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Grammar Nazi
Posted: 12 June 2008 05:02 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I read this in a post on the James Randi Educational Forum site where the poster said he didn’t want to appear one and then pointed out a grammatical error in an email in the main commentary which led to it meaning the opposite of what was intended. It was done entirely without malice I should add. It was the first time I’d heard this expression but googling showed lots of examples including a blogger who calls himself that and there is a good account of Grammar Nazi with variations here: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Transwiki:Grammar_Nazi
There is no citation for first known use, however, because it is so new and an online insult.  I’m guessing it is adapted from the Soup Nazi in a Seinfeld episode unless anyone knows earlier ‘----- Nazi’ appellations. Would you say it is offensive? I suppose Jerry got away with Soup Nazi because he is edgy and very funny, and being Jewish must help!

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Posted: 12 June 2008 05:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The Soup Nazi episode first aired on November 2, 1995.

Here’s a cite from Google Groups dated March 29, 1991.

Wow! Someone is being a Grammar Nazi and attacking me, rather than
me being a Grammar Nazi and attacking someone else! Except for on a
local forum (where someone said I was being grammatically incorrect in one
of my Grammar Nazi attacks), I think this is a first!

So it’s earlier than the Seinfeld episode.

[ Edited: 12 June 2008 05:40 AM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 12 June 2008 05:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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"____ Nazi” is a somewhat productive form that is used in a variety of compounds referring to a person who is enforcing rules in a particular subject or discipline.

I first encountered it as “safety Nazi,” someone who, for example, won’t let you ride a bike without a helmet, sometime around 1991.

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Posted: 12 June 2008 08:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Like Dave, I think I first heard the extended sense in the phrase “Safety Nazi”, which the online OED (in a draft revision for “Nazi”, updated this month) cites from 1982.  The also show “Aerobics Nazi” from 1995.  “Soup Nazi” was another example of this usage, but, as aldi has already shown, not the origin.

(The OED’s definition of the sense is ”hyperbolically. A person who is perceived to be authoritarian, autocratic, or inflexible; one who seeks to impose his or her views upon others. Usu. derogatory.

[ Edited: 12 June 2008 08:51 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 12 June 2008 01:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Wow. I looked in the OED for safety nazi before I posted and completely missed that. Serves me right for posting before I’ve had my morning coffee.

Strangely, an advanced search for “safety nazi” returns no results, but “safety nazis” returns that 1982 citation.

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Posted: 27 June 2008 02:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I thought of Femi-Nazis, looked around and came up with this from Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminazi

“A term similar to feminazi was coined earlier as the name of the male-hating female inhabitants of the fictional planet, Femnaz, in a Legion of Super-heroes story from a 1964 issue of Adventure Comics written by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel. {18}

[18] ^ Chris Sims (2006). Revolt of the Girl Legionnaires. Prism Comics. Retrieved on 2008-05-31.
Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feminazi”

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Posted: 27 June 2008 11:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Good find! And it’s a joy to see you again, rebbe.

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Posted: 29 June 2008 02:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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venomousbede - 12 June 2008 05:02 AM

It was the first time I’d heard this expression but googling showed lots of examples including a blogger who calls himself that and there is a good account of Grammar Nazi with variations here: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Transwiki:Grammar_Nazi
There is no citation for first known use, however, because it is so new and an online insult.

Not so sure about the insulting nature of the term, my googling turned up many who were happy to refer to themselves as grammar nazis, including this one :

<thomas_adam> mwilson is the only person I know that manages to use ‘idiot’ as a noun. :)
* thomas_adam laughs
<ricky_clarkson> thomas_adam: idiot *is* a noun.
<mwilson> It IS a noun.
<initech> thomas_adam: err .. it is a noun
<Guerin> thomas_adam: how else does one use it?
* thomas_adam laughs—no no, nevermind. :)
<Guerin> we have been trolled, fellow grammar nazis

BTW, should terms like “grammar nazi” be capitalised?

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Posted: 29 June 2008 06:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I would think not, because it’s not referring to the original Nazi Party but using “nazi” in a much milder extended sense ("someone who is very picky about something").  Presumably those who refer to themselves as “grammar nazis” don’t want you thinking about Hitler.

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Posted: 29 June 2008 07:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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languagehat - 29 June 2008 06:31 AM

I would think not, because it’s not referring to the original Nazi Party but using “nazi” in a much milder extended sense ("someone who is very picky about something").

Has this meaning of nazi got as far as the OED?

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Posted: 29 June 2008 08:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Yes (since that entry was just revised this month):

hyperbolically. A person who is perceived to be authoritarian, autocratic, or inflexible; one who seeks to impose his or her views upon others. Usu. derogatory.
1982 P. J. O’ROURKE in Inquiry 15 Mar. 8/3 The Safety Nazis advocate gun control, vigorous exercise, and health foods. 1995 Independent 3 Nov. (Suppl.) 8/2 According to Hutchins, current fitness theory is peddled by ‘nazis’. Aerobics Nazis. 2000 Minx Aug. 71/2, I learned to be more open and not such a Nazi in the studio.

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Posted: 29 June 2008 08:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Maybe not quite the same sense, but it ascribes the characteristics of nazism to others: OED again:

2b

2. Intensely racist (esp. anti-Semitic), intolerant, or right-wing.
...
1973 Guardian 29 Mar. 16/4 ‘Nazi’ has become an indiscriminate political cliché applied to insensitive bureaucrats, Americans in Vietnam, IRA Provos, British paras in Ulster, Black September, Zionists, et al.

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Posted: 08 July 2008 07:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Oddly we never hear of health-nazi although health-fascism abounds.

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Posted: 08 July 2008 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Actually, the company I work for recently gave us the option of a small monetary benefit in exchange for our undertaking to talk with a “wellness coach” for a few sessions. When talking with colleagues I referred to mine as my “wellness nazi.”

When the benefit was first offered, several people opted out for a number of reasons. I gladly accepted, though, pointing out that there was a word for people like me who for money will do things they might not otherwise do.

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Posted: 15 July 2008 12:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Two other variations:
“Audio Nazi” - a tetrapyloctomist who claims he or she can discern sounds inaudible to even the most acute of canines and spends a small fortune to purchase a turntable cartridge handmade by some reclusive old geezer who lives in the highlands.
“Cigar Nazi” will not smoke a cigar unless it has been aged for a couple of years in a humidor, and unless the weather is sufficienrly not humid.

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Posted: 28 July 2008 07:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I’ve much more commonly come across the ‘-nazi’ additions listed above as ‘-fascist/ism’. As in ‘style fascist’.

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