Many people will find this article extremely offensive – Ed.
The most revolting word I know is ‘mung’ (US 1950’s) which describes the act of whacking a pregnant woman across the abdomen with a baseball bat. But it all depends on what you find disgusting. Few men would be able to swallow down a glassful of their own expectorated saliva, but most find the vaginal secretions of a total stranger to be a subject of happy interest. The mother of Swift’s friend Mrs. Pilkington threw up her dinner on reading one of his ‘boudoir’ poems, yet it first appeared in print in The Gentleman’s Magazine opposite a page of figures relating to the National Debt. Taste is so subjective that the compilers of The Dictionary of Disgusting Facts have opened their defences wide with its title: the result is something of an own goal.
While there are certainly some stomach-churners here, this slim and patchy book is neither a ‘definitive work’ nor, in many places, even mildly disconcerting. The premise behind it is the admirable one that most people are secret nosepickers and, yes, hypocrite lecteur, covert consumers of the fruits thereof. Indeed, the