James Kilpatrick explains how the word bootylicious (‘sexually attractive, sexy; shapely’), apparently new to him despite its ubiquity over the last decade, entered the OED, a canonization that filled him with horror (“I asked, ‘The booty-what?’ I cried, ‘C’mon, Don!’ I said, quietly, ‘Aaargh!'”). He draws a veil over the dirty bits (“does not qualify for quotation in a family newspaper”), but Nicole provides the full Monty at her excellent copy-editing blog A Capital Idea.

My favorite of the OED citations:

2001 Sunday Herald (Glasgow) 20 Dec. (Mag.) 29 (caption) It’s Hogmanay, time to party and look bootylicious for the Bells.


  1. If I remember correctly, bootylicious first came out with one of Destiny’s Child’s songs. As for booty, when I hear the word nowadays, even referring to what pirates were after, I have to train myself to go back to that original meaning. The shake-your-booty connotation sure seems like the more common one out there, so to speak.

  2. Something so obvious. The origin of bootylicious must be the name of a popular bubble gum Bubble-licious.

  3. Bootylicious started way before Destiny’s child claimed it as thier own. I’m nto exactly sure when it started but a band named Zebrahead had a track called Bootylicious Vinyl released on an album in 1998.

  4. Bootylicious goes back at least as far as the early ’90s, when Snoop used it in a line on The Chronic: “the rhymes you were kickin/ were quite bootylicious.” Damn it felt good to be a suburban teen gangsta…

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