"Ignorant" = "rude" a Scotticism?

Page Stephens hpst at EARTHLINK.NET
Thu Jun 24 21:28:12 UTC 2004

Rude as a word has its origins as do so many words which are invidious, ie.
pagan, clown, villain, lout, bumpkin etc. in the distinction between town
and country.

I hate to suggest that this is a cultural universal but it is as close to
one as any I know.

Those who live in cities are civilized. Those who live outside them are rude
bumpkins, pagans, etc.

When I was growing up in southern Illinois back in the middle ages those of
us who lived in our small town used to use the word "farmer" in order to put
down those who lived on farms as per "He/she is only a fucking farmer."

Of course when we went on to college where we were the bumpkins the epithets
were passed on to us.

If anyone out there is able to discover even one single term of approbation
which is derived from a term which originally meant someone who worked a
farm -- estate owners excepted -- I would love to know about it.

Page Stephens

----- Original Message -----
From: "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2004 1:23 AM
Subject: "Ignorant" = "rude" a Scotticism?

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
> Subject:      "Ignorant" = "rude" a Scotticism?
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Here in Pittsburgh, "ignorant" is a word meaning
> "rude"/"impolite"/"ill-mannered". No, I don't mean in some borderline
> sense, like "ignorant of civilized norms" [although I suppose something
> like this was an ancestral/etymological sense] or "rude because of not
> knowing any better", I mean pretty much exactly synonymous with "rude" (as
> opposed to the usual "ignorant" = "not knowledgeable").
> This is not ethnically restricted as far as I can tell, and it does not go
> along with a condensed pronunciation like "iggernt" (which association is
> suggested in DARE). It is used in careful speech by educated persons
> without self-consciousness; it seems to be taken as a "normal, correct"
> I don't find this sense of "ignorant" in the conventional English
> dictionaries. I do find it in the Scots dictionaries.
> Perhaps this is another word which is shared by Scotland and Pittsburgh
> like "slippy" = "slippery" or "redd [up]" = "tidy [up]" or "rift" =
> Is "ignorant" = "rude" widespread in the US? If so, maybe it should be in
> the standard dictionaries.
> I note that in some contexts it may be difficult to tell whether or not
> word has its conventional meaning of "lacking knowledge". For example in
> "These ignorant people are always using bad language" one can't tell
> exactly what "ignorant" is supposed to mean. But in Pittsburgh (unlike
> other places AFAIK) one might say (without irony or oxymoron) "He knows
> just about everything, but I don't like to talk with him because he's so
> ignorant."
> Please excuse any undue ignorance on my part.
> -- Doug Wilson

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