After John Kelly published his comprehensive post on merkin in 2015, I assumed there could be little left to say about those pubic hairpieces with the quaint name. (You should read the whole post, but here’s the etymological gist: from Matilda to the diminutive Maud to the secondary diminutive Mal to the third-degree diminutive Malkin to the variant merkin.) Yet recent developments suggest that we are far from finished with merkin, or it with us.
Merkin: A rags to itches story
Think Johns, Dicks, and B.J.s have it bad? Try being named Maud in medieval England.
A lot of little
Henry has Hank. Margaret has Peggy. Susan, Sue. Daniel, Danny. We call these diminutive versions of names pet names or hypocorisms, if we want to get fancy about it. In English, we frequently form these names by shortening the given name and adding the –y sound to the end of it. Hence, Chrissie or Sammy. Hank and Peggy illustrate that there are other ways of forming such diminutives, of course. Such is the case for Maud. And this where things got a little messy–and hairy.