spaz and Tiger Woods

Alice Faber faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU
Wed Apr 12 19:16:44 UTC 2006

> I don't know whether anyone has seen or heard of this, but you might want to have a look at the BBC site:
> Golfer Tiger Woods has been criticised for saying he played like 'a spaz'. Can using the word ever be right?
> Two things are surprising to me. First, that the word 'spaz' is such a strong term in the UK.  It seems the Brits are going bonkers over this.  Secondly, I've heard this term all my life and I have never heard it in the way that I think Tiger may have meant it. The writer of the article writes " Spaz has become synonymous with useless incompetence..." For me, it means nothing of the sort, but rather has to do with uncontrolled action, almost always excitement.  When I read the signs the pep squad makes for an upcoming game 'Let's spaz out!!', I don't det any idea of incomepetence, but excitement.
> Any comments?

To me, "spaz" means klutz, incompetent bozo and the like. It was
commonly used in this meaning on the playground and the like where I
grew up outside of NYC in the 50s and 60s. Of course, back then, we
didn't know the etymology or that spasticity is a neurological condition.
Alice Faber                                    faber at
Haskins Laboratories                           tel: (203) 865-6163 x258
New Haven, CT 06511 USA                        fax (203) 865-8963

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