Word: ratchet, ratchetness

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri May 31 06:10:27 UTC 2013

On Fri, May 31, 2013 at 12:23 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:
> Urban Dictionary has 12 pages of divergent definitions for "ratchet".
> The earliest ones that seem relevant to the sense used below were
> dated 2005.
> 15 Pictures That Prove Miley Is More Ratchet Than You [Gallery]
> By Emerald Pellot
> http://collegecandy.com/2013/05/06/miley-cyrus-ratchet-photos/#photo=1
> [Begin excerpt]
> Miley Cyrus is the queen of ratchetness. In case you were wondering if
> her “hood rat” style was just a performance to break away from her
> Disney image, you were wrong. Miley has long been accepted by the hip
> hop community, the stripper scene and the stoners club. I think the
> combination of such shenanigans is the perfect formula for
> ratchetness.
> [End excerpt]

"Ratchet" was among the nominees in the 2012 ADS WOTY proceedings.
Look for a full treatment in the Summer 2013 installment of "Among the
New Words" in American Speech (the second of two on WOTY nominees). We
trace the current usage of "ratchet" back to the song “Do Da Ratchet”
(2004), recorded by Lil Boosie (Torrence Hatch) and the Lava House rap
crew in Shreveport, La.


Ben Zimmer

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

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