Phat [was Re: gay/ghey/ghay]

Margaret Lee mlee303 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Jun 2 11:07:06 UTC 2004

You must also consider the fact that a significant aspect of BE is its use as a "disguise" language, going back to slavery when the enslaved Africans created means of communicating among themselves without the slave master knowing what they were saying, often talking about him in his presence. Some of these were words with double, multiple or opposite meanings. I think  black acronyms fit this description, especially "phat", no doubt used covertly by males without females understanding the meaning (at least initially).
I can't remember specifically how I learned about 'phat' in the late 50's and early '60's in Virginia,  but females were very familar with its use and meaning, knowing that males used it to refer to a female who was "stacked."

Dave Wilton <dave at WILTON.NET> wrote:
"phat(t)." First, acronyming is simply not a productive pattern of
non-technical word formation. People just don't create ordinary words in
this fashion.

Margaret G. Lee, Ph.D.
Professor of English & Linguistics
  and University Editor
Department of English
Hampton University, Hampton, VA 23668
margaret.lee at   or   mlee303 at

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