Boning: A Lexical Examination

By Anthony

If you read Zach’s previous post on Nude Facebook (something I’m proud to support) then you have already been acquainted with the term “boning.” I wanted to take a brief moment to examine this word and its usages, history, hopes, dreams and aspirations. I liken this back to my junior year at university (I call it university because I want you to picture me as more formally educated.)

Now, if you didn’t know, I went to a liberal arts school with Zach and Ruairi. All three of us were English majors with a focus in writing. But you aren’t surprised by that; the flawless grammar and exceptional literary expertise tipped you off ages ago. Anyway, our liberal arts careers basically comprised of us sitting around in old mahogany classrooms wearing dinner jackets, khaki slacks and boat shoes. As we sipped cognac and smoked cigars, we examined literature and philosophized on “why.” Sometimes we didn’t even know the subject. We just said, “Now, tell me why he did that.”

One of the other things we did was look up words in these things called dictionaries. Which are basically big books which define words for you. These were invented BG (Before Google). And this brings us back to my junior year. We had an assignment to write a paper on a single word. We would examine the origins, meanings and evolution of the word itself. I wish I had picked boning. But I haven’t seen a phone booth in a coon’s age so I don’t think I’ll be able to go back. I might as well make up for it here. Jaunzems would be proud — or violently sick.

The trombone, a tool for one common type of boning

At first glance, a Google search of boning gives us two separate, very different results. The boning in corsets, for one. And the boning that you see defined by urban dictionary. You are all no strangers to the seedy underworld of black market definitions provided at, so you are safe in guessing that I’m talking about the boning defined there. If dictionaries were like pharmacies, UD would be known as Viktor or Boris and could only be found driving his black van around Brooklyn handing out definitions in little brown bags.

Boning, laying your man pipe in a girl’s nether region until neither of you can stand it any longer.” They also have another user-submitted one about playing the trombone, which I think is funny with or  without the sexual innuendos that come associated with a trombone.

The most natural jump to make from boning is to boner. I hope I don’t have to define this for you. We all know I’m referring to Bill Boner, former mayor of Nashville. Who, not coincidentally I’m sure, looks like a real boner of a dude. We can also jump to Bona Fide, this time defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as genuine; real.

Bill Boner, mayor, boner and bona fide expert

The OED, unlike UD, would be named William, maybe the 3rd. He would never leave New England except to ski out West and has definitely worn a dinner jacket while drinking cognac.

The OED uses bona fide in a sentence: “she was a real bona fide expert.” I bet she was.

Notice how what she is an expert in is not specified? My liberal arts powers of higher reasoning are kicking in and they’re telling me that a bona fide expert is someone skilled in boning, of course.

So there you have it. From Oxford itself, that great bastion of literary masterpiece. Boning is alive and well folks. So next time you’re boning down somewhere, think of Bill Boner, mayor of Nashville, boning down with chicks at Oxford and telling them to mention him in their next edition. That image might even make your bone sesh last a little longer.

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2 thoughts on “Boning: A Lexical Examination

  1. Meredith says:

    By the second paragraph I was thinking to myself, “Dear ol’ Jaunzems would be so proud of how far Anthony has come.” Then you said it yourself. And had you written your final paper on the etymology of ‘boning’ I think it would have been just like this, except about 15 pages longer, including diagrams and illustrations probably drawn by yourself. And having seen your art skills I think you would have easily gotten above a 3.25 for your final grade.

    Also, I remember the khakis and boat shoes, but which classes were you drinking cognac and smoking cigars in? Cowser?

  2. Zach says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the comparison between dictionaries and the varying forms of drug dispensaries.

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