[Ads-l] "bugger"

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Wed Jul 13 16:58:55 UTC 2016

1.  Wilson Gray said that in St. Louis "bugger" is pronounced with the vowel of "book".
Question:  how are one be sure that the word indeed is "bugger" ("sodomite") and not "booger" ("nasal mucus") or "boogie"?

2.  Are there other words in St. Louis where the "short u" has been replaced with the vowel of "book"?

Alternatively, St. Louis was founded by the French and I would not be surprised to learn that early in the Louisiana Purchase a fair number of African-Americans came there from French-speaking New Orleans.  Is it possible that the word in question is the French version of "bugger" which has retained an approximation of the French pronunciation?

3.  It seems to me that just about every derogatory term for a person (even the N-word) is used, in certain times and places, as an endearment.  For example the old joke:
Midget (to prostitute): "What would you say to a little fuck?
Prostitute: "Hello, little fuck"

Is there a term for this process?  Or am I imagining things?

- Jim Landau

Netscape.  Just the Net You Need.

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

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