[Ads-l] ratchet < wretched

Benjamin Barrett mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 26 13:03:46 EDT 2016

Boosie Badazz released a song “Do tha Ratchet” in 2006 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boosie_Badazz_discography <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boosie_Badazz_discography>, lyrics: http://bit.ly/2eMhDRe <http://bit.ly/2eMhDRe>).

According to The Professor The (http://bit.ly/2f7NxuZ <http://bit.ly/2f7NxuZ>), the word is a ghettoized form of “wretched,” i.e., unhappy, very bad, poor in quality. This meaning of “ghettoize” is not in the online Oxford Dictionaries (http://bit.ly/2ebf2Pm <http://bit.ly/2ebf2Pm>).

According to stupidniggerskerritpussclot81 (http://bit.ly/1iarDmu <http://bit.ly/1iarDmu>), a ratchet is a diva that has reason to think she’s hot but that is also wrong.

JonPae (http://bit.ly/2ebgpxp <http://bit.ly/2ebgpxp>) provides a fascinating definition that gets to the emotive content of the word: 

Basically Ratchet is a term for someone who is such a ghetto/slutty/ugly/trashy hot mess that you have to use a word that doesn't even technically apply because what you are seeing is such a mess that it goes beyond any normal description.

Urban dictionary has 183 definitions. I didn’t look past the first page.

This word is in Wiktionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ratchet <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ratchet>) but not the online Oxford Dictionaries.

AFAIK, I had never heard this word before. The word evidently still has currency because the Hudson Brothers (http://bit.ly/2fg4YIW <http://bit.ly/2fg4YIW>) used it in an America’s Got Talent comedy act in 2014.

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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