Did someone just call you a tallywacker? Maybe a friend told you to look at that hobo because he’s about to expose his tallywacker to a group of women? This post unpacks everything you need to know about the origin and meaning of this idiom.
What is the origin of the idiom tallywacker? Some experts think that the idiom traces back to the time when shepherds would move their sheep around attached to a length of rope. The sheep would tie onto the line, and the Shepard would crack the last sheep in line with the rope to keep the herd moving forward.
The “tallywacker” was the end of the line used to slap the sheep. However, no one can explain how the word morphed into its modern meaning. There are traces of the word referencing a man’s genitals, tracing back to the 1700s. It would become popularized as a slang word for genitals in England in the late 1800s and 1900s.
The word “tallywacker” can refer to a man’s genitals or a person and their behavior, much like the slang cuss word, “wanker.” You can use the phrase as a humorous alternative to the words used to describe male genitals. “Tallywacker” is more common in England and Britain than in America.
“Look at Mike over there; he looks like he’s about to pull out his tallywacker on the bar if he doesn’t get service soon.”
“I bet you want to pull out your tallywacker and slap it on her leg right now, right?”
“That guy is a total creep; he was about to pull out his tallywacker, so Cassandra and I walked away.”
“That guy is a bit of a tallywacker, don’t you think?”
“What a tallywacker.”
The origin of the colloquial term “tallywacker” is somewhat uncertain. However, some language experts believe that the word arose in 15th century England, where it would politely describe a man’s genitals.
“tally” means a long stick with notches etched into the sides in English. It also features in Latin, with the word “talea,” meaning a rod or stick.
At the same time, there is no confirmed origin of the slang, it’s important to note that the early use of the word “tally” may refer to “tail” and used as an expression for male genitals as far back as the 1700s to 1800s.
So, we assume that the word evolved naturally out of these origins and the adaptation of slang in the English language throughout the 1600s and on.
There is evidence to show the use of “tallywacker” referring to a man’s genitals as far back as the 18th century. The English adopted the word in popular culture during the early 20th century to describe a person’s genitals.
Phrases Similar to Tallywacker
Phrases Opposite to Tallywacker
- Good guy.
- Likable person.
What is the Correct Saying?
Ways People May Say Tallywacker Incorrectly
Tallywacker describes male genitals. Therefore, using the word to describe any other organ or female genitals is the incorrect use of the word. Tallywacker does not suit modern conversation or in chats or forums. Most people won’t understand what you’re saying, and you might endure scorn or ridicule from some people.
Acceptable Ways to Phrase Tallywacker
You can use tallywacker when you want to use an alternative to typical words to use to describe the male genitals. Tallywacker is not really in use in modern language anymore. You’ll find boomers and early Gen X’ers using this phrase, but zoomers and millennials might find it amusing, archaic, or antiquated. You can use tallywacker when you’re talking to older generations, and you’re trying to avoid sounding crass.