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Other Niggardly, Politically Incorrect Terms!

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Everyday Usage: Offensive Interpretation:
Ax, Axe:   Noun. Long-handled tool having a heavy blade at one end, used for example to chop wood. Verb. To cut, chop.  Colloq: to be fired, dismissed, as in "He/she was axed." Axe, Axed: Colloquial pronunciation of the verb "ask" or "asked".  As in 'Let me axe you a question.'  Frequently used by government G.S. 4 secretaries, as in "Let me axe him if he is available to take a call."  The term sometimes appears in ebonics dictionaries.
Bap:  Slang for hit or strike; comic book usage: sound made when one is hit, as in "BAP!!!" BAP:  Acronym for Black American Princess, denoting a black female with an attitude.  Often seen on license plates.
Bifurcate:   Verb. To divide or split, typically into two equal parts. (YOU fill in this blank!)
Bitch:  (a) Noun. Female dog; (b) Verb. To complain. Bitch: Uncomplimentary term referring to human female who is perceived as irritable, angry, or cranky.  Usually used by human males in derogatory fashion.
Black: (as in 'black as tar', or 'black as night').  Denotes the absence of color or light; denotes high degree of darkness. Black: Refers to persons of dark complexion, perhaps of African descent.  Only offensive if used with certain modifiers.
Boob:  Person who makes stupid decisions or comes to inexplicable conclusions; of diminished mental capacity; (syn.) dummy; idiot; Bill Clinton. Boob:  A single breast, usually part of a more or less matched set, generally in reference to the female anatomy, although my Cousin Buck has a nice pair.
Buck:  (a) Noun. Male deer; (b) Verb. To fight or resist; (c) Verb. To be in opposition to; (d) Verb. To jump around; (d) Proper Noun. The name of your least-favorite cousin from a rural area; (e) Noun. Slang for dollar. Buck:  Black male, especially a young black male.  Not complimentary.
Chap:   (a) Noun.  British, meaning "male" or "fellow".  American equivalent is "guy"; (b) Noun.  American Western, meaning protective leggings made of durable material, typically leather; usually plural, as in "chaps"; (c) Verb or Noun.  Meaning to become dry, or to be dry, as in 'chapped lips'. Jap:  (a) Uncomplimentary shorthand for 'Japanese'; (b) Acronym for "Jewish American Princess", female of Jewish descent with an attitude.
Cloud:   (a) Noun. Visible collection of water vapor and crystals in the sky.  Having the appearance of white, fluffy; (b) Verb.  To obscure, cover up, obfuscate, or make unclear, as in "cloud the issue" (technique frequently used by Bill Clinton). Cloud:  White person (seen from black perspective); somewhat derogatory.  Having no color.   Similar to the term "white bread".
Coal Burning:   Describes stoves, furnaces, steam engines and other heat producing devices which use coal as the fuel. Coal Burner:   White person, typically female, who prefers to date blacks, typically male.   Not especially complimentary.
Coon:  Short for 'raccoon', a small, dexterous and mischievous mammal.  The white American icon Davy Crockett wore a cap made from the skin of this creature, as in 'Coon skin cap'. Coon:   Very derogatory term for black person.  Equivalent to using the "N" word, and likely to get you in just as much trouble.

Coonass (Coon Ass):  Term used in reference to descendants of French-speaking Louisianans, or Cajuns.  Some Cajuns use it with pride and find it inoffensive, while others consider it an ethnic slur.

Cracker:  (a) Small, crisp biscuit-like food item, typically a snack item; (b) One who cracks, as in "safe cracker". Cracker:   Derogatory reference to whites, typically conservative southerners who are still fighting the Civil War; term may or may not connote a belief in segregation or slavery.   Used mostly by blacks and by liberal, white northerners.
Day-Glo:   Bright, fluorescent color, generally an unnatural hue (term is probably trademarked). Dago:  Person of Italian descent.  Derogatory only if used by non-Italians.
Dike:  Wall or dam designed to impede or contain flow of water or other liquid.  Any material or construct designed to impede the flow of some other material or construct. Dike / Dyke:   Person of female persuasion who prefers other females; also known as female homosexual or lesbian.  Derogatory only if used by non-dikes.
Fag:  Slang meaning cigarette.  Popular in the greaser '50s before acquiring other connotations. Fag, Faggot:   Derisive term for homosexual men.  May be used inoffensively or jokingly only by homosexuals.
Fairy:   Mythical humanoid creature, usually of benign or good intentions; may have wings and possess magical powers.  Old English "Faery".

Ferry:  Boat, barge or raft used for transport of persons, vehicles, and/or fairies over bodies of water, eg., the Staten Island Ferry.

Fairy:   Derisive term for homosexual men.  (Alt.) to act in an effeminate or unmasculine manner.  Not typically used to refer to female persons, even if they do act effeminate.
Fish Eater:   One who eats fish. Fish Eater:   Synonym for a Catholic.  The term refers to the old Catholic tradition of not eating red meat on Fridays.  Catholics atoned for their many sins by eating fish which contain high levels of mercury.  The practice of eating mecury-laden fish was discontinued after the Pope noticed the number of Catholics mysteriously declining.
Gay:  Happy, carefree. Gay:   Homosexual, either gender, although the term is most often used to refer to male homosexuals.
Heimlich Maneuver:   Method of dislodging airway obstruction from a person choking on, for example, aspirated chunks of food. Heime / Himy / Heimy:   Individual of Jewish descent. Not complimentary.
Homo Sapiens:  Latin for "human kind" or, in a more sexist vein, "man kind"; human race. Homo:   Individual who prefers same-sex partners.  Typically used in derogatory fashion; most often used in reference to male behavior.
Honk:  (a) Verb. To activate the horn on one's car; (b) Verb. To squeeze or grab; (c) Verb. To blow one's nose; (d) Honkee, noun. One who is honked, one who has been honked. Honky:   Derisive term for "white person", as used by blacks.
Kite:  (a) Device made of paper, plastic, or other lightweight covering material, which is tethered to string, which catches wind and floats above the earth; (b) To write checks without sufficient funds, hoping that you will be able to make a deposit in time to cover the check before it clears (illegal). Kike, Kyke:   Person of Jewish ancestry; Jew; Person of the Jewish faith.   Not complimentary.
Masticate:  A predigestive processing of food by chewing it while mixing it with the enzymes in one's saliva prior to swallowing.  Yum! Masturbate:   (Modern) - To achieve sexual release by oneself.  Autoeroticism.

(Biblical) - Onanism, the Sin of Onan, after the Biblical figure Onan Sharif, who spent a lot of time alone in Russia.

(Agricultural-Biblical) - To spill one's seed.

(Catholic) - Very, very, very, very bad.

(Jewish) - What you do after you're married.

Mic:   Shorthand for 'microphone' or 'mike'.  Used by TV, radio, audio engineers, technicians and musicians.  Pronounced "mick" or "mike". Mick:  (a) Derogatory term for person of Irish descent; (b) Aging British rock star with obscenely big lips.
Nap:  (a) Verb.  To sleep, generally as in to take a short period of sleeping, napping; (b)  Noun.  The pile on a rug, as in "the nap on this rug is 1 inch thick". Nappy:   Meaning tight, curly hair.  Generally associated with persons of color, particularly those of black or African descent.  Not particularly derogatory; often used by blacks to refer to hair type.  Often used by black mothers when admonishing their children, as in "Bring your nappy head in here right now!"  White school teachers, however, must not use this word.
Natural Snackers:   (a) Persons who like to snack on 'natural' or 'organic' foods; (b) Persons who are inclined to snack. Mackerel Snappers:   Also "Fish Eaters"; persons of particular European descent and/or religious affiliations, particularly Catholic and/or Irish Catholic.
Niger:  A river. N-word:  see below.
Nigeria:  A country. N-word:  see below.
Niggle / Niggling:   Attention to detail in the extreme; fussing about details. Nigger:  (a) Oppressed individual usually cast as a powerless scapegoat, regardless of race; (b) Very derogatory term for a person of black or African heritage.
Race:  (a) Unnecessarily refers to one's skin color or ancestry, as in "You can / cannot have this job because of your race" (as typically used in Affirmative Action); (b) Contest of speed, as in auto race or foot race;   (c) To go fast, to compete. Race:  The most politically abused word of this decade.  Particularly offensive when employers and the government demand that you list yours.
Sauerkraut:   Food dish made with boiled cabbage. Kraut:   Not-very-nice word for a person of German descent.  Used frequently in old war movies.
Spade:  (a) Noun. Trowel-like garden implement or small shovel used for turning or 'spading' the surface of the ground; (b) Noun. One of four suits in a deck of cards; (c) Verb. To turn the soil, to turn over the soil.

Spay / Spayed:   Verb. To neuter or render infertile, as in "I had my cat spayed".  To remove or render ineffective an animal's reproductive organs.

Spade:  Black person, especially a male.  Not a compliment.
Red Neck:   What you get when you stand around in the sun wearing a shirt with your neck exposed; sunburn. Redneck:  Jeff Foxworthy.

Redneck - Medical Definition:  An alert reader sent us the following entry:

"Your derogatory explanation is shallow and superficial. The history of the term originates in the South. In the days when corn grits was the staple of many poor whites. Eating corn that was not soaked in lime water, like the masa of the Mexicans, caused a niacin deficiency called Pellagra with the obvious symptoms of turning your neck and hands red. Hence the term Redneck to describe a poor white Southerner such as from Georgia where the disease was endemic."

The reader is correct, and Wikipedia has an excellent description of this disease and its causes at the following link:

Thespian:   actor, one who pursues an interest in acting. Sounds vaguely like 'lesbian', if you're hard of hearing or didn't finish high school.
Wandering Jew:   A plant, generally a viny house plant known for its prolific production of vines and creepers. Wandering Jew:   Lost or aimless person of the Jewish faith; confused Jew.  Similar in many ways to a Wandering Catholic.

(Biblical) - Followers of Moses, especially in dry, arid terrain featuring lots of sand.

See also the Complete Religious History of the Term Wandering Jew

Yankee:   Member of a professional baseball team. (Alt.) One who has been yanked. Yankee:   Southerner's term for those of us who speak normal English.

[A Southerner, offended by the above, emailed us the following:  "Yankee is the term for any one born outside of the south.   Check the facts, the english spoken in the south is closest to "The King's (Queen's) English" -- a reader].

Water Buffalo:   Um, you know, water buffalo.  Water Buffalo:  This is an allegedly racially offensive term we'd never heard before!  In 1993, the University of Pennsylvania campus was thrown into a racial uproar when freshman Eden Jacobowitz yelled at a bunch of noisy black students outside his dorm window "shut up, you water buffalo!"  University officials calmed down the campus by filing racial harassment charges against Jacobowitz.  Water buffalo?  Have any of you heard that one before? 

"Water Buffalo" Reader Feedback:

12-04-03 -- An alert reader named Shawniece offered the following possible explanation: 

          During the 18th and 19th centuries, Native Americans (American Indians) reportedly referred to black American soldiers as "Buffalo Soldiers" because their hair texture (nappy, woolly) reminded them of water buffalo (who have nappy, woolly fur).  Reader Shawniece went on to suggest that the Bob Marley song "Buffalo Soldier" was written about this very topic.

04-06-04 -- Another alert reader emailed Adversity.Net with the following insight about "water buffalo" and "buffalo soldiers":

          Regarding your explanation of why buffalo soldiers were called that, American Indians did not have water buffalo. Water buffalo live in SE Asia, Phillipines and Egypt.

          However, the reason the Buffalo Soldiers were called that is:

          "The buffalo was a sacred animal to the Native Americans. Not only did it provide food,clothing, tools, and weapons, but it was the staff of life for the them. Hunting the great creature took a spiritual act of great courage. The buffalo was hardy, almost indestructible, and fearless. Native American warriors began calling the men of the Black Cavalry units "Buffalo Soldiers" because of the likeness in appearance to the buffalo and as a term of respect. After engaging the Black men in campaign and battle, the Native Americans called them "Buffalo Soldiers" out of respect for their fierceness, toughness, and tenacity on the battlefield ... traits that reminded them of the buffalo." [Courtesy of the 9th and 10th Cavalry Association.]

          It's not an insult and the professor was probably just calling them loud and unruly. Like a stampede of any form of cattle.

07-10-04 -- Yet another alert reader emailed Adversity.Net with the following insight about what actually happened at UPenn that night:

          Having graduated from UPenn and having been acqainted with Eden [Jacobowitz, student], he said that he was translating from Hebrew a certain word that had connotations like "Bull in a china shop."

          Having been there (the High Rise South dorm) when this incident happened, the noisy students were "stepping" which is a visually and aurally interesting cultural phenomenon performed by students wishing to enter historically black greek houses. The men tended to do it in private or on stage. The women tended to do it during finals week at night in front of the dorms when people are studying.

          Many people yelled things a lot worse than Water Buffalo. [The ritual] involves stomping on the ground in heavy boots and clapping and shouting, which echo like a WWII battle in that area of UPenn.

-- Who'd a thunk?!  Editor.

White Boy:  A prebuscent Caucasian male. White Boy:  This is an offensive term used by blacks to diminish, denigrate, or vilify white males regardless of their age.  It is a racial slur against white males.

The term "White Boy" is the black equivalent of a white person calling a black person "boy".  "White Boy" is offensive in the extreme, and strongly implies servitude, low status, laziness, and/or incompetence.

White Bread:  (a) Noun.  Doughy, tasteless sliced bread made with bleached wheat flour. It is so completely devoid of nutritional value that it has to be artificially "enriched" with vitamins.  (b) Adj.  Plain, boring, ordinary, without texture. White Bread:  Derogatory term for white people, most often invoked by blacks.  In this context, it means a person who is plain, boring, ordinary, without color or texture (or rhythm!).

Everyday Usage

Offensive Interpretation

END of Ambiguous Terms to Avoid.

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*  We use the term reverse discrimination reluctantly and only because it is so widely understood.  In our opinion there really is only one kind of discrimination.