floss and ghetto

Joe Pickett Joe_Pickett at HMCO.COM
Thu Nov 2 14:27:26 UTC 2000

In Geneva Smitherman's "Black Talk," there is an entry for

Flossin   "Pretending, faking something;putting on a front; trying to
appear calm and cool."

There is also an entry for

ghetto fabulous (sometimes ghetto fab) "Describes a person or thing that is
fantastic, the height of something, according to the authentic, natural,
"keepin it real" standards of Blackness that are believe to exist in ghetto

I hope this helps.


Luanne von Schneidemesser <lvonschn at FACSTAFF.WISC.EDU>@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on
11/01/2000 09:19:26 PM

Please respond to American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>

Sent by:  American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>

Subject:  floss and ghetto

Two queries.  Someone asked about the meaning of ghetto, as in "that was
ghetto."  It must be fairly new; it's not in the HDAS.  My son uses it but
isn't a great definer so wasn't really helpful.  What's its earliest date?

Then I received the following:

I recently attended an Afrocentric poetry reading in which two of the poets
used the word "floss" in their poems.
It seemed, from the context of both poems, to be a pejorative reference to
an undesirable trait/behavior in African Americans. In one poem the subject
was a woman, and the other, a male "type". I think they both used the term
as a verb.
I do not have copies of the poems, or access to the poets--who are not
Thanking you in advance for any suggestions you send me for tracking down
the meaning of this word.
Mimi Mitchell

Any help?  TIA.


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