Take it all off
Writing at his World Wide Words newsletter, Michael Quinion credits H.L. Mencken with a notable addition to the American lexicon: ecdysiast.
Mencken came up with it in response to Georgia Sothern, a notable stripper of the 1940s in Baltimore, who asked him to “coin a new and more palatable word to describe this art.”
Mencken obliged, working with ecdysis, the technical term for molting, derived from the Greek ekdudis, “shedding” or “molting.”
Ecdysiast for “strip-tease artist” did not catch on, though it turns up occasionally in a jocular tone.
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