Heard on MSNBC

Victor aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sat May 9 12:19:26 UTC 2009

I would find it hard to believe that "the stupid" and "the ugly" in this
usage (as in "beat the stupid/ugly out of him") is particularly recent.
The people I heard it from first are in their 40s and 50s now, although
it might have been a regional expression back in the 1980s and is more
widespread now (thanks, likely, to TV).

As for "the gay" for Maddow, it is not accidental. She mocks the
conservatives with it because it is not an uncommon expression in "us
vs. them" rhetoric. I doubt that the self-appointed "anti-sodomite"
crusaders are familiar with "the Other", but they certainly use "the
gay" in the same manner.

On a somewhat different note, I often hear from second-language
learners, particularly Chinese and Italian natives, expressions like
"He's _a gay_." I find at least a bit of irony in that.


Herb Stahlke wrote:
> I'm guessing that you're a bit younger than I am.  Is this a
> generational or an age-graded usage?
> Herb
> On Fri, May 8, 2009 at 9:34 PM, Kari Castor <castor.kari at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I don't know about the relative newness, but it's quite a common usage among
>> the people I know.
>> the hiv (for this type of usage, HIV is typically pronounced phonetically,
>> not spelled out) - as in, "Don't touch Paris Hilton; you'll get the hiv."
>> the stupid - as in, "That guy has a bad case of the stupid."
>> the ugly - as in, "Lucky that kid didn't catch the ugly from his parents."

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

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