Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2020 06:55 am
I always thought that fag was one of those words that has a different meaning depending on what side of the pond you’re on.

In America fag and faggot are derogatory terms for homosexual.

That’s not the case over here, a faggot is either a piece of firewood or a savoury dish made of pork liver and onions.

A fag is either a cigarette or a young boy at public schools who had to run errands for the older boys. I understand that practice has now been done away with, but not many of us can afford to go to public schools anyway.

Fagged out can also mean tired.

Like I said I always thought that was the case until today. I had a dental appointment so I took a book of Mark Twain’s short stories with me. I read The Notorious Jumping Frog Of Calaveras County, and Twain uses the phrase fag end like we do over here.

“ They used to give her two or three hundred yard’s start, and then pass her under way; but always at the fag end of the race she’d get excited and desperate like, and come cavorting and straddling up,”

I had to read it a few times to make sure, a fag is a cigarette, a fag end is what’s left after most of it has been smoked, there’s a few puffs left, but that’s about it.

The term fag end is used to describe the last few days, moments or quantity of something. December 2016 could be described as the fag end of Obama’s presidency, and Twain is using it in this context.

I just thought it might be of interest.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 381 • Replies: 19
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Frank Apisa
 
  -3  
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2020 08:36 am
@izzythepush,
When I was young, "fag" meant a cigarette. Never heard it used as a term for a homosexual until after high school. "Fairy" was the word most often used as a derogatory term for homosexual.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2020 08:38 am
Growing up in the Midwest and New England regions of the United States, "fag" was always an ugly slur for homosexual. There was no other use of the term.
hightor
 
  -4  
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2020 08:47 am
@maxdancona,
One of my childhood chores was to collect kindling wood and bundle it into "faggots", as my father referred to them. And yes, I remember cigarettes being referred to as "fags".

In German, the bassoon is called a "fagott" because it resembles a bundle of sticks.

The use of the term a "flaming faggot" to refer to a homosexual man is derived, I believe, from the history of gay men being tied to a stake, surrounded by flammable material, and burned alive.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  -4  
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2020 08:51 am
@Frank Apisa,
It’s strange how the term fell out of use there, but stayed the same here.

I remember a newsagent had a sign that said, Mags fags and rags, rag being a slang term for a local newspaper..
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  -4  
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2020 11:36 am
Another word I’ve noticed change is bum. I’ve started he hear the British meaning being used on programmes like Family Guy.

Another term for bum is to borrow or cadge something from someone. Something small like coin for the phone or a cigarette, hence the term bumming a fag, which always meant cadging a cigarette, now I’m not so sure. I don’t smoke anymore but even if I still did I’d avoid that phrase.
Sturgis
 
  -4  
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2020 02:00 pm
@izzythepush,
Here people bum smokes. Or ciggies. Or cigs. Or small amounts of money for a coffee and snack.

First time I hears 'faggot' was at a Methodist church summer camp. A guy named Freddy would go around saying "Faggot". None of us kids knew what it meant (didn't ask either, or search for the answer).


A number of years later I was reminded of him when the movie Freddy Got Fingered came out. Never saw it but the title gave me a laugh...why? Because Freddy was from the Finger Lakes region of New York State. (and possibly had the last name of Finger)


Fingered is another multi-definition word.


izzythepush
 
  -4  
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2020 02:13 pm
@Sturgis,
It’s got that meaning here too.
Frank Apisa
 
  -4  
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2020 02:24 pm
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:

It’s got that meaning here too.


If I remember correctly, you Brits had a different meaning from what we Yanks mean when you say, "I knocked her up this morning."
izzythepush
 
  -4  
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2020 02:56 pm
@Frank Apisa,
I think that’s quite old fashioned, I’ve not heard that said for a long time.
ekename
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2020 03:38 pm
Quote:
Fingered


I suspected that the conversation might eventually unravel into music.

0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  -4  
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2020 03:40 pm
@Sturgis,
In Newcastle they call cigarettes tabs. It’s the only place I’ve known them called that.
Sturgis
 
  -4  
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2020 03:48 pm
@izzythepush,
In many prisons they're known and used as cash (or so I have heard)
izzythepush
 
  -4  
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2020 03:51 pm
@Sturgis,
In UK prisons it’s called snout.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Oct, 2020 04:07 pm
I am curious if the use of the word "fag" as a homophobic slur is regional, or generational. I was looking around a bit. The use as a slur is definitely American. I thought it was more widespread. When I was growing up it was used to insult boys for unmanly behavior.

This is from Alice's Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie, from 1967

Quote:
Walk into the shrink wherever you are, just walk in, say, "Shrink, you
Can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant", and walk out

You know, if one person, just one person, does it, they may think he's Really sick and they won't take him

And if two people do it, in harmony, they may think they're both faggots and They won't take either of them

And if three people do it! Can you imagine three people walkin' in, singin' A bar of "Alice's Restaurant" and walkin' out? They may think it's an
Organization!

And can you imagine fifty people a day? I said FIFTY people a day
Walkin' in, singin' a bar of "Alice's Restaurant" and walkin' out? Friends
They may think it's a Movement, and that's what it is THE Alices's
Restaurant anti-massacre movement! And all you gotta do to join is to
Sing it the next time it comes around on the guitar

0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Oct, 2020 06:10 am
@izzythepush,
As far as the Mark Twain where "fag" means much different in the US then than now - so do many uses of a word. Slang changes almost daily - think of words that are used now in slang ... "snatched" is a new one - used as a compliment - I think it means much different than just a few years ago.

And similar across the pond - and you mentioned that fag meant something different in one area than any where else. It is like that in the US as well - tonic in new england is different than anywhere else in the country, for example. It seems we call different dairy/ice cream beverages differently through out the country as well - a milk shake will have different ingredients depending on what part of the US you are ordering.

As far as word meanings throughout the years - read a classic from authors in your country - like Twain you will find lots of words or phases that would have a heck of a difference in meaning if you were to use them today in a conversation with your neighbor.

You are correct though it is quite interesting the difference a simple word can be whether it was a couple of hundred years ago - or miles apart.

I do still remember as a young adult - at a gathering at a friend's apartment with a couple of new friends that were recent transplants from Ireland - playing some sort of board game. The look on our faces when one of these Irish guys stood up and declared - I'm going to go outside and grab me a fag!

0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  -4  
Reply Fri 30 Oct, 2020 06:50 am
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:

I think that’s quite old fashioned, I’ve not heard that said for a long time.


Well, I was stationed over there all the way back in the mid 1950's, It seemed to be in style then. Obviously we used to laugh when a bloke friend used it...which was relatively often.

Perhaps it lessened in use since.

"Bloke" was the word we all used to refer to Brits...both men and women. "He's dating a bloke" used by a Yank in the hearing of a Brit...often got a double whammy response!
izzythepush
 
  -3  
Reply Fri 30 Oct, 2020 07:08 am
@Frank Apisa,
Knocked up has two meanings, the first is very old and dates back to the industrial revolution. Factory workers all tended to live in the same street and a ‘knocker’ was employed to go down the street knocking on the bedroom windows with a long stick. That would get them up and ready for work.

The other meaning is to get someone pregnant, not just have sex but get them pregnant. So you wouldn’t say you knocked someone up that morning because it would be too soon to tell, you might say you knocked them up three months ago.

Btw Max, I didn’t intend this thread to be a list of derogatory terms for homosexuals, but a discussion about American and English vernacular.
Frank Apisa
 
  -4  
Reply Fri 30 Oct, 2020 07:54 am
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:

Knocked up has two meanings, the first is very old and dates back to the industrial revolution. Factory workers all tended to live in the same street and a ‘knocker’ was employed to go down the street knocking on the bedroom windows with a long stick. That would get them up and ready for work.

The other meaning is to get someone pregnant, not just have sex but get them pregnant. So you wouldn’t say you knocked someone up that morning because it would be too soon to tell, you might say you knocked them up three months ago.

Btw Max, I didn’t intend this thread to be a list of derogatory terms for homosexuals, but a discussion about American and English vernacular.



Obviously it has two meanings. That was my point in bringing it up in this excellent thread, Izzy.

All I can tell you is that when I was serving over there, the expression "I'll knock you up in the morning" (or a variant) was used often enough for us to kid about. I am not saying it was used every day...but it was used often...and since we Yanks never used it in that way, we laughed about it. It was all good-natured fun.

That is my only point. I was not suggesting that I was in England during the Industrial Revolution.
0 Replies
 
ander111
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Nov, 2020 02:23 am
@izzythepush,
It's of interest to people interested in word history, but that's about it. Since it's widely recognized as a derogatory term (which began as early as 1914, according to Wikipedia), it can't be used in the States in any other way without negative associations.
0 Replies
 
 

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