spaz and Tiger Woods

Joanne M. Despres jdespres at MERRIAM-WEBSTER.COM
Wed Apr 12 19:22:45 UTC 2006

My cohorts in high school during the early 1970s used "spaz" in
the same way that Alice's did in NYC in the 50s and 60s.  This
was in NE Massachusetts.


On 12 Apr 2006, at 15:16, Alice Faber wrote:

> > 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
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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