A word nerd's guide to cornhole

[picapp align="right" wrap="true" link="term=cornhole&iid=1681833" src="d/d/2/9/Tailgating_Nation_18ac.jpg?adImageId=8233870&imageId=1681833" width="380" height="380" /] When I moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky, from Philadelphia four years ago, there was a lot of culture shock. One small piece of that was the game of cornhole. I'd only ever heard that word used in a vulgar context. (More on that usage in a moment.) I had no idea there was a popular game with the same name. It's a bean-bag toss, played with two inclined boards that each have a hole cut in it, and it's really popular in this part of the country. Every frat house seems to have at least one pair of cornhole boards; there's a guy who sells custom-painted boards in front of his house along my route into work; and they have a cornhole tournament at every year at the season-opening party at my wife's theater.

(Of course, I say I've never heard of it, being from Philly, and then the picture I find is from tailgating outside an Eagles home game in 2007.)

There's a lot of conflicting information about the game's origin, which boils down to no one really knowing. (Some of those ideas are collected here.) As far as I can tell, it's probably called cornhole because one thing that can be used to fill the bean bags are corn kernels.

As for the origin of cornhole as a vulgarity, I started reading The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan last month. The first section focuses on corn's place in our food chain, and while talking about corn's history in colonial America, he wrote this:

The shelled cobs were burned for heat and stacked by the privy as a rough substitute for toilet paper. (Hence the American slang term "corn hole.")

Ouch. That makes the stuff they have in the stalls at work seem like Quilted Charmin Ultra Puffy Cloud.

UPDATE: I was just reminded that an extension of cornhole as a verb means "to have anal sex." The reminder wished to remain anonymous, but thanks.