At the time, "lad culture" ran throughout British music and television, and wazzock, a North-England accented contraction of the sarcastic wiseacre (a know-it-all) became a powerful tool to shoot people down in an argument.
Though the etymology of lummox is heavily disputed, one thing is for certain: It came from East Anglia, the coastal outcrop of Britain above London.
Damon Runyon described it in an article in 1942: “‘Skibby’ is what Japs are called to this day by most Californians even in polite circles, and it is unlikely that the California home-grown soldiers will dismiss it for the more polite ‘Charlie’ and ‘Tojo’ that the dispatches from the Far East would have us believe are now terms for the enemy.
Most examples suggest that this last meaning came along after the one for a vest.Grose’s Dictionary of vulgarities is a rich seam of overlooked insults.In the 200 years since it was published, there have been several terms that have fallen out of favor.But that 1918 citation is in the plural, which may indicate it was already a fairly broad term.The early examples all indicate it was US military slang.
Dating skive definition
There, around 1825, someone threw out the word as an insult, and it stuck, becoming a typically British go-to term.Some linguists believe it comes from the word , which typified a lummox: it means a clumsy oaf. Someone who manages to duck under any responsibility and loaf around, doing very little, is a skiver.The origins of this particular insult are contested: some think it’s from an Old Norse word——meaning “slice,” whereby the worker slices off as much work as possible.Often hurled at the opposite sex, to call someone a minger is to say they are objectively unattractive.Though etymologists struggle to agree where the word came from, it seems likely that it stems from the Old Scots word , meaning “sh**.” We didn’t say it was pretty.
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For such a colloquial word, nincompoop actually has a very learned past.Samuel Johnson, the compiler of England’s first proper dictionary, claims the word comes from the Latin phrase non compos mentis (“not of right mind”), and was originally a legal term.As words are used more regularly, the laziness of pronunciation can often warp them slightly. Originally dating back to 1811 and compiled by Captain Francis Grose, a clod hopper refers to a country farmer or ploughman—with the implication nowadays that you’re slow witted and bumbling.Let's dig a little deeper into the grab bag of insults that language has bequeathed us throughout history, and find out where those terms come from.Wazzock was a particularly prevalent—and particularly loutish—insult in the 1990s.