"baby mama" does not mean what they thought it means

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 29 04:22:58 UTC 2008

What is the source of the OED's assertion: "... _not (in most cases)_
his current or exclusive partner"?


On Mon, Apr 28, 2008 at 9:45 PM, Mark Mandel <thnidu at gmail.com> wrote:
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>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>  Poster:       Mark Mandel <thnidu at GMAIL.COM>
>  Subject:      "baby mama" does not mean what they thought it means
>  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>  from my nephew, an exchange with an editor (or something) at MSNBC.COM:
>  >>>>>>>>
>  From: $NEPHEW
>  Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 9:08 AM
>  To: Jonel Aleccia
>  Subject: poor choice of headlines?
>  "Baby mamas who eat better deliver more boys" (from
>  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24262928/)
>  While I understand that blogs provide a less formal forum for writers,
>  this headline (or sub-head?) is from what appears to be a regular
>  article appearing in msnbc.com's health section.  That being said, I
>  must ask who chose this sub-head and why it was considered
>  appropriate?  For one, slang, unless it is a direct part of the main
>  storyline, should rarely, if ever, be used in research reviews.  And
>  second, this slang isn't even appropriate for the research in
>  question, as it (the slang) refers to single mothers who don't know
>  the identity of their baby's father.  This review did not indicate
>  that this research focused on this demographic.
>  Can you provide any insight into this?
>  Regards,
>  ===
>  From: Jonel Aleccia [mailto:JoNel.Aleccia at msnbc.com]
>  Dear Mr. $LASTNAME,
>  Thanks for your note.  While the reporters and editors here disagree
>  with your idea that slang shouldn't be used in connection with a
>  research report,  we were convinced to change the sub-head by your
>  argument that it refers to single mothers.  After checking, we find
>  you're right. Thanks for taking the time to point that out.
>  Best,
>  JoNel Aleccia
>  <<<<<<<<<<<<<<
>  My nephew comments: "Score one for the literate among us…"
>  While there's disagreement over its stylistic appropriateness, and
>  he's somewhat off on the definition of the term*, he was right about
>  its semantic appropriateness.
>  * "the mother of a man's child, who is not his wife nor (in most
>  cases) his current or exclusive partner" -- OED; also quoted in
>  Wikipedia.
>  --
>  Mark Mandel
>  ------------------------------------------------------------
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