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My daughter's boyfriend...

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March 22, 2004, 12:50
Chris J. Strolin
My daughter's boyfriend...
lives with her and they have a baby together. This is well in keeping with modern times in general but the language is lapsing behind slightly, I'm afraid. By what name (other than the obvious "Michael" in this case) should this young man be identified?

My favorite, taken from the U.S. Census Bureau, is "Posslq," pronounced "PAH-sull-kew," which stands for "Person of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters."


Along similar lines (and forgive me if I've already mentioned this elsewhere; I really don't recall) my daughters have a half-sister from the second marriage of my first ex-wife. Her relationship to me? She's my "daughter-in-half," of course, and conversely I am her "father-in-half," two more words I'm proud to claim coinage of but with no expectation whatsoever of ever seeing in any edition of the OED that I myself do not write.
March 22, 2004, 13:08
aput
1. 'Partner' strikes me as the established term now. It wasn't just ten years ago: I didn't know how to describe gay partners, and lovers though serviceable sounds too louche; but it now seems thoroughly natural and neutral to say partner in all cases including where they happen to have signed a scrap of paper for the government files.

2. my daughters have a half-sister from the second marriage of my first ex-wife

head-explody... ticks 'don't know' box... scrubs out 'would you like me to repeat the question?' box.
March 22, 2004, 13:13
Kalleh
Well, welcome back, aput! Big Grin Wink It looks like people are finally beginning to meander back after that unexpected and chaotice software change a week and a half ago. Thank goodness!

I rather like the "father-in-half" terminology, though it begs the question (being a literalist and all)...which half? Razz
March 22, 2004, 13:59
Chris J. Strolin
quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
I rather like the "father-in-half" terminology, though it begs the question (being a literalist and all)...which half? Razz

I'm tempted to respond "the top half" since she is an absolute hottie and, technically, a physical relationship would not be incestual. Boy, would it be a surefire way to piss off my ex-wife, though!

The "half" comes from her being half-sister to my daughters (different father, obviously) and, like much else in my life, means nothing literally.
March 22, 2004, 14:27
Chris J. Strolin
A comment elsewhere about "Playboy" magazine being appropriate for a father-in-law brings to mind an possible solution to the question I've asked. Michael is, obviously, my "son-not-quite-in-law."


And the term "partner" seems to be on the brink of going the way of "gay" in that it seems to be most closely related to same sex partnerships.
March 22, 2004, 16:14
<Asa Lovejoy>
Daughter-in-half? Did she inherit your wit? Does that make her a half-wit? Wink
March 22, 2004, 18:43
Hic et ubique
CJ: My daughter's boyfriend lives with her ... but the language is lapsing behind slightly, I'm afraid. By what name should this young man be identified? My favorite, taken from the U.S. Census Bureau, is "Posslq," pronounced "PAH-sull-kew," which stands for "Person of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters."

My understanding is that that term is POSSLQ, not Posslq.. But in spite of the language being far more than "slightly" out of date, there's no clear and commonly understood term that I know of.

One I thought clever, though only usable for the male partner of one's own child, is "sin-in-law".
March 22, 2004, 19:48
wordnerd
Looking into "POSSLQ," I stumbled upon a gem of a word. Quote:

One empirical regularity across many societies is "hypergamy" – the tendency for women to marry up – with respect to social status, education, income, and other characteristics associated with economic well-being.
March 23, 2004, 06:14
Graham Nice
quote:
And the term "partner" seems to be on the brink of going the way of "gay" in that it seems to be most closely related to same sex partnerships.


My thoughts entirely.

I refer to my other half as my wife. We have lived together for sixteen years, and no other term will do. She is not my girlfirend - that implies something new or temporary. My (religious) friends sometimes complain that I don't use the term, partner. Whenever I did in the past, I always felt the need to get she or her into the next sentence, to leave no doubt that this is a hetero relationship.
March 23, 2004, 06:39
shufitz
> Graham: I refer to my other half as my wife. We have lived together for sixteen years, and no other term will do. She is not my girlfirend - that implies something new or temporary.

Agreed. Indeed, in some jurisdictions the law itself, not just linguistics, would consider you to be "man and wife".

Still, I'd think it would be useful to have a word for a living together that is not so long-term. For example, you'd not use the word "wife" to mean the female of a cohabiting pair of 20-year-old college students. In fact, they probably would insist emphatically that she is not his "wife".
March 23, 2004, 08:24
arnie
"Significant other", or "S.O." is a term I've seen used. Personally I think it is cringe-making in the extreme, but I offer it for what worth.

Here in England "my old man/woman" is quite often used when referring to married and non-married partners alike. The "old" part doesn't refer to their age -- it could be used by/about a 20 year-old or an 80 year-old.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
March 23, 2004, 08:59
jheem
Interesting acronym that POSSLQ. Typical governmental jargon: sharing living quarters rather than cohabitating, or just plain shacked up. The best term I've seen is yoke-mate from Smollett. I refer to my wife by her first name.

Japanese has two words for wife: one of which the speaker uses of his wife (kanai) and the other when he's refering to somebody else's wife (okusan). I asked my Japanese teacher what her father called her mother and she said: "Oy" which is a offensive pronoun used with inferiors, similar to "hey you".
March 23, 2004, 09:39
jerry thomas
Does anyone know why, in Spanish, esposas means both "wives" and

.....

......... ...... "handcuffs"???
March 23, 2004, 10:22
Chris J. Strolin
Yes, POSSLQ started out as an all-caps acronym but later evolved (devolved?) into a regular word complete with nails-on-the-chalkboard off-shoots such as "posslqing." If someone should pose the question "How many English words can you name which contain a "Q" but do not contain a "U?" feel free to bring this one up and be prepared for a major fight.

And regarding the term "S.O." (at the risk of sounding political) for several years I was a volunteer escort at a medical clinic where, among many other medical proceedures, abortions were performed. My job was to escort patients through mobs of protesters, sometimes extremely loud, obnoxious, and/or threatening, from the parking area to the clinic itself. In this context, the S.O. was usually, but not always, the boyfriend of the woman involved and part of my job was to ensure the S.O. did not respond to the taunting of the crowd with violence against the protesters. As you might imagine, boyfriends were usually the thinnest-skinned but I often had to get between the crowd and other Signifcant Others, parents and best friends and what-have-you.

Life's an adventure!


(Cross-threading sidenote: In writing the above, I originally abrieviated the term "Significant Others" as "S.O.s" but saw that this looked like a cry for help, something germaine to the topic at hand but not what I had intended. So how to pluralize "S.O."? "SO's"? No, that looks like it should preceed "...yer ol' man!" "SOs"? No, that's two thirds a shouted call for help trailing off to a whisper at the end. Some abbreviations simply must be spelled out.
March 23, 2004, 17:31
wordnerd
Per some google-research:

CJ: Yes, POSSLQ started out as an all-caps acronym but later evolved (devolved?) into a regular word complete with nails-on-the-chalkboard off-shoots such as "posslqing."
March 24, 2004, 00:42
tinman
That little acronym inspired someone (Ogden Nash) to write this little witticism:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Won't you be
my POSSLQ.

Tinman
March 24, 2004, 00:44
tinman
quote:
Originally posted by tinman:
That little acronym inspired someone (Ogden Nash?) to write this little witticism:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Won't you be
my POSSLQ.

Tinman

March 24, 2004, 11:33
Kalleh
Well, I like it, Tinman! Wink

However, I don't much like "posslq." It really doesn't seem like a word to me (though, that is becoming a daily problem for me!). However, if CJ ever started a game where we looked for 3-syllable words with the only vowel being an "o," you'd better believe I would win!
March 24, 2004, 12:38
wordnerd
POSSLQ seems to have gotten its publicity in the early 1980s from Charles Osgood's book There's Nothing I Wouldn't Do if You Would Be My POSSLQ (1981).

I also found this little ditty:

There's nothing that I wouldn't do,
If you would be my Posslq,
You'd live for me and I for you
If you would be my Posslq.
We'd live forever, you and me,
In blessed posslq-ity!
March 25, 2004, 02:41
arnie
A phrase I rather like is "other half". There is a certain romanticism in the idea that the couple are two halves of a unit. The phrase is not so "clinical" as the other examples in this thread. It can, of course, apply to married and unmarried partners.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
March 25, 2004, 05:45
jerry thomas
As young adults' shacking up gained social acceptance in America, the word "ummer" was occasionally heard, as in, "This is my daughter Penelope, and this is John, her (audible pause) ... um ... er ... friend."

Apparently "ummer" has given way to POSSLQ.
March 25, 2004, 06:41
arnie
By the way, "POSSLQ" seems to be solely American. I've never (thankfully) seen or heard it used over here.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
March 25, 2004, 07:35
jheem
I first heard the term ummer used in a gay context. "This is my son John and his um, er, friend."
April 18, 2004, 03:47
markmywords48
In Scandinavian languages, the word "sambo" or "samboer" is used. It brings to mind non-PC images of Little Black Sambo, but has to do with two individuals living together, regardless of sex. The prefix "sam-" means "together" and "bo" means "to live." It is a useful term because it does not tell what kind of relationship is present - only that two people are permanently living together.

Good luck inventing something in English. It seems "partner" may be the best bet yet, but it reeks of "podners" in Western films - although perhaps that's just my generation speaking!
April 18, 2004, 03:54
markmywords48
In response to Jerry Thomas' query as to why the Spanish word "esposas" also means "handcuffs," I would like to mention that in Norwegian, the same word is used for "married" and for "poison!"
("gift" pronounced "yift")
April 18, 2004, 20:27
Kalleh
I would like to mention that in Norwegian, the same word is used for "married" and for "poison!"
Oh, markmywords, that is hilarious! Big Grin

As far a Black Sambo, we had a nice discussion about that when the board first developed. If you keep reading the thread, there are some great links to pictures.
April 19, 2004, 03:50
aput
On another board this question came up and a Swedish woman introduced the to-her useful word sambo. It is indeed a simple construction, with much to recommend it. I might be remembering wrong, but she didn't seem to be aware of why it couldn't be used as-is in English.

Which was a little disconcerting, as her partner was a black American man.

I was tempted to ask if he creased up in laughter every time the Swedes said it, and if she'd ever wondered why.

The closest English equivalent might be something like 'bylive'... or 'byliver', except that 'liver' has an inconvenient prior claim.
April 19, 2004, 10:39
markmywords48
Aput, there wouldn't really be a problem for the Swedish woman's black American friend, because it's not pronounced "Sambo" as English-speaking natives would do. It's pronounced something like "SAHM-boo" and therefore wouldn't directly cause association!