slur
Posted: 26 September 2007 12:53 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Does the musical term “slur” (the curved line connecting many notes) have the same origin as the homonym meaning “insult”?

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Posted: 26 September 2007 06:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Well, according to the Random House Unabridged dictionary, the word ‘slur’ has both divergent senses and multiple sources. You may very well be onto something.

I thought about your question, and I think you may be right. The word ‘smear’ comes to mind as well. A person inclined to use slurs would intend to take away what makes someone else special, and instead call attention to something that is wrong with them.

That is a very good point. For example, there is a word that means ‘black’, that comes from a word in a different language that too means ‘black’, and is somehow used to hurt black people’s feelings.

If that makes sense to you then I don’t want to live in the White House.

[ Edited: 26 September 2007 06:33 AM by eloisabachthani ]
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Posted: 26 September 2007 06:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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They’re different senses of the same word.

OED

slur, n,3

1. a. A deliberate slight; an expression or suggestion of disparagement or reproof.

4. Mus. A curved line placed over or under two or more notes of different degrees to show that they are to be played or sung smoothly and connectedly.

The etymology is obscure.

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Posted: 26 September 2007 06:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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etymonline suggests that they are of the same source(s):

“deliberate slight,” 1609, from dialectal slur “thin or fluid mud,” from M.E. slore (1440), cognate with M.L.G. sluren, M.Du. sloren ”to trail in mud.” Related to E.Fris. sluren “to go about carelessly,” Norw. slora “to be careless.” The musical sense (1746) is from the notion of “sliding.”

Emphasis mine.

edit: twice pipped.  But it might be good to note that the word for loose slippery mud, slurry is also in the mix.

[ Edited: 26 September 2007 06:38 AM by Oecolampadius ]
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Posted: 26 September 2007 10:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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That makes Dutch ‘sleuren’(to drag) a cognate, and also ‘sleur’ (drag n., also in the figurative sense) and ‘sloerie’ (tramp, slut).

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Posted: 28 September 2007 07:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thanks a bunch! How interesting.

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Posted: 28 September 2007 08:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Dutchtoo - 26 September 2007 10:48 PM

and ‘sloerie’ (tramp, slut).

Now that’s fascinating! Etymonline has this:

1402, “a dirty, slovenly, or untidy woman,” probably cognate with dialectal Ger. Schlutt “slovenly woman,” dialectal Swed. slata “idle woman, slut,” and Du. slodder “slut,” but the ultimate origin is doubtful. Chaucer uses sluttish (c.1386) in ref. to the appearance of an untidy man. Also “a kitchen maid, a drudge” (c.1450; hard pieces in a bread loaf from imperfect kneading were called slut’s pennies, 18c.). Meaning “woman of loose character, bold hussy” is attested from c.1450; playful use of the word, without implication of loose morals, is attested from 1664.

Wish it were more difinitive.

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Posted: 08 October 2007 09:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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A trombone ‘smear’ is a form of musical sliding, too.

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