Phat [was Re: gay/ghey/ghay]

Wilson Gray hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET
Mon May 31 18:15:51 UTC 2004

On May 31, 2004, at 10:18 AM, James Smith wrote:

> I disagree that "phat" is a new spelling or new
> meaning for "fat".  I posit that someone simply came
> across "phatic" in a dictionary and decided they and
> their buddies were "phatic", hence "phat".  The word
> caught on, and since, "phat" has evolved and been
> applied to a wide range of situations and meanings.

You are partially correct. "Phat" is by no means a new spelling or a
new meaning for "fat." However, your alternative solution is way off
the mark. Given that "phat" is black street slang, the idea that "phat"
might somehow be derived from "phatic" is improbable, to say the least.
"Phat" is actually a  modification of "phatt," which is initial-slang
meaning "Pussy, Hips, Ass, Thighs, Tits." This term dates back to at
least 1950, when its meaning and use were described to me by a cousin
visiting Saint Louis, my home town, from New York City. Its original
use was to describe a good-looking girl or woman, as in, e.g. "That
chick is phatt!"
I know of no reason for the loss of the final "t." I could make some
guesses, but I won't waste anyone's time doing so.
-Wilson Gray

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