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A Fancy Bench

A Fancy Bench published on 6 Comments on A Fancy Bench

Thorn: Leif! I’m glad you’re here — I am stuck on a Sønska word in a sentence. The automatic translation doesn’t make sense. Can you help?

[mowing the grass]

Leif: Sure, go ahead!

Thorn: What is “Spanking”?


Leif: Um, Thorn . . . exactly what kind of sentence did you see this in . . . ?

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Thorn: Here, I’ll read it. “Playing all the latest hits, including a brand spanking new album by Dómari.”


Leif: It’s just an expression! It’s a way for people to stress that a thing is really, really new. It probably used to be a real word, hundreds of years ago? But now you can only use it in context.

. . . I never noticed how many of those we have before I met you.


Thorn: Huh! That’s a fancy spanking bench.

That’s not the right context?


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Did lie to him on purpose/omit the other meanings of the word? The strip seems to imply that, esp. with how he reacts to the bench.

That is entirely what that bit between panels 1 and 2 and panels 3 and 4 is about (or, if you count non-bordered regions as panels, what panel 3 is about). Leif is very much aware of the meaning of the word spanking and it’s too intense of a thing for him to talk about emotionally at this time. His focus seems to be on the kink rather than the punishment, but he’s aware of both.

The amusing thing is Leif is so disconcerted he doesn’t even recognize the sentence Thorn is reading is a reference to childbirth – so new they must be spanked into their first breath…

In English that seems to be a retroactive explanation, not the original source of the phrase! The earliest citations are things like “bran-span new,” seemingly related to “spic’n’span.” Then “span” morphed into “spanking” for no clear reason beyond “it has a nice ring to it that way.”

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