Archive for the ‘Taboo language and slurs’ Category


September 28, 2016

Television report. From The Mysteries of Laura, S1 E20 (5/7/15), “The Mystery of the Crooked Clubber”:

So, he’s not our killer, he’s not on the getaway squad, he’s just some jackhole throwing himself off skyscrapers in midtown.

The item jackhole was new to me, but instantly recognizable as derogatory slang, doubtless a portmanteau involving derogatory (and strongly taboo) asshole and either derogatory (and mildly taboo) jackoff or merely derogatory jackass. Neither jackhole nor the alternative avoidance term jerkhole is in either of the compendious slang dictionaries (Lighter and Green), but in this case, Urban Dictionary provides real gold for jackhole:


Linguistics and its orthographically related disciplines

August 26, 2016

Nathan Sanders writes on Facebook to display the nameplate for his new position at Haverford College:

There are few people in LINGUISTICS who have not been afflicted by the spelling LINQUISTICS, or else LINGUSITICS. But it is a little-known fact that these are actual names of academic disciplines quite distinct from linguistics.


Fixed expressions

August 7, 2016

Two recent cartoons turning on fixed expressions, compounds in fact: a Rhymes With Orange and a One Big Happy:




Cereal mascots

August 1, 2016

Today’s One Big Happy, with the kids’ grandparents at breakfast, contemplating the cereals on offer, with some dismay:



Naming names: the cocktail beat

July 29, 2016

In the New York Times Magazine on Sunday the 24th, an entertaining “Drinks” column by Rosie Schaap, about cocktail names, with special attention to the cocktails created and named by Jill Dobias, of the East Village restaurant Joe and Misses Doe. Two of her works, Eye of the Komodo and Clam in a Can:



More British slurs

July 17, 2016

A follow-up to yesterday’s posting on “oiks, yobs, and prats”, about British social slurs, especially in the tv series Midsomer Murders: Facebook comments from John Wells (on the slurs in my posting, plus chav) and Don Steiny (on the status of cunt in British (also Australian) English).


oiks, yobs, and prats

July 16, 2016

Three British slurs, widely used on the ITV detective mystery show Midsomer Murders (broadcast since 1997 and still going on), which I’ve been watching on Netflix. As far as I can tell, all three are primarily insults directed at males.


Levels of taboo language

June 26, 2016

Today’s Mother Goose and Grimm, on a linguistic theme:

Aside from the meta character of the strip — the dogs know they are characters in a cartoon — there’s their avoidance of the word bitch, as unsuitable for the strip, because the strip is carried by “family newspapers”, where women and children (notoriously delicate and easily damaged by words) might come across bitch (even used to refer to a female dog, not to mention in the idiom son of a bitch).


Annals of invective: tweets from Scotland

June 25, 2016

… over Herr Drumpf (the German candidate for POTUS)’s arrival in Scotland, just after the Brexit vote. Herr Drumpf’s tweet:

Just arrived in Scotland. Place is going wild over the vote. They took their country back, just like we will take America back. No games!

Problem: Scotland was very much in favor of Remain, and the Scots are indeed wild, but over what they see as betrayal of their earlier vote to remain in the UK, where they could continue getting the benefits of the UK’s membership in the EU. So the tweets were vicious. From the Barstool Sports site yesterday, by Feitelberg, “Donald Trump Was The Victim Of Some Vicious British Insults, Which Are Incredible And My New Favorite Thing”:


The FUCK card

May 18, 2016

Passed on a while ago by Ronnie Grishman on Facebook (from what ultimate source I do not know):

Something you can carry around to express surprise / astonishment, sexual invitation, emphatic assertion, rejection, dismissal, insult, whatever. Details in Jesse Sheidlower’s The F Word (now in its third edition)