British Word for Nymphet Fetish
September 8, 2012 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Doing research for my new book on age-discrepant relationships and ephebopilia, I just watched the film Twinky (1970), which was partly filmed in Britain and a British (?) word was used that I can't seem to find the correct spelling for. Spelled phonetically the word is - nym-phe-ta-tish. From the context of the film, it appears to be a combination of nymphet and fetish and refers to one who has a fetish for nymphets. Does anyone the correct spelling of the word? Thanks!
posted by lrnarabic to Writing & Language (4 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: nope -- Eyebrows McGee

It seems like the appropriate construction of the portmanteau would be nymphetishist which turns up plenty of search results. Maybe misheard or just mushily pronounced in the film?
posted by nanojath at 11:23 AM on September 8, 2012

I advance this possibility with some diffidence, but I've noticed, listening to news reports from the Middle East, that some presumable native Arabic speakers whose English is very good will nevertheless, in speaking an English word with a syllable ending in a consonant where the following syllable also begins with a consonant, often interpolate a vowel between the two consonants even when they are the same consonant (book-ah-keeper comes to mind).

I've often wondered whether such a person listening to a native speaker of English actually hears that vowel, and I've tentatively concluded that they probably do.

Considering your user name and the name on your profile page, could it be that you are hearing the 'ta' in "nym-phe-ta-tish" when the speaker did not intend it? And that the spelling of the word was 'nymphetish' or 'nymphfetish'?

Or, given that 'nymphette' is an alternative to 'nymphet', could the speaker have had a background in Arabic and the word been spelled 'nymphettish'?
posted by jamjam at 12:36 PM on September 8, 2012

First thing you need to understand (although I'm sure you're aware of this) is that nymphet, while not a neologism per se, was only introduced into the language in the sense of "sexually attractive prebuscent female" by Nabokov in his 1955 novel Lolita.

The limited number of Google results for "nymphetishist" (10 is hardly "plenty") does not suggest it to be anything more than a modern neologism. I also don't believe this would track with the ca. 1970 usage of "fetish[ist]", which at the time was still largely reserved for the fetish of the object, such as breasts or shoes. While an older man being fascinated with a young girl was a boundary issue for some in 1970, the movie also shows that it was essentially considered a normal type of attraction for a male of the era. (See also An Education, etc.), not really a "fetish" as such.

If the movie had characters suggesting it was a special interest of the Bronson character, it might have been some sort of portmanteau of not fetish but one of the other tony words for sex-related subjects back then such as ecdysiast for a stripper or gymnosophist for nudist. The fact that screenwriter Vane spent a year as editor of Penthouse suggests that he may well have been creative rather than reportorial.

I'm really curious if anyone could upload a sound sample -- the clips on YouTube don't seem to include any of this dialog.
posted by dhartung at 4:02 PM on September 8, 2012

Could also be "nymphette-ish" as in "like a nymphette if not actually one".
posted by Matt Oneiros at 6:02 PM on September 8, 2012

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