doNUT! (donutgirl) wrote in little_details,

Meaning of word "gimp", and search for lost word

I have two word-related questions that are really bugging me.

1. Now, when I was a kid, a gimp was just another mean word for cripple. But then, circa 1994, Pulp Fiction came out, and suddenly everyone and their mom was using gimp to refer to someone who takes part in SM scenes.

My question: did the word gimp have this sexual meaning anywhere, to anyone, before Pulp Fiction? Or did people just have no idea what the term meant, and when they saw the movie, they assumed from context that it must refer to some BDSM practice? Can anyone cite a BDSM-related use of the word gimp that predates Pulp Fiction?

I have googled this, but every reference I find just restates that gimp is "a derogatory term used to refer to a sexual submissive person," and then they cite Pulp Fiction as evidence. Or alternatively, real dictionaries (like those assembled at are completely unaware of the sexual usage.

I'm writing a story where someone uses the word pre-1994, and I'm wondering what connotations it would have had at that point.

2. When I was in college, I took an intro Psych course, and I remember reading about a psychologist who coined a term to describe someone who, because of some traumatic experience, is stuck at a certain stage of development. But I can't think of the term, or the psychologist!

If I recall correctly, this term is one that has entered lay usage as well (like "anal retentive", or "codependent"), where it's used more broadly to refer to someone who is immature or emotionally stunted.

If it helps, this term was coined (I think) fairly early in the history of psychiatry -- I think we learned about it between Freud and Piaget. And I *think* it may have begun with the letter P.

I wikipedia'd the hell out of this question, but although I found many articles about developmental psychology, I can't find any mention of a term to describe someone who has had trouble with a particular stage, and the effects on that person as an adult. Can anyone please help me with this? I really want to use this concept in my story, and it's driving me mad that I can't come up with the term!

My story is set in the US, in the 1980s, but I welcome any related info from other English-speaking cultures. Thank you!

ETA: Thanks, everyone! I think I have enough, now -- particularly on the gimp question.
Tags: ~sex
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