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A thread elsewhere, now discussing the long list of slurs for ethnic groups (such words as wop, dago, kraut, spic) has passed by the original subject: phrases that name a thing (not a person) by reference to a particular country or ethnic group. A few such phases that come to mind are

french leave: an informal, unannounced, or abrupt departure
french kiss: a kiss in which the tongue enters the partner's mouth
chinese fire drill: extreme confusion

I suspect there are many, many others, often ones that have not made it into the dictionary. Any pop to mind?
 
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chinese fire drill: extreme confusion

That's not what I thought of as a Chinese Fire Drill! It is when you stop at a red light, and everyone jumps out of the car, leaving their doors open, and runs around it and when the light turns green you all jump back in. Hopefully with a new driver! Big Grin There was a great scene in the movie American Graffiti of a Chinese Fire Drill!
 
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An esoteric usage comes to mind. In cricket, an involuntary stoke by the batsman where the ball goes in the opposite direction to that intended by about 180 degrees, scoring lucky runs, is often called a "Chinese cut".

My local cricket county is Kent, and our great "enemies" are the nearby county of Surrey. When I was a youngster, a Chinese cut had the name "Surrey cut" , but it appears to have died out: I used it a while back and was met with general incomprehension. When I rephrased it as "Chinese cut" I was understood.
 
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French Ticklers (knobby condoms) and Russian Roulette (gambling at suicide with a revolver loaded with less than a full load of cartridges)
 
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French Roulette (indiscriminate sex using a box of condoms some of which have been pierced with a pin) and Russian Ticklers (knobby revolvers).
 
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Marquis De Sade Russian roulette: Piercing the condoms with a revolver while they're in use. Eek
 
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Morgan, I agree with your definition of Chinese fire drill.

I suppose this one isn't politically correct--but "Indian giver".
 
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Did we mention "Dutch Treat"? Which is no treat at all!
 
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Did we mention "Dutch Treat"? Which is no treat at all!
--------------------------------------------
Doesn't that depend on what hapens later? Wink

As for "Indian giver," the best etymology I've seen has to do with the indigenous peoples' having the custom of selling only the usufruct rights to an area. They had no concept of anyone's being able to actually own land, since they believed that they belonged to the land, and not vice-versa.
 
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'Dutch treat' puts me in mind of

Dutch courage: courage resulting from intoxication; a drunk's bravado. (The person having (had by?) Dutch courage is pot-valiant.)
Dutch uncle: a counselor who admonishes frankly and sternly
double Dutch: incomprehensible talk

I'd think that given the commercial rivalry a few centuries ago between England and the Netherlands, our English (the English language, that is Wink) would have quite a few pejoratives about the Dutch.
 
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Ok, it's the way my mind works, but I saw double Dutch and immediately thought of rich chocolate ice cream! Big Grin

But on a serious note, how about a Mexican carwash? That is the art of leaving your dirty car outside in a rainstorm. Smile
 
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As for "Indian giver," the best etymology I've seen has to do with the indigenous peoples' having the custom of selling only the usufruct rights to an area. They had no concept of anyone's being able to actually own land, since they believed that they belonged to the land, and not vice-versa.
Asa, I agree with that and wasn't making a political statement. I was just giving another example of a phrase referring to an ethnic group.
 
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I remember hearing somewhere that in a fair number of languages, the slang term for venereal disease refers to some despised neighbor country. For example, it might be in French know as "German disease", in Germany as "French pox", etc. Those are only hypothetical examples; does anyone have hard information?
 
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<Asa Lovejoy>
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he slang term for
venereal disease refers to some despised neighbor country.
--------------------------------------
I recall that when AIDS first was identified, it was widely called a homosexual disease, and I remember the holier-than-thou preachers ranting about its being "God's judgement." We do, as a species, seem inclined to blame maladies on "them," whoever they may be, and not us.
 
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In the states, particularly (I believe) in urban areas, Double Dutch refers to one person jumping rope in-between two other people holding two different jumping ropes and swinging them quickly in opposite directions. How this all might tie in with The Neatherlands is a mystery to me.
 
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Things learned while looking up other things (namely "zounds"):

Bigot is thought to derive from the derogatory term, in Old French, for the Normans, spinging from their frequent use of the oath "by God".

In much the same way, the English were known as "goddamns" in Joan of Arc's France, and during World War I Americans serving in France were said to be known as "les sommobiches".
 
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Americans serving in France were said to be known as
"les sommobiches".
______________________________________________
And, I suppose, if the Americans were going up a French river to Amiens, they'd be Sommebitches. Big Grin

I'm also amused to see that so many Americans think it's cute to name their little girls after a French spaniel, Brittany. I wonder when they'll start naming their boys Rottweiler, just to balance out the nationalities?

Now, back to the actual subject: As a child growing up in South Carolina, I remember hearing that something that was crudely assembled was "nigger rigged."
 
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Originally posted by C J Strolin:
In the states, particularly (I believe) in urban areas, "Double Dutch" refers to one person jumping rope in-between two other people holding two different jumping ropes and swinging them quickly in opposite directions. How this all might tie in with The Netherlands is a mystery to me.


CJ, that's an interesting question. I couldn't find an answer, but did find this list of pejorative English phrases referring to the Dutch, which also makes a couple of points.

First, "The intense [English-Dutch] commercial rivalry and three wars (1652-1674) of the seventeenth century gave rise to many negative phrases."

Second, "Curiously, Dutch has only a few reciprocal pejorative phrases." Examples:
- Dutch for "using the English screwdriver" means "hammering a screw".
- Dutch for "Writing an English letter" means "taking an afternoon nap".
- Dutch for "Does he speak English?" means "Is he rich?"
- "Engels gaar" means "half-cooked".
 
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Double dutch is also an African-Americanform of jump-rope using two(2) ropes
 
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ptcat, I remember using that term when I was a little girl! I am not African-American, and I am from Wisconsin originally.
 
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The English term is a "Birmingham Screwdriver"

Richard English
 
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Originally posted by Richard English:
The English term is a "Birmingham Screwdriver"

Richard English


True but the English term is usually pronounced the dialect way as

Brummagem Screwdriver.

Vescere bracis meis.

Read all about my travels around the world here.
Read even more of my travel writing and poems on my weblog.
 
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Interestingly, my 7-year-old niece, from Green Bay Wisconsin, today referred to "Double Dutching" with jump ropes.
 
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We had a record called Double Dutch twenty years ago by Malcolm Maclaren, so I know all about the phrase. It is just skipping really. Up till then Double Dutch had meant speech that you couldn't fathom.
 
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There's also Chinese laundry, which isn't particularly pejorative, but denotes a laundry full of steam and clothes and hard work.

On one memorable occasion at college, I walked into the laundry attached to my hall of residence, only to find it full of steam and clothes &c &c... I very nearly exclaimed "Gosh, it's like a Chinese laundry in here!" but then the nationality of the users made itself apparent... Somehow I doubt it would have gone down too well!
 
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My own similar memorable occasion occurred during a fire drill while I was teaching at the women's college in Taiwan some 20 years ago.

Because the students -- hundreds of nubile Chinese maidens -- evacuated the buildings in record time and all was well, I remarked that it didn't look like a Chinese Fire Drill to me. To satisfy their inquiring minds I explained that some Americans label an utterly chaotic disaster as a Chinese Fire Drill.

Extreme Red Face embarrassment Red Face took hold of me when they asked why.

"Duh!" Confused
 
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Since Ros has revived this topic, I thought that since so many expressions had been missed I'd add some.

Then I found I remembered a lot.

This site contains more than I could remember, though.

Then I found this
 
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Thanks, Bear, those are great! I especially liked the first site saying "Dutch clock" either means "bedpan" or "wife". Interestingly, the second site didn't mention "bedpan", but it said this about Dutch clock:

"A woman, that is like a German clock.
Still a-repairing, ever out of frame,
And never going aright."
Shakespeare: Love's Labour's Lost, iii.1.
 
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My first date with a "college man" when I was a Junior in High School ended with me beet faced.

It was garbage night and as he pulled up to my house to walk me to my door, I told him that there was a new law enacted in town and that all homes would have to start using clear garbage bags next week. He asked why. "So that the (insert ethnic slur here) can window shop." It was at that moment that I realized what his nationality was. Red Face
 
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I was the victim of one of these once. As a blonde with blue eyes, I hardly look Jewish. I was at a moms & tots group in a very Jewish community, though none of the other women were Jewish. One of them started making stereotypical comments about Jews; I quickly identified myself so that she wouldn't make things worse. Needless to say, she was mortified!
 
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Which makes me realise (again) one of the pleasures of bulletin boards -- the lack of the usual preconceptions we have based on colour, gender, age, ethnicity or whatever.

Until the last two posts I had no idea that Morgan is female or Kalleh is Jewish. I hadn't given it any thought either way. It's nice that these things just emerge (or not) as appropriate.
 
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I'm not Jewish, but my mother is.

True, there is Jewish blood on my mother's side of the family, but hey, I'm not even Christian any more.
 
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Until the last two posts I had no idea that Morgan is female...

Eek Confused Big Grin
 
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Sez the_bear

quote:
I'm not Jewish, but my mother is.


... and the other feller sez,

"I'm not Catholic, but by breeding I should be, since my mother was a Nun and my father was a Priest."
 
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Originally posted by Morgan:
Eek Confused Big Grin


Yes, I know, sorry. I've not been paying attention, I suppose.
 
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Well, Paul, I can certainly understand that you wouldn't think me to be Jewish. After all, I did recently post about being in church as a child. The fact is, I converted to Judaism, and that is probably why I don't look very Jewish!

I agree, Paul, that the lack of preconceptions about people is lovely. It is rather like the innocence of children. Unfortunately, we don't live in a very diverse community (I have always regretted that for my children's sake.) Once, when my son was about 7, there was a discussion on television about people being prejudiced toward African-Americans. My son, who went to a very lilly white school, said, "Oh, mom, I'm not prejudiced. My 2 best friends are black!" I looked at him very curiously because that just wasn't possible. It turned out he was referring to 2 boys who were Asian!

Even though the preconceptions are nice, I would absolutely love to meet the people here! I did meet Morgan last weekend, as many of you may have read. She is just delightful--with an amazing smile and laugh. Big Grin

[This message was edited by Kalleh on Fri Jun 6th, 2003 at 7:22.]
 
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Originally posted by Kalleh:
I agree, Paul, that the lack of preconceptions about people is lovely. It is rather like the innocence of children.


Interesting point, Kalleh. Last week my eleven-year-old son was describing to me someone that I didn't know, and he said "she's a bit like Miss Phillips". (Miss Phillips being a teacher I do know.)

I said "what, black?"

"No", he said, "short."

I suppose that to me the most striking thing about Miss Phillips is that she's black, whereas to him she's more short than she is black, if you see what I mean.

I'm not sure if it reflects credit on him or discredit on me, but there it is. We're white, in case it's material, but we do live in a racially-diverse area, which I like.

(Although I suppose "racially-diverse" is a matter of opinion -- looked at with a non-white eye you'd have to say that white people are in a vast majority.)
 
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Don't forget that many of us have our pictures on the community site, should you wish to dispel some illusions!

Richard English
 
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Over sixty years ago Ashley Montagu, in The Fallacy of Race, suggested that if tomorrow morning all the people in the world awoke to find that there were but one skin color among all humanity, by noon we would find some other reason for hating each other.

I nominate eye color.

Everybody knows that we blue-eyed people are .... more virtuous.... than the brown-eyed folks. Right?

..... or is it the other way around? Confused
 
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Originally posted by jerry thomas:
Over sixty years ago Ashley Montagu, in _The Fallacy of Race,_ suggested that if tomorrow morning all the people in the world awoke to find that there were but one skin color among all humanity, by noon we would find some other reason for hating each other.

I nominate _eye color._

Everybody knows that we blue-eyed people are .... more virtuous.... than the brown-eyed folks. Right?

..... or is it the other way around? Confused


Well, Richard, as a blue eyed blonde, I would have to agree with you! Big Grin Besides, we all know the old joke: "you're so full of ****, your eyes are brown!" Wink

Now don't go jumping down my back! It's just a joke, and it is much older than I am!
 
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Morgan, the blue-eyed baby is Jerry! Wink
 
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And Kalleh, I know you are a blue-eyed blonde too. But, what color are shufitz' eyes? Oh, yeah.... Big Grin Wink Razz
 
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But, what color are shufitz' eyes?


All you have to do is say his name really fast! Razz
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
Once, when my son was about 7, [he] said, 'Oh, mom, I'm not prejudiced. My 2 best friends are black!' It turned out he was referring to 2 boys who were Asian!


Actually, what his first sentence was curiousity, too naive to be describing himself: "I don't get this whole thing is about blacks. My 2 best friends are black." Also, the two friends were respectively Chinese and the other Assyrian (Kalleh says "Asian"). Which raise the question, "What does Asian mean in this sort of context?"

My understanding is that "Asian" replaces "Oriental", because the latter has become (so my daughter tells me) a PC-unacceptable term. That is, though admittedly "asian" as a geographic reference includes Indian, Pakistani etc., as a practical matter the term as an ethnic reference encompasses only far-easterners.

But how woud others understand "Asian"?
 
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Originally posted by Richard English:
Don't forget that many of us have our pictures on the community site, should you wish to dispel some illusions!


I'm not sure I do, but where, please, just in case I can't resist!
 
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Paul, look for a private message from me.
 
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Thank you Morgan.

I couldn't resist, I did look at the pictures. Funnily enough, they were not too different to what I expected, rather to my relief!

There's a photo of me on my (rather unexciting) website, but you'll have to add about five years to it!
 
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Your Web site is exciting to me! I spent a lot of the day at work looking at Internet Web sites because I had found some excellent Web and distance learning definitions on one, just a few weeks ago, and now it has completely disappeared! In order to use all those definitions, I need to cite the source. From now on, if I have a question, I will come to your Web site! Big Grin

P.S. I am glad you speak in "plain English" because much of computer jargon is gibberish! Why do they have to make up so many words? For example, I finally had to call someone to find out what is meant by "lecture halls" in distance learning.
 
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Originally posted by Kalleh:
From now on, if I have a question, I will come to your Web site! Big Grin



As I've said before Kalleh, you're just so nice. Smile

I really should put some actual content on my website, not just self-promotion! If you've got any technical questions, I don't think you'll find many answers on the website, but do feel free to e-mail me (address is on the website).

As for why they make up so many words, I think the answer is "marketing". Scott Adams has it sussed, I think.
 
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Originally posted by jerry thomas:
... and the other feller sez,



Irish toast: "May you have a son a bishop and a grandson a pope."
 
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