1. (noun): a prudish adherence to conventionality, esp. in personal behaviour.
2. (noun, lowercase): an instance of such prudishness.
Origin 1830-40 – Mrs Grundy was a character in Thomas Morton’s play “Speed the Plow” (1798). Play and playwright are now forgotten, but the line »What would Mrs. Grundy say?« became proverbial.
ribaldry – Rib”ald*ry, n. [OE. ribaldrie, ribaudrie, OF. ribalderie, ribauderie.]
- The talk of a ribald; low, vulgar language; indecency; obscenity; lewdness; – now chiefly applied to indecent language, but formerly, as by Chaucer, also to indecent acts or conduct.
- ribald humor
ribald – Rib”ald, n. & a.[OE. ribald, ribaud, F. ribaud, OF. ribald, ribault, LL. ribaldus, of German origin; cf. OHG hr[imac]pa prostitute.
- Noun. A low, vulgar, brutal, foul-mouthed wretch; a lewd fellow.
- Noun. The ribalds (aka lechers, harlots, etc.)formed the lowest class of society in the feudal ages; originally travelling mercenary soldiers, serving any master far pay, they afterwards degenerated into mere banditti.
- Adj. Low; base; mean; filthy; obscene.
- Synon. Bawdiness; bawdry.
Ribaldry is the little black duckling-sister of pornography and erotica. Ribaldry’s primarely aim is usually not to be sexually stimulating, but rather to poke fun at la condition sexuèlle. Nevertheless, it has been frequently a subject of censorship. Ribaldry verges on the territory of satire. It has not been popular in the 20th and 21st Centuries (sofar!) – the current trend being for quick, explicit, straight to the point, no nonsense fast-sex.
Petronius: Cena Trimalchionis
Apuleios: The Golden Ass
Geoffrey Chaucer: “The Miller’s Tale” (Canterbury Tales)
Laurence Sterne: The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
Jonathan Swift: The Lady’s Dressing Room
Mark Twain: 1601
Russ Meyer: comedies
Shakespeare’s Bawdy by Eric Partridge: A glossary of the Bard’s smut, indecency, and innuendo on Goodreads
Eric Partridge was a logolatrist, specialising in ‘bad language’. In this classic work from 1947 he combined his knowledge of Shakespeare & of Elizabethan slang and innuendo, resulting in, as he described it himself , “a literary and psychological essay and a comprehensive glossary”.