[Ads-l] "Bugger"

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jul 11 18:54:50 UTC 2016

On Mon, Jul 11, 2016 at 1:53 PM, Yagoda, Ben <byagoda at udel.edu> wrote:

> Does anyone have any insight, citations, or data concerning American
> non-profane use of “bugger” (noun), as a mildly affectionate, mildly
> derisive diminutive, term, something like “rascal”? It goes pretty far
> back. In The American Language, (I’m quoting from 4th edition, 1936),
> Mencken writes, “When I was a small boy my father used it often, as an
> affectionate term for any young male, and if it shows any flavor of
> impropriety today, the fact must be due to British influence.”
> In Edward Albee’s play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962), George and
> Martha’s never-seen child is often referred to as “the bugger” or “the
> little bugger.”

 Completely ordinary and commonplace in BE, but the vowel is *always* the
_oo_ of "book." Indeed, if anyone wants to claim, because of this
distinction, that any resemblance between the two is purely coincidental, I
see no reason not to accept that.

As a smaller, fellow- hamburger once said, looking up at me to me as we
found ourselves sharing the facility in the Abort of some GI bar,

"Da-a-mn, ma-a-n! You's a *big* booga!"

And I've gained fifty pounds since those days.
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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