I see that back in 2012, I gave a poll asking readers for NOOB nominees. I promised to follow up and do posts on the winners, which were shag, flat, and a tie for third between gap year and row.
Bringing this to mind is a line in an article by an American college professor that just came out in the Chronicle of Higher Education. He’s writing about the depiction of professors in Woody Allen’s films, starting with “Manhattan” (1979) where
Michael Murphy plays an English professor dragging his feet on an F. Scott Fitzgerald book while still having enough money to wonder if he should trade in his spacious apartment on the Upper East Side for a house in Connecticut, with seemingly endless time and money to eat the overpriced food at Elaine’s (and being enough of a celebrity to get a table there) and have an affair with Diane Keaton, with whom he can have a spontaneous shag at a hotel somewhere between Bloomingdale’s and 68th Street.
So, “shag.” It’s of course a verb and noun (as above) referring to the act of copulation, made popular worldwide by the subtitle of one of Mike Myers’s Austin Powers movie: “The Spy Who Shagged Me.” Fascinatingly, the Oxford English Dictionary’s first citation for it came from none other than Thomas Jefferson in 177o: “He had shagged his mother and begotten himself on her body.” All the subsequent citations are from British and Commonwealth sources.
I’m not sure of its current state of play thereabouts, but in the U.S., post-Austin Powers, it seems to have settled in as a euphemism slightly more randy than some of the others on offer but still respectable enough to meet the standards of such publications as the Chronicle.