"catfishing"--early WOTY candidate?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu Jan 17 15:33:55 UTC 2013

More on the etymology of "catfish(ing)", from the wiki entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catfish:_The_TV_Show) on the reality MTV show deriving from the eponymous movie:
"They used to tank cod from Alaska all the way to China. They'd keep them in vats in the ship. By the time the codfish reached China, the flesh was mush and tasteless. So this guy came up with the idea that if you put these cods in these big vats, put some catfish in with them and the catfish will keep the cod agile. And there are those people who are catfish in life. And they keep you on your toes. They keep you guessing, they keep you thinking, they keep you fresh. And I thank god for the catfish because we would be droll, boring and dull if we didn't have somebody nipping at our fin." -from Catfish

Where the term "catfish" originated and why it's used to describe people

To modify a previous claim in one of my posts:  while there is indeed no relevant entry on urbandictionary for a verb or noun "catfish", there is in fact an entry for "catfished", from May 2011:

Being deceived over facebook as the deceiver professed their romantic feelings to his/her victim, but isn't who they say they are.
Having a fake facebook profile, images and avatar in order to lure people to have romantic feelings. They are then catfished when the victim realises the person they have falled for via facebook is not who they APPEAR to be


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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