Wednesday, February 23, 2005

When "tank top" just won't cut it

I really enjoyed this piece in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about wife-beaters. It's a pretty thoughtful look at the etymology and cultural taboos of the word. And it's not preachy, thank God. And why all the fuss?
Newspapers have been claiming since 2003 that "wife-beater's" inclusion in the OED is imminent. But in its February issue, GQ -- a magazine that oughta know its men's fashion terms -- swears the word will be added next month in the OED's quarterly online update.
And my favorite OED employee, Jesse Sheidlower, makes an appearance, talking about a dictionary's job to reflect the language, not police it.

(Link via Bookslut)


At 3:05 AM, February 24, 2005, Blogger The Grammarian said...

I'm not so terribly opposed to the word "wife beater," but the garment itself offends me just a tad. Especially in white and flying solo. *shudder*

At 5:11 AM, February 24, 2005, Blogger Bill said...

As these things go, you have to admit it's a pretty clever coinage.

At 7:12 AM, blanp said ...

***No, I don't.***

At 9:08 AM, February 24, 2005, Blogger Nicole said...

Love it!

I still watch where I say "wife-beater," given the possibility to offend. But maybe the number of people it's offending is growing smaller.

At 3:13 PM, February 24, 2005, Blogger Peter Fisk said...

That almost sounds like a "social comfort" concern, Nicole.

At 5:43 PM, February 24, 2005, Blogger Neil Barbour said...

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