more on fa-word

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun May 29 18:25:00 UTC 2011

At 1:50 PM -0400 5/29/11, David Barnhart wrote:
>I found _fa' word_, _fag-word_, and _fag word_, too.
>>>  Date:         Sat, 28 May 2011 18:21:02 -0400
>>>  Reply-To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>>  Sender: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>>  From: David Barnhart <dbarnhart at HIGHLANDS.COM>
>>>  Subject:      Fa-word: encountered in NPR news today
>>>  In April, basketball superstar Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers was
>>>  fined $100,000 by the NBA for calling a referee the Fa-word.  In
>>>May, Joakim
>>>  Noah of the Chicago Bulls was fined $50,000 by the league for hurling the
>>>  anti-gay slur at a fan.

Fa-word has the wrong vowel (looks like it's used for contrasting
with "Sol-word" or "La-Ti-Do" word), and fag-word is, well, not
exactly euphemistic, which I thought was the whole point.  I'd opt
for f-g word, although it's hard to pronounce.

I was also thinking back to the brouhaha discussed here (and
elsewhere) over the episode in the '90s when then Majority Leader
Dick Armey (R-Tex.) accidentally[!] referred to his (gay) House
colleague Barney Frank (D-Mass.) as "Barney Fag" and explained
afterward (not entirely persuasively) that it was a simple slip of
the tongue. Perhaps Kobe Bryant and Joakim Noah could have avoided
their 6- and 5-figure fines by explaining that they had intended to
call the respective referee and fan a "Frank", thus alluding to their
targets' corpulence resulting from their over-fondness for hot dogs,
but they then suffered that same well-established innocent lapsus


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