As an amateur student of the language, I’ve
been worried for the past week about the word “bone” used in the context of the
alleged paragraph:

“What
are we going to do about Jessica? When should we bone her? I reckon it should
be next week.”

Let me get in before the Macquarie
Dictionary people and ask the Crikey Army for assistance with the etymology as
I suspect it might be some sort of Melbourne footy
club thing. It’s certainly not general usage on this side of the Murray – or at
least it wasn’t until last week.

On first reading of the paragraph, I
thought “bone” meant “f-ck” – which made it all rather shocking due to the
premeditated nature of the sentiment. However, given further context, I surmised
this “bone” was meant in the abattoir sense, as in the boning room, filleting a
carcass. In the spirit of PBL/Nine, that seemed to make more sense.

A colleague with whom I discussed the matter suggested I was actually closer to being right the first time, that this “bone”
meant “f-ck” as in to “f-ck someone over.” I
can see some merit in his argument.

Another thought there might have been some
relationship with the idea that to be sacked was to be “thrown out on the bones
of your a-se”, but that doesn’t work for me.

Could it be rhyming slang then? Eddie
All-over-the-place might have just meant: “When should we phone her?” Perhaps
Eddie thought she was being played out of position and wanted to discuss
sandwich fillings. Perhaps not. For a couple of generations at Nine, one
was simply “given the flick”. Being “boned” instead could signal a subtle
change in culture as well as language, so it’s over to Crikey readers more
worldly than I am for an explanation.

Of course, Eddie says he never said
anything like that. Eddie also says Jessica has his full support as Today Show
host.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.

 

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW