Phat [was Re: gay/ghey/ghay]

Wilson Gray hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET
Tue Jun 1 15:47:49 UTC 2004

That's interesting to know. I'd always considered the use of "phat(t)"
to be strictly a local, New-York-City thing. I also considered it to be
a lame, off-the-wall expression with no staying power. To this day,
I've never had occasion to speak this word. Even when I was in the
Army, with other brothers from all over the US, I never heard anyone
use "phat(t)." Imagine my astonishment when it, from my point of view,
suddenly rose from the dead, decades after the one other time that I'd
ever heard it, riding the crest of the wave of hip-hop. As the late,
great Fats Waller once put it, "One never knows, do one?"

-Wilson Gray

On Jun 1, 2004, at 8:56 AM, Margaret Lee wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Margaret Lee <mlee303 at YAHOO.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Phat [was Re: gay/ghey/ghay]
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> I grew up in central Virginia in the fifties and sixties and 'phat'
> was a popular term among me and my friends (and FWIW, I am black).
> Wilson Gray <hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET> wrote:
>  Note also that my cousin spelled and defined
> "phatt" and not "phat" and that this occurred more than five decades
> ago. A whole lot of water has gone under that temporal bridge. It's
> also the case that, until the advent of hip-hop slang, no form of this
> word was used anywhere that I've ever lived - Texas, Missouri,
> California, Massachuseetts, Pennsylvania - by anyone of any race or
> social class or age group.
> -Wilson Gray
> Margaret G. Lee, Ph.D.
> Professor of English & Linguistics
>   and University Editor
> Department of English
> Hampton University, Hampton, VA 23668
> 757-727-5769(voice);757-727-5084(fax);757-851-5773(home)
> margaret.lee at   or   mlee303 at
> ---------------------------------
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