nitty-gritty: racist term?
lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK
Wed May 15 16:05:59 UTC 2002
The latest controversy about the alleged racism of an everyday term is
Basically, it says that UK police are not allowed to use the term 'nitty
gritty' because it allegedly originally meant the waste at the bottom of a
slave ship once the slaves were taken off. OED and AHD4 say that the
origin is unknown, so I don't know where this etymological story comes from.
Dr M Lynne Murphy
Lecturer in Linguistics
Acting Director, MA in Applied Linguistics
School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9QH
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