Author Topic: That word doesn't mean what you think it means  (Read 3203 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Bethalize

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4772
    • Toxic People Survival Checklist
That word doesn't mean what you think it means
« on: May 16, 2013, 10:25:09 AM »
I have a real issue with people using the word "bugger". It's not polite, in fact I find it offensive. I understand that people who use it don't understand where the word comes from but as the Oxford English Dictionary says it is "In decent use only as a legal term" or otherwise used "in low language". I feel particularly strongly about this word in a similar way that I object to people saying "That's gay" to say something is bad. Culturally sanctioned homophobia is a huge problem and I would prefer not to see it here.

Thank you for understanding.

TamJamB

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1572
Re: That word doesn't mean what you think it means
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2013, 12:08:23 PM »
I'm not sure what you are seeking here - do you want us to promise not to use this word on the board, or in real life or what?

Personally, I'm an inveterate potty mouth and have no intention of changing. And while I do use most of the standard swear words pretty regularly, I also like to mix it up with some more colorful choices occasionally. And, here in the US, 'bugger' is a colorful and unusual swear choice. 


Shoo

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 16393
Re: That word doesn't mean what you think it means
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2013, 12:10:40 PM »
I have always thought that word was only a bad swear word in England.  Since I live in America, it's simply another colorful word to describe something (or someone).  Sometimes I say, "That little bugger!" when referring to my mischievous kitty.  IMO, there's nothing indecent or offensive about it.

hobish

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 18186
  • Release the gelfling!
Re: That word doesn't mean what you think it means
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2013, 12:24:30 PM »
I have a real issue with people using the word "bugger". It's not polite, in fact I find it offensive. I understand that people who use it don't understand where the word comes from but as the Oxford English Dictionary says it is "In decent use only as a legal term" or otherwise used "in low language". I feel particularly strongly about this word in a similar way that I object to people saying "That's gay" to say something is bad. Culturally sanctioned homophobia is a huge problem and I would prefer not to see it here.

Thank you for understanding.

That is quite the assumption!
...and yes, as an American the word does not have the same connotations, just as Shoo points out.
It's alright, man. I'm only bleeding, man. Stay hungry, stay free, and do the best you can.
~Gaslight Anthem

ladiedeathe

  • Pushing the bounds of ministry, one gasp at a time.
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1804
Re: That word doesn't mean what you think it means
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2013, 12:27:37 PM »
 Bethalize,
And?

I understand that you are saying you don't like the use of the word. I don't think I've ever seen it on the board, and have no trouble agreeing to try to remember not to use it here. I absolutely understand the derivation of the word, and am married to a guy from England- even our grandkids in the UK know the word (and yes, know what it originally meant) and use it as a very minor swear, infrequently.

Is that what you are going for or are you asking a bigger question about how to politely request that people not use a word that is not offensive to most, but is offensive to you?

"Here to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Have chalice, will travel."

cwm

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2427
Re: That word doesn't mean what you think it means
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2013, 12:32:55 PM »
That may be the OED's definition, but the problem comes when there are other dictionaries that take into account other uses of the word. Dictionary.com's first definition is as follows:

1.
Informal. a fellow or lad (used affectionately or abusively): a cute little bugger.

So while yes, it can mean something that can be offensive to some people, it is also used as a term of affection. Another definition later on in the same page has a similar meaning, as a term of affection.

I know several people from various English-speaking countries around the world, and without fail, every single one of them has understood that the term bugger has this definition, or as the meaning of a light annoyance, rather than the definition you're referencing.

RingTailedLemur

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2847
  • Rudeness is a small person's imitation of power.
Re: That word doesn't mean what you think it means
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2013, 12:40:25 PM »
I have always thought that word was only a bad swear word in England.  Since I live in America, it's simply another colorful word to describe something (or someone).  Sometimes I say, "That little bugger!" when referring to my mischievous kitty.  IMO, there's nothing indecent or offensive about it.

Not really, it isn't seen as any worse than the other word beginning with "b" (the one I was very surprised to hear Miles O'Brien shout in Star Trek: DS9).  It's a swear word, but mild compared to the ones beginning with "f" and "s".

While it may have been used as a reference to a certain type of homosexual behaviour, it isn't used that way now.  Saying people don't know where the word comes from is an Interesting Assumption.

OP, if you don't like someone's word choice it is better to report it to a moderator rather than starting a thread telling people what you think they should or should not say in their posts.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 12:57:48 PM by RingTailedLemur »

Betelnut

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3762
Re: That word doesn't mean what you think it means
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2013, 12:49:59 PM »
I'm from the U.S. and know both meanings.  Here, most people don't use it with the offensive meaning in mind.  YMMV
Native Texan, Marylander currently

amylouky

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1567
Re: That word doesn't mean what you think it means
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2013, 12:50:05 PM »
I think the verb and -y noun form of the word are seen as more offensive than just the word bugger as it's commonly used. Granted, I'm in the US but it's very commonly used as somewhat of a synonym for "rascal", "stinker", etc.

Raises an interesting etiquette question, though.. if a word is commonly and benignly used in one language/culture, but its meaning is different and offensive in another culture, is it rude to use that word in the presence of someone from the second culture, if used in the context of the first?

I'm thinking of a word that in the UK means a cigarette, but in the US means something quite different. I'd be offended to hear someone use the US meaning, but wouldn't think twice if I heard a UK person refer to a cigarette using it.

RingTailedLemur

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2847
  • Rudeness is a small person's imitation of power.
Re: That word doesn't mean what you think it means
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2013, 12:56:18 PM »

Raises an interesting etiquette question, though.. if a word is commonly and benignly used in one language/culture, but its meaning is different and offensive in another culture, is it rude to use that word in the presence of someone from the second culture, if used in the context of the first?



Good point.  I'm led to believe that "spastic" is not deemed offensive in the USA, but it certainly is in the UK.

Tea Drinker

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1408
  • Now part of Team Land Crab
Re: That word doesn't mean what you think it means
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2013, 12:59:03 PM »
"Where the word comes from" would put it in the category of an ethnic rather than a sexual or homophobic insult, since that meaning is derived from western European prejudices against Bulgarians.

That said, are you asking us to avoid using the word in the non-sexual U.S. slang sense, or are you suggesting that another filter be added to the board?
Any advice that requires the use of a time machine may safely be ignored.

menley

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 621
Re: That word doesn't mean what you think it means
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2013, 01:16:09 PM »
I think the verb and -y noun form of the word are seen as more offensive than just the word bugger as it's commonly used. Granted, I'm in the US but it's very commonly used as somewhat of a synonym for "rascal", "stinker", etc.

Raises an interesting etiquette question, though.. if a word is commonly and benignly used in one language/culture, but its meaning is different and offensive in another culture, is it rude to use that word in the presence of someone from the second culture, if used in the context of the first?

I'm thinking of a word that in the UK means a cigarette, but in the US means something quite different. I'd be offended to hear someone use the US meaning, but wouldn't think twice if I heard a UK person refer to a cigarette using it.

Our pastor has a very funny story about the time that he was giving a sermon in Australia and used the term "fanny pack"... the audience reaction was apparently quite memorable  ;D

I've wondered the same thing as to whether it's rude or not. My only Aussie friend knows well the usage of the term in the USA, and so she doesn't bat an eye anymore, but if I was uncertain whether someone would be aware of the different usage, I'd probably avoid saying it.

jaxsue

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10233
Re: That word doesn't mean what you think it means
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2013, 01:16:51 PM »
I grew up in the US but my parents are from Canada (English-Canadian), so I grew up knowing UK and US meanings. We were absolutely forbidden to say bugger or bloody. Funny thing is, I can say rude words in languages my parents don't understand, such as in Italian and Yiddish, and there is no reaction.

Reminds me of George Carlin's spiel about the power we give words.

Lynn2000

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5367
Re: That word doesn't mean what you think it means
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2013, 01:36:46 PM »
Interesting! I like languages, and how the same word can be used differently in different contexts/by different people. I think there has to be a balance between being aware of what you're saying and who you're saying it to, but also hoping that people will understand your (good) intentions.

Like the UK slang word for cigarettes, or a term for a bundle of wood in some places... To most people in America, those words mean something entirely different, and are very negative and offensive. I assume I'd know from context what the (British) person was referring to, but I might caution them against using the term too much, as many Americans might not realize there's another meaning. Not an outright ban, more like, "Just so you know, hearing that would probably take people by surprise because of XYZ reason."

Like the time my friend from India was trying to choose a name for her baby, and one of the choices she suggested was Sukhim. I was like, "Well, if you're going to live in America, I would avoid that personally, because of XYZ, just so you know."

Likewise, if I used a word that was neutral to me but offensive to someone else due to being raised in a different culture/country/etc., I hope they would give me the benefit of the doubt based on the rest of my behavior, and ask about it rather than assuming I was being horribly rude (and confusing, if it has a totally different meaning).
~Lynn2000

Betelnut

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3762
Re: That word doesn't mean what you think it means
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2013, 01:38:14 PM »
I've heard people complain about the use of fubar and snafu too.
Native Texan, Marylander currently