Article Title

The Venereal Game


Willard R. Espy


The adjective venereal is defined in dictionaries as pertaining to sexual intercourse, but the associated noun, venery, relates either to coital activity or to the hunting of game. Although Venus pursued her prey indiscriminately in bower or bosky dell, in the venereal game only the bosky dell is involved. James Lipton's An Exaltation of Larks lists scores of venereal terms, relics of mediaeval times. Some -- a school of fish, a pride of lions -- are still in general use; others -- a skulk of foxes, a barren of mules -- are still used by specialists; still others have vanished from the general ken. Mr. Lipton goes on to conjure up his own collectives, such as an unction of undertakers, a float of dancers, a dilation of pupils, and a wince of dentists. This is a game open to all. It is played with gusto on Mary Ann Madden's competition page in New York Magazine.