Yet More Bad Girl Talk

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Aug 14 21:18:45 UTC 2010

My guess is that "snatch" means something like "seize and assault." I'm not
familiar with this usage, but cf. 19th C. _to snatch baldheaded_ 'to
vanquish, ruin, defeat thoroughly, etc.'
UrbanDictionary isn't any help here.

OED's 6a is vaguely related in sense, but the above seems to me
significantly different. It implies (if I read it rightly) more physicality.
(To "snatch someone's life" is not really the same as to "snatch someone" as
I provisionally understand it.)

The putative "bitches" in the utterance seem to be female, though in theory
they could be of either sex. I doubt any connection with pudendal "snatch."

I don't mean to suggest that all the lexical items exemplified in my post
are new, though one or two appear to be. I only mean they are relatively
unusual and insufficiently documented.

"Bitch" as a general term of contempt applied to men is old but apparently
never common. That may be changing; see HDAS I. This ex. may be the first
I've encountered that was applied by a woman to a man, esp. with no
imputation of homosexuality.


On Sat, Aug 14, 2010 at 8:11 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: Yet More Bad Girl Talk
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> A few questions:
> At 8/13/2010 11:58 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> >The Oxygen cable network ("for women") is back with another bunch o' bad
> >girls in _The Bad Girls Club_.  Some linguistically noteworthy sayings
> from
> >the unruly female 21-26-year-old cohort:
> >
> >...
> >"If Iike you, I'll snatch the bitch for you. If I don't like you, you get
> >snatched by the bitch."  [Meaning unclear but ominous.]
> Could this possibly be descended from the OED2's
> snatch (v). ":6. a. To remove suddenly from this
> world or life. Used in passive and freq. with
> away and from."?  (Here used in the active and without "away" or "from".)
>      1597 HOOKER Eccl. Pol. V. xlvi. ยง1 Rather
> to bee taken then snatched away from the face of
> the earth. 1601 SHAKES. All's Well V. iii. 154, I
> am a-feard the life of Hellen (Ladie) Was fowly
> snatcht. ... 1888 BURGON Lives 12 Good Men I.
> Pref. p. xiv, He was snatched away while
> affording..fresh promise of a truly brilliant Professorial career.
> Or, assuming the "bitch" here is female (as it is
> not in the "motherf*****g bitch" quotation),
> perhaps arising somehow from snatch (n), "14.
> dial. and slang. The female pudenda."?  What were
> the genders of the speaker, "you", and "the bitch"?
> >...
> >
> >"[She's a] slutbag."  [I.e., despicable.]
> Jon, did you intend to suggest that these
> expressions were recent?  Thinking that I'd heard
> or seen "slutbag" some time ago (unless it's so
> attractive that I invented a memory of it!), I
> checked Google Books, and see a 1988 snippet from
> _Little Red Rooster_, by Greg Matthews:  ". . .
> lying bitch of a two-faced slut bag shit-faced ..."
> Joel
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