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T HE E VOLUTION OF P ROFANITIES AND S LURS History of the English Language.

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Presentation on theme: "T HE E VOLUTION OF P ROFANITIES AND S LURS History of the English Language."— Presentation transcript:

1 T HE E VOLUTION OF P ROFANITIES AND S LURS History of the English Language

2 S HIT Roots: (OE) scite, scitte, schit [dung, diarrhea] (Mid. Low German) scite -cognate with shoot [refers to diarrhea in livestock-1587] Definition: refers to a bowel movement, the actual excrement (1382): Excrete (C. 15 th ): diarrhea (1508): A contemptible person: “KENNEDIE Flyting w. Dunbar 496 [Thou art] A schit, but wit”KENNEDIE (C.18 th ): removed from mainstream acceptance to slang lexicon

3 B ITCH Roots: (O.E. ) Bicce, bicge, bicche, bycche, biche, bych(e, (begch) (ON.) Bikkja Definition: female dog, by extension spiteful nasty woman, one who bites, to complain, something really good or really bad (origin to ca.1660): Lewd woman, colloquial use (C. 15): whore (1600): generalized slur (1814): Something really difficult or unpleasant spiteful or unfair (ca 1837): vulgar (1930s): US, synonymous with masculine woman

4 S LUT Roots: (Scand. Languages) slatte (Germanic) schlutt, schlutte, schlutz Definition: woman of uncleanly habits; promiscuous woman (1402): Woman of dirty or uncleanly habits (c. 1450): woman of loose morals (1450): kitchen maid (rare) (1460): awkward/troublesome creature (1664): used in joking manner, does not denote bad qualities (1821): bitch (female dog), slut-pup

5 N-W ORD Roots: (French) neger or negre [black] (Latin) niger [black stone] Definition: derogatory term used by White people; neutral or approving by blacks; a screen used to mask studio lights “The word was initially used as a neutral term, and only began to acquire a derogatory connotation from the mid 18th cent. onwards (compare sense A. 1b). In standard English usage the word NEGRO n. had already become the usual neutral term by the end of the 17th cent. “NEGRO (1574): used by non-Blacks as a neutral umbrella term (1775): derogatory usage by non-Blacks (1831): used by Black as neutral or favorable term (1835): person who does menial labor, regardless of color ; i.e. white n-word (1843): dark skinned person of any origin (not explicitly Blacks)

6 F-W ORD Roots: (French) fagot [homosexual] (Italian) fag[n]otto (Yiddish) faygele [little bird] (English) baggage Definitions: Bundle of sticks tied together, derogatory term for a gay person, refers to burning heretics alive (ca. 1300): bundle of sticks used as fuel (1555): burning of heretics, to be burnt alive (1591): a woman (1859): preceded by little refers to a child (late c ): a man mustered as a solider but not yet formally enlisted (1914): US only, refers to a male homosexual

7 F UCK Roots: (Dutch) fokken [to mock] (Swedish) fokka [to copulate] (German) fikken [to rub] Definition: To have sexual intercourse (C. 15 th ): to mock, to strike (1776): to ruin or destroy (1800): act of sexual connection (1866): to cheat, betray (1922): to impose hatred upon (1991): Geoffrey Hughes, Swearing, “fornicate under command of the King”

8 S HAG Roots: obscure origin (ME) shog [to shake or roll, shaking condition] (ME) shogge [to oscillate, swing, or shake] Definition: To have sexual intercourse, to masturbate, exhausted (adj), performer of a sexual act (n) (1380): to toss about, waggle (1596): to appear in a shaggy way [read: disheveled] (1788): to copulate with (1851): to make off with, wander aimlessly (ca ): to copulate (1933): vulgar or profane meaning, in lieu of ‘fuck’

9 D YKE Roots: Obscure origins (OE) Dic [ditch, trench] (Dutch) dekken [to cover] Definitions: A masculine woman, lesbian, a trench (1514): To cover or ornament ostentatiously [deck] (1942): masculine woman “BERREY & VAN DE N BARK Amer. Thes. Slang §405/3 Masculi ne woman,..dike, dyke. ”BERREY

10 C UNT Roots: (Latin) cunnus or cuneus [wedge]; cu [femininity] (M.E.) cunte, count(e) (ON.) kunta Definitions: Slang/derogatory term for a vagina, most notable of all vulgarisms (1230): in usage (ca. 1330): cunt as pun for quaint [refers to vagina] (C.15 th ): removed from polite spoken English and writings (C. 17 th ): punishable to write (1929): Used to refer to a woman, as verbal abuse

11 C OCK Roots: (OE) cocc, coc, kok (ON) kokkr (Latin) cuccus [male domestic fowl] Definitions: Rooster, slang reference to a penis, pudoris causa [to impregnate] (ca. 897): male fowl (ca.1386): Perversion of the word “God”; Chaucer (kokes-goddes) (ca.1386): applied to men; watchman (1481): spout or short pipe served for passing liquids through (1542): refers to a leader of chief (1618): First usage as reference to a penis

12 P ISS Roots: (Anglo-Norman) pisser (Old French) pissier (Spanish) pixar All considered cognates Definitions: To urinate, shocking association, considered low colloquial (1300): to urinate (1390): To discharge involuntarily (fear, excitement) (ca 1760): considered vulgarism (1948): To rain heavily

13 T WAT Roots: Obscure, erroneously used Definition: Woman’s behind (butt/vagina) (1656): bottom part of a nun’s attire (ca. 1660s): synonymous with vagina (1929): vulgar usage, considered hybrid of “twit” and “cunt” (1950s): refers to buttocks

14 C HOLO (C HOLA ) Roots: (Amer. Sp.) Cholollán, now Cholula (city in central Mexico) Definitions: Meanings change by region (1851): Indian of Mexico (1860): lower class Mexican (derogatory) (C. 21 st ): Refers to a drug dealer or rapist (depending on region); can be used as compliment or insult (2007): Lean Like a Cholo (Down)

15 C RACKER (C RACKA ) Roots: [from “crack”] (OE) cracian (Dutch) krakken Definition: Refers to a White person, racial slur (1509): boaster or braggert (ca. 1625): a lie (1766): contemptuous name for poor Whites, originally for natives of Georgia and Florida (1808): Georgia, “The Cracker State”

16 W ORKS C ITED Ayto, John & Simpson, John. (1992). “The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang”. Oxford University Press, New York, NY. Green, Jonathon. (2003). “Slang: Down the Ages”. Cox & Wyman Ltd. Great Britain. Partridge, Eric. (1961). “A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English”. Sixth Edition, The MacMillan Company. New York, NY. Lewis, Chris. (2003). “The Dictionary of Playground Slang”. Creative Print and Design, Wales.


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