Phat [was Re: gay/ghey/ghay]

Wed Jun 2 13:26:05 UTC 2004

        And once again, Barry just can't get any respect!  As he posted on 5/1/02, a fuller version of the 1756 OED cite is:  "The people of the country call it _Pompernickel_ (OED STOPS HERE!!--ed.), which is only a corruption of a _French_ name given it by a gentleman of that nation, who passed through this country.  It is reported, that when this coarse bread was brought to table, hye looked at it and said, _Qu'il etoit bon pour_ Nickel, _That it was good for_ Nickel, which was the name of his horse.  Those, however, who are used to it, are strong and robust..."

        I disagree with the claim that the age of an explanation is irrelevant to its actual etymology.  I believe that there is good reason to think that the oldest exlanations are the most significant and the most likely to be accurate, though of course there are many examples, of which "pumpernickel" is one, where even an extremely early explanation is simply wrong.  The likelihood of an explanation's survival is an entirely different matter, one that seemingly has no relationship to the explanation's accuracy, unless it is a negative one.

        I don't really want to be in the position of defending an acronymic origin of "phat(t)."  However, what do you make of "snafu," which is known to have an acronymic origin?  (Can anyone think of any other nontechnical terms - not initialisms like "TGIF" -  that have acronymic origins?)

John Baker

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