To ___ slap

Drew Danielson drew.danielson at CMU.EDU
Sun Dec 10 18:30:11 UTC 2000

> I have never heard it used in that fashion. It's always seemed to refer to a
> merciless full-handed, open-palmed, on-the-cheek smack, usually undefended, often a repeated
> action. That said, these days I mostly hear it used in the same knowing, winking way
> that people use "wife-beater," the subtext being, "We're not *really* talking about
> slapping a bitch here."
> Although it's most frequently used among my peer group in a conditional sense, "I'll
> bitch slap you, if you don't stop..." Nearly always a threat.

This is the usage I am familiar with, more or less.  I recall a line
from a rap song from about 10 years ago (by Public Enemy, I believe)
that goes, "If you're gonna act like a bitch/you're gonna get slapped
like a bitch" (more or less - that may be a paraphrase).  This was at
about the same time that the terms "bitch-slap" and "bitch" (as
described below) were gaining currency among certain demographics (the
ones who could frequently be observed on such cable channels as MTV).

The word "bitch" here does not necessarily indicate a female referent;
although the phrase seems like it most likely has roots in
"pimp/bitch-slap", the word "bitch" itself has a different meaning than
in the original context.  As far as I can figure out, "bitch" in this
context means someone who is acting foolishly, "makes an ass" of
themselves, acting cowardly, or acting in a way that could bring
undesired consequenses to another person (usually the referer).
Approximate synonyms could be "wuss", "ass" or "jerk".

I agree that "bitch" can also refer simply to subservience, but I think
in the phrase "bitch-slap" there's a more derogatory meaning.  So when
Judge Clark "bitch-slapped" the lawyer, she did so figuratively for his
acting like a "bitch", or for in some way acting out of line.

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