Bawdy vs body

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Bawdy and body are two words that are pronounced extremely similarly but have different spellings and meanings. They are easily confused. We will examine the difference in meaning between bawdy and body, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Bawdy describes a joke or story, or language that deals with sexual matters in a humorous fashion. Usually, jokes and stories that are bawdy are lewd but not pornographic. Related words are bawdily and bawdiness. The word bawdy came into the English language in the 1300s to mean soiled, filthy. It is derived from the word bawd which means lewd and the suffix -y which means full of or characterized by.

The word body has several different meanings: 1.) the physical structure of a human or animal, alive or dead 2.) the main part of a car or other vehicle 3.) a collection 4.) the main part of a letter or email 5.) the quality of substantiality in a given wine 6.) a group of people who have joined together for a specific purpose or are connected in a certain way 7.) a large area of water. The word body is derived from the Old English word bodig which means the chest of a person or animal.


The Prince appeared to thoroughly enjoy watching rehearsals for The Hypocrite, despite its bawdy comedy content and English Civil War vintage digs at royalty. (The Daily Mail)

In “Where There’s Smoke,” Joseph deliberately builds the poem around an unclear antecedent—offering bawdy gestures, inventive vocabulary, and lines whose breaks become puns—before revealing that the one clear referent is smoke. (The Southeast Review)

It’s thought the driver who died was a man, however police said investigators “haven’t been able to determine the sex of the body” or the driver’s identity because the person was so badly burnt. (The Canberra Times)