The F-word
Posted: 05 November 2017 01:46 AM   [ Ignore ]
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That got your attention, didn’t it?

The F-word seems to have become so uncompromisingly politically incorrect that all sorts of other words are being used to circumvent it and you don’t see it written much. How many other ways are there of saying it and how many people have you seen recently described as fat?

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Posted: 05 November 2017 01:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Although there are plenty of alternative terms (as, I suppose, there always have been), _fat_ remains a very common word with this meaning. It’s an informal usage so I wouldn’t expect to read it in a formal news item or a journal article (except as a direct quote) but, otherwise, I encounter it all the time. 

Some recent examples from the newspapers:

28 October 2017
Over-protective parents are making kids miserable – and fat
https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/10/over-protective-parents-are-making-kids-miserable-and-fat/

10 June 2017
What is it about fat people and zoos?
https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/06/what-is-it-about-fat-people-and-zoos/

7 September 2017
Why I refuse to let my daughter be taught by a fat teacher
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4859606/Mother-refuses-let-daughter-taught-FAT-teacher.html

3rd February 2016
How fat do you need to be to make yourself bulletproof?
https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/news/276919/how-fat-do-you-need-to-be-to-make-yourself-bulletproof/

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Posted: 05 November 2017 04:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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ElizaD - 05 November 2017 01:46 AM

That got your attention, didn’t it?

The F-word seems to have become so uncompromisingly politically incorrect that all sorts of other words are being used to circumvent it and you don’t see it written much. How many other ways are there of saying it and how many people have you seen recently described as fat?

There are, at last count, at least a few dozen other ways to say fat.  Political correctitude be damned.  Years ago, I moderated a translation forum, and politically incorrect fat was the topic of an interesting discussion among folks from five or six Emglish speaking countries, together with some native speakers of other languages.  Summarizing the extended—or should I say distended? — arguments in favor of and against using euphemisms for fat, there were the pc faction militating against hurting feelings, and the direct speech proponents.  The former suggested many gentle alternatives, including husky, big-boned, portly, ample, large.  The latter said that all of those evoked the word fat in the mind of the reader or listener, so why not say fat?
I suggested a test of sorts:find a reasonably intelligent seven or eight year old.  Use each of the alternatives in a simple sentence describing a person.  Ask the child what the alternates meant in the sentence, or “What is being said about the _____ person?”
The child would, according to unanimous small sample test results, reply with the f-word.

Yesterday, power finally restored after six days of electron-free darkness in much of Maine, where we know the difference between weather and climate and have had more than our fair share of both lately, I ventured into town for sump pump repair parts.  I passed a local emporium that sells large, larger, and largest size women’s apparel.  It is named Women of Substance.  Local folks refer to it as ‘the fat shop’.

When I came here two decades ago, I heard a new euphemism for certain fat persons: Bee Em Double-u, or BMW.  Confused by the German automotive reference, which didn’t fit well with the context in which it was used, I enquired. Turns out it means Big Maine Woman.

[ Edited: 05 November 2017 01:20 PM by cuchuflete ]
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Posted: 05 November 2017 10:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Are obese and corpulent considered inappropriate?

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Posted: 05 November 2017 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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The former suggested many gentle alternatives, including husky, big-boned, portly, ample, large.  The latter said that all of those evoked the word fat in the mind of the reader or listener, so why not say fat?

Agreed. All that use of ‘alternatives’ will achieve is to trash the genuine meanings of words like husky, hefty, big-boned, stocky, et cetera.

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Posted: 05 November 2017 01:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Is “heavy-set” OK?

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Posted: 06 November 2017 02:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Or zaftig.

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Posted: 06 November 2017 06:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I agree, the more obvious the attempt to work round “fat”, the fatter the image becomes. When did it start to become a pejorative description? Interestingly, the OED has this to say about the etymology:

(fæt) Forms: 1 fǽt(t, 2–4 fet(t(e, south. vet(te, 3–7 fatt(e, 3 south. vat(te, (4 faat), 4– fat. [OE. fǽtt, corresp. to OFris. fat, MDu., Du., MLG. vet (mod.G. fett adopted from LG.), OHG. feiz̧z̧it (MHG. veiz̧et, veiz̧t, mod.G. feist):—OTeut. *faitido-, pa. pple. of *faitjan to fatten (OHG. veiz̧z̧en, ON. feita), f. *faito- adj. fat, represented by OS. feit, MHG. veiz̧, ON. feitr (Da. fed., Sw. fet); the existence of the primary adj. in OE. cannot be proved, as the form fæt in MSS. is prob. only a variant spelling of fǽtt.]

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Posted: 06 November 2017 09:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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These might be taken as compliments: Voluptuous, Rubenesque and then we have full-figured, which is becoming more popular in in the plus-size fashion market today.

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Posted: 06 November 2017 09:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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There’s junoesque, which is rather splendid. Though like a number of these words it is applicable only to women; there have historically been few complimentary ways to describe a fat man.

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Posted: 06 November 2017 09:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I’m not sure if the sense was as archaic when Wodehouse used it as it is now, but Jeeves once diplomatically described someone as a “gentleman of full habit.”

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