The meaning of the word ''b***h''

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edgewaters
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09 May 2012, 2:51 pm

I'm really unclear on the possessive use ... usually it implies submission but the younger generation seems to be starting to use it in ways I don't fully understand. It's either really disturbing, or quite egalitarian. Can't tell.



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09 May 2012, 3:04 pm

Well, can't really believe he used it in a respectful manner. Maybe it's just me. My bf said that New Zealand people are ''rude'' in the eyes of people of many other cultures. (not intending to insult anyone) I don't like the guy anymore anyway :? He's so full of himself, and bragging about how he publically humiliated people who said something he thinks is stupid. But that's a different subject.

Downside: I'll probably see him a lot, and I can stand him less than before, because of the things I just mentioned, and I even really dislike his face. I don't dislike many faces, but his I do. And I need to stay friendly and all, but I find him more and more annoying.



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09 May 2012, 3:08 pm

edgewaters wrote:
I'm really unclear on the possessive use ... usually it implies submission but the younger generation seems to be starting to use it in ways I don't fully understand. It's either really disturbing, or quite egalitarian. Can't tell.

I'm kind of confused by my generation's use of the word too. I also think it's kind of strange that when someone says that something is "the s***" it means that they think it's awesome. I could be wrong about my interpretation of the word in the context "where's your b***h", but my first impression is that he was using it in a derogatory way. I get confused when people use words that are generally used as insults to mean something else.



Chipshorter
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09 May 2012, 3:12 pm

DogsWithoutHorses wrote:
persian85033 wrote:
It's the term used for a female dog, just as hen is a female chicken, or queen a female cat.


That doesn't reflect common modern usage though.


No, it is still used to describe canine gender in its modem usage. In its slang usage it can been seen as an insult.
Both meaning of the word are not modern, the canine gender meaning been around since the 11th century and the insult from the 15th century.

The Etymology of the word b***h

Anyway Shakespeare used the word in its insult form in both Troilus and Cressida and King Lear!


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DogsWithoutHorses
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09 May 2012, 3:17 pm

Chipshorter wrote:
DogsWithoutHorses wrote:
persian85033 wrote:
It's the term used for a female dog, just as hen is a female chicken, or queen a female cat.


That doesn't reflect common modern usage though.


No, it is still used to describe canine gender in its modem usage. In its slang usage it can been seen as an insult.
Both meaning of the word are not modern, the canine gender meaning been around since the 11th century and the insult from the 15th century.

The Etymology of the word b***h

Anyway Shakespeare used the word in its insult form in both Troilus and Cressida and King Lear!


Not that the origin is modern, but that it's common modern usage of the word. If you hear it casually 8/10 it's meant as a swear.


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09 May 2012, 3:22 pm

VMSmith wrote:
people in australia use that word casually? no. they dont.


Kjas wrote:
I have never heard an Aussie or a Kiwi use that word except for when it was intented as an insult in the entire time that I have lived here.


I have heard it plenty. Maybe I hang around bogans too much? :shrug:



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09 May 2012, 5:53 pm

It means female dog!
If you ever watch or go to a dog show they still use the word with its true meaning.


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Declension
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09 May 2012, 6:08 pm

There was a thread a while back where I was surprised that somebody was annoyed at Jenny McCarthy being called a "b***h". They seemed to think that it is an inherently misogynistic term. At the time, I thought that they were some sort of overzealous feminist, but maybe it really was just a cultural difference.

In my experience of New Zealanders using the word, it is a mild insult which is roughly the female equivalent of "bastard". Although of course it can be a much more severe insult depending on your tone of voice. It is far more commonly used by women than by men. Example of mild use: "Oh come on, don't be such a b***h, Anna, I promise I'll pay you back!" Example of severe use: "Anna, you... B***H! I'll kill you!" I have never heard it used to mean "girlfriend", except in an extremely jokey, pretending-to-be-a-black-American tone.



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09 May 2012, 8:52 pm

^^ Interesting

Here it is used as a sometimes mild but mainly moderate insult, and I almost always hear men using morre than women.

They usually use it to mean whore, slut etc. Occasionally they use it to mean she is mean or a control freak, but that seems to be the secondary useage.


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Declension
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09 May 2012, 9:01 pm

Kjas wrote:
it is used as a sometimes mild but mainly moderate insult, and I almost always hear men using morre than women.


I'm pretty sure that I hear more women using the word casually than men. But come to think of it, maybe this is because only women are allowed to use the word casually, without any possible implication of misogyny.

It's certainly possible that it is commonly used by men, but I just don't move in the right circles to discover this. I don't think that I know many people, male or female, who would use "b***h" very often. So my data is mostly just overhearing people. And I often overhear women talking about how such-and-such a friend is being a total b***h.

Kjas wrote:
They usually use it to mean whore, slut etc. Occasionally they use it to mean she is mean or a control freak, but that seems to be the secondary useage.


This seems bizarre to me. To my mind, "b***h" and "slut" are totally orthogonal insults, maybe even opposites in some sense. I can imagine a misogynist saying "I tried it on with Anna, because I was told that she's a slut. But it turns out that she's a b***h."



Last edited by Declension on 09 May 2012, 9:14 pm, edited 4 times in total.

SpiritBlooms
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09 May 2012, 9:07 pm

CockneyRebel wrote:
If you call a woman a b***h, it qualifies as an insult.

If you call a female dog a b***h, it doesn't qualify as an insult.
Exactly.



Last edited by SpiritBlooms on 10 May 2012, 12:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kjas
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09 May 2012, 10:23 pm

Declension wrote:
This seems bizarre to me. To my mind, "b***h" and "slut" are totally orthogonal insults, maybe even opposites in some sense. I can imagine a misogynist saying "I tried it on with Anna, because I was told that she's a slut. But it turns out that she's a b***h."


Yes, well, the term b**** was originally intended to degrade a woman based on the assumption that she is good for nothing except f***ing, so the original intent was akin to slut or whore.

Nowdays it is more widely used to refer to someone in sense they are mean or disagreeable, like you have stated which is why the younger generations seem to use the secondary definiation more.It has been catching on for a while now and I expect it will overtake the orginal definition if it hasn't started to already.


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09 May 2012, 10:26 pm

Well it's either a female dog or a whiny chick with quite a narcissistic way about her.


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09 May 2012, 10:33 pm

Or a depersonalized, submissive sex object. (Snoop Dog albums etc.)



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10 May 2012, 5:54 am

Kjas wrote:
Declension wrote:
This seems bizarre to me. To my mind, "b***h" and "slut" are totally orthogonal insults, maybe even opposites in some sense. I can imagine a misogynist saying "I tried it on with Anna, because I was told that she's a slut. But it turns out that she's a b***h."


Yes, well, the term b**** was originally intended to degrade a woman based on the assumption that she is good for nothing except f***ing, so the original intent was akin to slut or whore.

Nowdays it is more widely used to refer to someone in sense they are mean or disagreeable, like you have stated which is why the younger generations seem to use the secondary definiation more.It has been catching on for a while now and I expect it will overtake the orginal definition if it hasn't started to already.


True, tho I think the word was used as an insult by linking women with the goddess Diana (Artemis), as in Classical mythology she is associated with dogs. That's the only clear link I can see between both meanings of the word.

As for slut it was original intended to mean slovenly person, as Chaucer used that to describe a dirty and untidy man. The word whore as a more direct meaning as it is from the Old English word for prostitute.


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