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Nov 21st 2016 at 1:45:19 PM •••

Fun fact, Nigger's original definition was simply: "Someone who does not pay taxes." Which I personally get a chuckle from when I hear assholes saying Trump'll get rid of the Niggers since he is one by official definition. XD

Jun 18th 2015 at 1:25:44 PM •••

"The term used to describe people with life-changing diseases or injuries followed a similar path, from "crippled" to "disabled" to "handicapped"...", I don't know about the USA but in the UK disabled is considered less offensive than "handicapped". To quote this BBC article ""Handicapped" is a word which many disabled people consider to be the equivalent of nigger. It evokes thoughts of being held back, not in the race, not as good, weighed down by something so awful we ought not to speak of it".

Just wanted to check if this is the other way around in the US or something? Because it cause me a "huh" moment myself.

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Jun 18th 2015 at 9:02:14 PM •••

From what I have observed, it tends to go back and forth in all countries. It can even be different for individual groups.

Aug 28th 2013 at 7:01:26 PM •••

I figure someone thought it was effectively an unrecoverable mess of natter and people assuming things which were effectively wrong.

May 31st 2012 at 2:35:48 PM •••

I've never heard of "Superstar" being used exclusively by Gay men.

Mar 8th 2012 at 7:53:26 AM •••

Sperm Whales/Moby Dick example shouldn't be here. Sperm whales were called that because the whale fat/blubber that oozed out when harpooned looked like sperm. Sailors then were just as dirty as those now apparently.

Nov 13th 2011 at 1:50:09 AM •••

A number of those seem to be mostly a matter of media, especially television, sticking to old-fashioned things rather than contemporary more common meanings; basically a lot like the Tetris effect with video games. Bisexual has meant the sexuality since at least the beginning of the 20th century, the blackadder references regarding pumping are certainly correct for the period: the french press of the time did joke about how president Faure "died like Pompey" which is a double entendre for "died pumped" (that the prostitute was also nicknamed "la pompe funèbre" in the press makes no doubt about the understanding.

Basically a similar case happens with gay; theater and generally queer circles understood the word as a euphemism for homosexual/more polite alternative to bugger since the early 20th century at least if not the late 19th century. Spunk has been slang for sperm since the late 19th century (and amusingly, one of its synonyms, mettle, also used to be slang for sperm). We find this a lot; early on, references to pussies were commented on already: pussy has been slang for vagina for long enough that it comes up as jokes in early burlesque in the early 19th century already.

Part of the problem is that the history we have is so purified of everything that we don't quite know entirely how words come about (spunk, for example, is almost a nonsense word with no known etymological origin).

Jun 5th 2011 at 8:48:05 AM •••

Should there be some link to superdickery? ( The "seduction of the innocent" is basically a huge collection of these with old comic book (covers).

Mar 15th 2011 at 12:39:17 PM •••

Does the use of gay really count? It's still used in the sense used in the posters advertising the gayest comedy. The fact is that it's just gained a second meaning that is separate from the other one and having a gay old time can still be used so it is not a strict example.

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Mar 15th 2011 at 12:47:19 PM •••

Also, Asperger syndrome should actually be abbreviated as Asperger's because Asperger was the last name of the person who discovered it. This makes it a non-example.

blackcat MOD
Jan 3rd 2011 at 8:21:40 PM •••

Moving this example here for discussion

  • I saw a Spanish commercial, which I'm pretty sure was about a man who was perceived to be gay because of a string of unfortunate co-incidences. One shot showed him reading 'Ecce Homo (How One Becomes What One Is)'.

Aug 3rd 2010 at 12:12:34 PM •••

The meaning had changed about 70 years before Darkwing Duck premiered. Sorry, not an example by any stretch of the imagination.

Jul 7th 2010 at 7:48:44 AM •••

About the "TIRED GAY SUCCUMBS TO DIX IN 200 METERS" example, is that okay here? Or should it be put somewhere else, because those are names we're talking about?

Apr 20th 2010 at 3:48:45 PM •••

There seem to be two tropes in this article. The one the trope is about - words who's meanings have changed to form cognitive dissonance to modern ears - like Gay.

But a lot of the examples are words which have differing regional meanings. Those examples probably need their own trope — perhaps "Separated by a common language" after the Winston Churchill article alluding to this phenomena.

Apr 9th 2010 at 11:20:19 AM •••

The example under Other, "What can I do you for?" ... I had thought this was an intentional humorous rearrangement of the phrase "What can I do for you?" Doesn't really seem to fit the trope, as it is an intentional Double Entendre...

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Aug 24th 2011 at 1:27:42 PM •••

I agree. This trope looks choc full of examples that _were_ meant as double entendres, such as the Blackadder examples which are not examples of language change or meaning drift but they intended to make sexual double entendres. For this reason, no David Croft (& Lloyd or Perry) sitcom should be on this list at all, those guys spoke double entendre fluently.

Seriously, this page is confusing. Do you mean deliberate double entendres or things that are language drift. I think a lot of folks have gotten the first confused with the second in this page. It could be the reason that it is rather long with lots of examples (most of the double entendre example IMHO).

Edited by yanqui9
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