Hello my dear students! Wow.. all these girls love French kissing! I mean…. I love French kissing as well, don’t you? But why do they call it French Kissing? Did the French invent it like they invented French Fries? Oh yeah, that’s right, we learned that the French didn’t invent French fries.. the Belgians did! OK.. then maybe the French Kiss was invented by the French like French Toast was!? Did the French invent French kissing?
HotForWords investigates French Kissing. French kissing is defined by he Oxford English Dictionary as:
1. An act or instance of kissing a person on both cheeks, typically as a greeting.
What? That’s not French kissing.. I mean.. I know that all the Europeans kiss like that, but.. oh..I see.. that was the original meaning back in the 1800s… now it means:
2. A kiss with contact between tongues.
Yes.. that’s French kissing.. you know.. playing tonsil hockey… tongue wrestling, tonsil tennis, necking and snogging. In Russian we also call it French kissing.. but we also call it “zаsоs” which means “a suction”.
The term French kissing first appears in English in the 1800s.. but at that time it referred the act of kissing someone on both cheeks as a greeting.. as you know all those French people do! But then, around 1922 the term changed its meaning to be a passionate kiss involving a couple tongues!
As it turns out, that type of kissing had been around for far longer than 1922 going at least as far back as the Anglo Saxons and I’m sure before.. but what happened is that during the roaring 20s American decadence was expressed in materialism, such as in the Great Gatsby, and French decadence was expressed as a culture of passion.. hence the French kiss.
So it wasn’t really “invented” by the French per se and it wasn’t even a bit derogatory at the time! All I know is that French kisses are so wonderful….Oh.. sorry.. there you go, another mystery solved by your trusty HotForWords!
For your homework, can you think of some other terms for French Kissing? And do you like French kissing? Answer in the comments below.