Author Topic: Mixed company?  (Read 688 times)

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citadelle

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Mixed company?
« on: January 11, 2013, 12:56:43 PM »
I have seen the term "mixed company" used here on this forum in a variety of circumstances. I am curious about what this expression means to others. In my mind, the definition of mixed company would be both genders present. I've seen it used in ways that seem to imply that it means of mixed status or different levels of familiarity.

Is there a consensus on the definition of this term?

Shoo

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Re: Mixed company?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2013, 01:00:06 PM »
I think it means both genders are present, also.

Tabby Uprising

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Re: Mixed company?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2013, 01:14:52 PM »
I've heard it used in instances where you have a group of people you can be very familiar with mixed in with a group you need to be more formal with.  So a party where both your best friends are in attendance as well as co-workers or neighbors or in-laws. 

You may be in the habit of saying "holy cheeseballs Batman!" in the exclusive company of your best friends, but in "mixed company" you don't use the term because you don't know that language is acceptable to everyone.

Does that make sense?

citadelle

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Re: Mixed company?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2013, 01:18:21 PM »
Exactly, Tabby, and that is why I was confused. Like Shoo, I had understood it to mean both genders present. So, when I read frequently that one should not do X in mixed company, where X is something that would not offend on a gender basis, I questioned my definition.

Sharnita

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Re: Mixed company?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2013, 01:22:13 PM »
Traditionally I think it means when both genders are present. Now Tabby's application seems to git better.

Bexx27

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Re: Mixed company?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2013, 01:28:20 PM »
Exactly, Tabby, and that is why I was confused. Like Shoo, I had understood it to mean both genders present. So, when I read frequently that one should not do X in mixed company, where X is something that would not offend on a gender basis, I questioned my definition.

It's both, I think. From urban dictionary:


"Old fashioned way of refering to:

a. the presence of women or children.

b. the presence of someone who might repeat what you're saying to someone you don't want them to repeat it to."

So I assume the original meaning of women and children also had the connotation of "people around whom you need to watch your language." Now that there's less overlap between those two groups, it can have the second meaning without necessarily having the first.
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these. -George Washington Carver

WillyNilly

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Re: Mixed company?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2013, 02:55:30 PM »
I have always taken it to mean two or more distinct groups.  So it might mean genders, but it also might mean professionals and public (a company holiday party where employees can bring their spouse, for example), or staff and attendees (waitstaff should watch what they say about the food in front of guests) or children present, etc.