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Archive for January, 2006

From The French

I’ve learned a new word from my black female co-workers.

“Bouji.”

It’s a way to describe someone who is materialistic, polished, caught up in the things that seemingly signify status.

Usually, it’s used to explain to a man who is just a regular guy that a girl he might be interested in is simply too “bouji” for him.

The word is derived from “bourgeoisie” (man, that’s a lot of unnecessary vowels).

The most ubiquitous reference I’ve seen to it is by rapper Talib Kweli in a song he collaborated on with rapper Kanye West.

White guys learn something new every day. Though, usually I find a way to use this type of new knowledge. But probably not this one.

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Telling Off

Eric started off well on this cross-country race course during my absence, but after half a mile he stopped, parked his arse behind a tree and cracked open a beer (which frothed up everywhere, of course). So, should I give him a wigging?

No, because it’s the effort that counts and no man should judge another by his pace. And besides that, I can’t fault him as I’d have done the same.

Wigging, then, is to give somebody a scolding. I’ve not used the word since I was a kid, but browsing through an old dictionary yesterday, came across it. We should bring this word back into use.

So, after the headmaster had been bollocking you in the office (not literally – well, maybe at some posh boys schools where that kind of thing used to happen) you’d tell your friends: He gave me a right wigging. Or as we say in this region: E gen me a rayt wiggin’

I’ve thumbed through different dictionaries in search of the origins of this usage and found none.

So, readers, let’s hear your suggestions.

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Buzz Words

When a politician says some little used word such as incontrovertible, the media jump on it, then you hear people saying it in the pub when they’ve no idea what it actually means.

“I got an incontrovertible car from the used-car dealer this morning.” Something I said for a laugh, just to see if anybody twigged on. They didn’t.

Here’s one for you: floccinaucinihilipilification

Try saying that after a few beers. In fact, try saying it sober.

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In today’s modern world, there is a tendency to feel as if the most sensible and basic words don’t measure up.

Everything must be … “officialized.”

Utilize.

Prioritize.

Desensitize.

If you read the classics, how many of these officalized words do you ever come across?

This is used (not utilized) by those who work in cubicles who are afraid that if they try to describe their very official daily tasks without using the “-ize” suffix, they will be seen as not official enough.

Let’s use.

Let’s set priorities. Or use our time wisely.

Let’s be sensitive to not homogenizing our language.

Wait … I did it.

Crap.

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So, if it were in control what would it be like?

“Excuse me, Sir, that shop has three looters inside already. Please try another one.”

Dear readers, I’ll be leaving you in the capable hands of Eric for a while as I’m going to mainland Europe, where I’ll be making pathetic attempts to speak different languages and probably be getting lost a lot.

Thanks for stopping by.

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How are you today?

Some of you will have heard of the expressions, “sound as a pound” and “pound as a trout.”

Those of you who haven’t, now have, and after you’ve finished reading this sentence you’ll know that they mean things are going well.

The woman I was almost stupid enough to marry used to say, “job as a fish” when things were going swimmingly. It’s a shame she didn’t have a catchphrase for when things weren’t going well at all. Instead of uttering a catchphrase to express her annoyance at me, she would simply throw the nearest object to hand at me, irrespective of whether it was light, heavy or had sharp edges.

So, phrases can be useful.

Here at Just Language we like to learn things from all over the world, so feel free to tell us, and other readers, your expressions for when things are going well/not so well.

We look forward to your colourful contributions.

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