Heard on The Judges: crack

Seán Fitzpatrick grendel.jjf at VERIZON.NET
Sat Apr 12 07:00:31 UTC 2008

<< This feels like something that's also used in other dialects. Is it? >>
Indeed, yes.  At my mother's knee in both of the ways you use it.  The "ish"
suffix is applied to adjectives to indicate uncertainty or approximation:
ten-ish (about ten o'clock); large-ish (sort of large; not small,
certainly--getting there, but not yet what you'd call really LARGE);
greenish (slightly green, e.g., his complexion took on a greenish tinge).
"Ish" is also applied to some nouns in the way you describe to indicate a
quality:  girlish, boyish, manish (of a woman).

Seán Fitzpatrick
For when Global Warming just isn't silly enough anymore.
Late-thirty-ish black, female plaintiff:

"She might not be using crack no more, but she still have _crackish ways_."

I.e, acts like a person who uses crack. This usage is very common in
in BE, cf., e.g. "Manish Boy"[sic; the original title], the Muddy
Waters rip-off of Bo-Diddley's "I'm A Man," implying that the song is
about a boy who acts as though he's a man, i.e., has mannish ways.

This feels like something that's also used in other dialects. Is it?


All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
 -Sam'l Clemens

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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