HD: 1991 Words
Posted: 28 June 2012 03:20 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Carjackings, ethnic cleansing, and Godwin’s law

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Posted: 28 June 2012 03:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’d go with Ötzi rather than Otzi for the iceman.

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Posted: 28 June 2012 07:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Energizer bunny

Not sure if this is just me, but on the UK side of the atlantic I thought it was mostly “Duracel bunny”.  Anyone else heard it that way?

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Posted: 28 June 2012 07:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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dap, n. The “Among the New Words” column in American Speech has a citation from 1991, but the Historical Dictionary of American Slang takes the word back to 1972. In African-American slang a dap is a fist bump.

I can understand why you cite OED entries from the year the OED first has them, but I’m puzzled why you would include this under 1991 when the OED doesn’t have it and it clearly goes back much earlier.

ethnic cleansing, n. The civil wars in the former Yugoslavia gave us this term. It’s a calque of the Serbo-Croatian etničko čisčénje.

The accents have gotten out of whack on čisčénje; the first one’s OK, but the succeeding haček should be on the s, and the acute accent should be on the c: čišćenje.

I’d go with Ötzi rather than Otzi for the iceman.

That is, of course, your prerogative, but normal English-language usage omits the umlaut.

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Posted: 28 June 2012 09:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Not sure if this is just me, but on the UK side of the atlantic I thought it was mostly “Duracel bunny”.

Apparently Duracell was using a pink rabbit first, but let the trademark lapse in the US (says Wikipedia, but without citation), and Energizer trademarked its own pink rabbit (with sunglasses and a drum) in the US, originally as a parody of the Duracell bunny.  I’m not sure if Duracell used its bunny symbol much in the US, but if they did, it’s pretty well forgotten, and the pink rabbit is now definitely associated with Energizer here.

Wikipedia confirms that “Duracell bunny” is common in Europe.

[ Edited: 28 June 2012 09:33 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 28 June 2012 10:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Bunnies again.
The main .com websites for both companies show a pink rabbit, but more prominent on the Duracell site (Duracell claim their bunny is 16 years older)!  Wonder how all that works out with trademarks?  Must be a complete warren of potential litigation…
And this is one case that will keep on going.

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Posted: 28 June 2012 11:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Oh yeah, I’d forgotten all about the Duracell bunnies.  But in the U.S., as I now recall, Duracell’s original commercials featured a number of little battery-powered mechanical bunnies drumming away on little drums.  A time lapse showed the bunnies one by one slowing down and stopping.  The last bunny drumming was of course powered by Duracell.  A while later, Energizer brought out their own commercial with a BIG pink bunny pounding away on a bass drum and wearing sunglasses, marching in and kicking the little pink bunnies out of the way.  The voice-over said that in Duracell’s original test, Energizer hadn’t been invited.  Duracell’s bunnies were generic and didn’t have the personality and sunglasses of the Energizer version.

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Posted: 28 June 2012 04:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I can understand why you cite OED entries from the year the OED first has them, but I’m puzzled why you would include this under 1991 when the OED doesn’t have it and it clearly goes back much earlier.

As I said, the number of new entries per year declines drastically after 1989, so I’m supplementing them with ones from “Among the New Words.” As with the OED entries, I include them even though they may be antedated because I intend to go back and edit all these, putting them in the year for the first citation that I can find. This one is really a reminder to me to add this to 1972.

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Posted: 29 June 2012 09:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I’ve heard the phrase “keep it on the down low” a lot, and I’ve never heard it used with any connotation of homosexuality.  I first remembering hearing the phrase in the movie “old school”: Will Ferrel is modifying his car and tells his wife to keep it on the down low since its not exactly street legal (or something like that).  The phrase obviously does not have any sort of sexual connotation in that line.

I wonder if I am alone in being oblivious to the switch in usage from a general sense of “secretive” to a specific sense of secretive homosexual activity.  As far as I can tell, the shift towards it specifically connoting secretive gay sex arose in the African American culture, just as the term “down low” arose there in the first place (this is a bit of a WAG, but not entirely: I am inferring this from a review of several websites that didn’t come right out and say this but that seemed to imply it).  My further WAG would be that non-African Americans are beginning to catch on in the shift in meaning but many are still oblivious to it, just as I was until reading this entry.

Also, as far as I can tell, the phrase is still used in the broader sense of keeping (anything) secret, but the newer sense seems to have largely overpowered the older sense, at least among those who are familiar with the new sense of the term.  Of course, context, as aleays, is important, and I doubt anybody who heard the line from “Old School” would think that Will Ferrel is, for some reason, referencing secretive gay sex.  But, for those who are aware of the newer sense of the term, it seems to be the “default” sense in which it used, unless the context clearly demonstrates otherwise.

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Posted: 29 June 2012 11:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I have heard the homosexual usage. The first time I came across it was on an episode of Law & Order: SVU where the plot involved four African-American males who met together for sex with each other. Ice-T’s character explained to the other detectives, who were not familiar with the practice, that such casual male-on-male sexual liaisons between African-American men were known as on the down-low and the participants considered themselves red-blooded heterosexuals all. Ice-T’s expression while explaining made it clear that this opinion was not generally shared by all African-Americans.

[ Edited: 29 June 2012 11:22 AM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 29 June 2012 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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The down low is also known as the DL.  Not to be confused with the DL in Major League Baseball, which is the Disabled List.

http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/30/messages/2258.html

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