parts date back centuries; others suggest it only gained popularity during England’s late 19th/early 20th century slang era.

tallywack

Origin

What's the origin of Tallywacker?

The roots of the term “Tallywacker” are shrouded in mystery, but it is believed that its first half may have originated from 15th century English where “Tally” referred to a notched stick.

Alternatively, it could derive from the Latin word “talea,” meaning rod or staff. Another theory suggests that during the 17th-18th centuries, slang for tail was used as inspiration for this cheeky moniker.

With these various possibilities swirling about like confetti on New Year’s Eve, one can’t help but wonder if this urban phrase simply evolved into what we know today as “Tallywacker.”

Spread & Usage

How did Tallywacker spread?

This particular phrase is frequently bandied about by conceited rugby players with the physique of a double-door armoire in both America and Australia, colloquially referred to as “Rugger Buggers.”

Historically speaking, an 18th century dialect coined the term “Tallywag” when referring to a gentleman’s most prized possession. However, it has been officially recognized as “Tallywacker” since the dawn of the 20th century.

Interestingly enough, Urban Dictionary bestowed upon this expression its inaugural definition back in 2003.

External resources

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