Lemon/Lesbian

Discussion in 'English Only' started by parsleysauce, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. parsleysauce

    parsleysauce Junior Member

    Paris 17
    Italian
    Hello everyone! I heard some people talking about two girls as "lemons". From the context I seemed to understand it meant " Lesbians "...Could that be possible?! Is there such a nice expression to describe gay people as well??

    Cheers
     
  2. pescara Senior Member

    Connecticut
    English-USA
    I don't know if this applies in your context, but in his book "The Bonfire of the Vanities" author Tom Wolfe describes some women as "lemon tarts." These are blonde women who are attractive, but not very intelligent or deep.

    Ciao.
     
  3. Veledan Senior Member

    Stoke, UK
    English - BE
    Hi Parsley

    I've never heard the word "lemons" used to mean lesbians. It could be a local usage, I suppose, though I don't think so as you're not far from me :)

    Vel
     
  4. parsleysauce

    parsleysauce Junior Member

    Paris 17
    Italian
    Thank you for replying, but the people I listened to were actually saying those two girls had started a love/sexual relationship and kept calling them " lemons "...I'm quite puzzled:confused:...I'd never heard anything like that here in the UK...maybe it's a local expression..
     
  5. parsleysauce

    parsleysauce Junior Member

    Paris 17
    Italian
    Hi Vel,
    We're actually very near...it can't be a tipical Midlands usage...but the people I spoke to were from East Anglia...maybe some lesbians grow lemons there!! hehe:);)
     
  6. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    According to this website:

    The Cassell Dictionary of Slang gives both Lemon and Lemonade as referring to lesbians. Originally a 'lemon' was an unattractive woman, probably describing a sour expression. Both words are primarily Australian slang, and didn't come to mean lesbian until the 1980s.
     
  7. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    This website of an Australian advocacy group confirms that lemon is slang for lesbian in Australia.
    "Lemon" is a term often used for lesbian. It's also used to refer to dud cars and sour people."
    They say they do not know the origin of the use of lemon for lesbian. As they have incorporated the term into the name of their website, I take it that they do not consider it offensive.

    Added: The website is: lemonkind: lemon aid for women down under.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2010
  8. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    I presume you mean 'gay men':) Well, there's fruit ~ not quite as jolly-sounding. But then, as lemons are renowned for their sourness, lemon = 'lesbian' doesn't sound all that complimentary to me either.
     
  9. parsleysauce

    parsleysauce Junior Member

    Paris 17
    Italian
    Thank you guys! This confirms that what I heard really stood for " lesbians "... maybe the term is slowly getting into the British usage as well..

    Cheers
    ;)
     
  10. parsleysauce

    parsleysauce Junior Member

    Paris 17
    Italian

    Yeeh...it actually sounds like " you're as sour as a lemon "...I may take some offense at being called like that...fortunately I'm not girl:)... So do you think I should be a bit careful using this term in the UK??
    Can you suggest anything different to refer to gay and lesbian people without being impolite??

    Cheers ewie
     
  11. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Jerusalem
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Although I have never heard it before, using lemon to refer to a lesbian sounds very offensive to my AmE ears. A "lemon" is something like a new car that has never worked properly from the day it was bought. It does not do what it is meant to do. I find using the word to describe a person very insulting and offensive.
     
  12. parsleysauce

    parsleysauce Junior Member

    Paris 17
    Italian
    Uhmm...I'm more and more confused..I didn't think it could become such a controversial issue...
     
  13. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    Hello Parsley. There are plenty of other threads that have dealt with this kind of thing: just go to the index page of the English Only forum, click 'search this forum' and type in the word 'gay'.
    Here's a recent one that dealt (in part) with the term fruit.
     
  14. You little ripper! Senior Member

    Australia
    Australian English
    S/He bats for the other team. ;)
     
  15. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Jerusalem
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    I decided to do a little research. I called up a lesbian friend and asked her how she felt about "lemon" as a word for lesbian. (English is her third language, but she speaks it with complete fluency.)

    Her reply was first to laugh (she'd never heard it before), then to suggest the term she prefers, and then to say that if it's common in Australia fair enough, but she doesn't think she'd like it.

    For what it's worth.
     
  16. cycloneviv

    cycloneviv Senior Member

    Perth, Western Australia
    English - Australia
    This is another piece of apparently Australian slang which I've never heard of. Perhaps it's an eastern states thing. Neither myself nor my housemate, with 70-odd years of living in Western Australia, have heard "lemon" used to mean "lesbian".
     
  17. parsleysauce

    parsleysauce Junior Member

    Paris 17
    Italian
    That's nice!
     
  18. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    This septic isle!
    NW Englandish English
    Thanks for the input, Charles.

    MODERATOR NOTE: Please don't let's have this turn into yet another thread giving synonyms for gay person, of which there are already plenty ~ try typing 'gay' into the 'search this forum' box on the index page. Ooh, I'm getting a bit of déjà vu here.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2010
  19. Emzees New Member

    Australia
    English- Australian
    Just to add my very late 2 cents in case anyone was interested:
    I am an Australian and have used the term lemon as slang for lesbian for as long as I can remember! It's not used in a derogatory way at all, and I'm not sure where it originated, but I remember it was used much more often when I was in high school.
    It must not be very common now though, as I just said it to a friend and he had never heard it before so we googled it just in case it was just me, and ended up here!
    I like lesbifriends as well...
     
  20. Man_from_India Senior Member

    Indian English
    But "lemon tarts" doesn't mean "lesbian", right?
     
  21. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    I don't have the whole context, but I suspect this is a play on the word tarts which is both a type of pastry and a slang word meaning approximately 'prostitute'. He is saying that they are blond women of loose morals.

    I don't think it is likely to mean that they are lesbians. However, it is always possible that more context will show I am mistaken.
     
  22. jarabina Senior Member

    English - Scotland
    Using the word 'lemon' to refer to lesbians was really common when I was at school in Scotland in the 1980s. Perhaps it's (a) regional and (b) slightly dated now?
     
  23. Emzees New Member

    Australia
    English- Australian
    I don't think lemon tarts refer to lesbians... Just a floozy with blonde hair. Perhaps a chocolate tart would be an brunette floozy? :)
     
  24. grubble

    grubble Senior Member

    South of England, UK
    British English
    I think it is regional. If someone said to me "She is a lemon" I would imagine that she was at a formal dance and sitting on the sidelines because no one would ask her to dance.
     
  25. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    Well, if it's indeed Australian, it must be from the northern region. I've just checked with a friend in Melbourne (southeastern Australia)--and he's never heard of it either.
     
  26. Emzees New Member

    Australia
    English- Australian

    I am from Melbourne too, and I use the term myself sometimes and used to hear it a lot when I was at high school. I don't think it is extremely common, but not rare... or at least it wasn't a few years ago!
     

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