[Ads-l] _onry_ [< ornery < ordinary] "of man or beast: mean, nasty, angry, cruel, crude, unpleasant, dangerous, " etc..

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Wed Aug 17 01:37:00 UTC 2016

On Tue, Aug 16, 2016 at 10:56 AM, Neal Whitman <nwhitman at ameritech.net>

> A white girl on my high-school debate team in Houston, Texas, pronounced
> "ornery" as "onry".

That was probably the only pronunciation that she'd ever heard. In the ETX
BE, of the '40's and '50's, you heard "onry" dozens of times a day. In StL
and in L.A., it was just common enough to keep me from deciding that it was
only "country" speech. It was a kind of "clean obscenity." It had to be
clear that you were just kidding, because of the word's strongly-negative
connotations. OTOH, it was "clean" enough that "nice girls" could use it
without skinking/skanking themselves.

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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

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