[Ads-l] rude: noisy? frolicksome?

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Mon Sep 25 01:47:59 UTC 2017

On Sun, Sep 24, 2017 at 6:22 PM, Jim Parish <jparish at siue.edu> wrote:

> Wilson Gray wrote:
>> The senses of “rude” as applied to human behavior are, I think, all
>> negative.
>> Except in BE slang , of course, wherein, like “hard,” It’s a synonym of
>> “bad.” “Rude”and “hard”In the sense of “bad” go so far back that I don’t
>> know f’ sho’ where I first heard them. The time-frame is between 1945 and
>> 1950, though.
> What does it mean in the title of Desmond Dekker's "Rude Boy Train"? (I
> love the sound of his voice, but I very rarely understand what he's saying.)

OED3 (Mar. 2011 update), under "rude":

_rude boy_  n.  (a) (orig. and chiefly Jamaican) any of a class of
unemployed black youths inhabiting the poorer areas of Jamaica and
typically seen as indolent and apt to commit petty crimes; a comparable
youth in another society;  (b) (with reference to such youths as a frequent
subject of ska lyrics) a member of the subculture associated with ska, esp.
in Britain.

1967   _Caribbean Q._ Sept. 39   Rude bwoy is that person, native, who is
totally disenchanted with the ruling system; who generally is descended
from the ‘African’ elements in the lower class... Rude bwoys are largely
centred in those urban areas that suffer from chronic depression.

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

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