Jesse Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Wed Jan 30 20:16:31 UTC 2008

On Wed, Jan 30, 2008 at 07:49:31PM -0000, Michael Quinion wrote:
> In Bill Mullins's note, he used the word "classless". To me, perhaps from
> a surfeit of British preoccupations with class, that means a person who
> does not belong to any particular social class. He's obviously using to
> mean a person who lacks class. So far as I know, this won't work in
> British English, but is it a common US form?

Yes, quite.

My favorite such use is in the Sopranos episode
"Commendatori", when they're in Naples being served this
absolutely incredible meal, and Paulie asks the Italians for
some "gravy--you know, red sauce," and one Italian says to the
other something that's subtitled, "And you thought the
_Germans_ were classless pieces of shit."

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society -

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