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Since I'm now old enough to be called an old fart I've become aware of how many absurd terms there are to describe old people. Why is the local bus service afraid to simply say, "Elderly fare, $1.00" instead of euphamistically saying, "Honored citizens, $1.00?" And what's with "senior citizen?" Citizen of what? If you're a 70-year-old German tourist does that count? And what about old illegal aliens? Do you have to meet the dual criteria of age and US citizenship to be a "senior citizen?"

Is it as silly in the UK, Oz, NZ, etc? Can you folks enjoy being old farts there without having some "politically correct" crackpot calling you something silly?

I wonder what Andy Rooney gets called when he gets on a bus? Do they honor him properly with the epithet, "curmudgeonly old bastard," or is he, too, a silly "senior Citizen?"


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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Yes, it happens over here, too. "Senior citizens" seems to be the epithet of choice, but there are several variations. Often they're called simply "seniors", which brings back to mind my school days, when we were split into "seniors" and "juniors". After fifty-odd years, we finally become senior again.

Old farts used to be called "old age pensioners", or "OAPs", but that no longer seems to be PC.


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.
 
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Not sure I've seen that "honored" designation. I do agree with you about the word "citizens," Geoff. Why are they not adolescent or middle-aged citizens, too? Strange.
 
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Why is the dysphemism old fart preferable to the euphemism [senior citizen? I think the latter developed because (at least in the States), senior by itself is a grade in high school and university, although I have seen senior citizen abbreviated to seniors sometimes on signage. It also alliterates. I have noticed among my peers that middle age(d) moves along towards the elder end of the spectrum as the person using it ages. Teen (-aged) is pretty specific, 13 to 19 years old), retired used to be 65 and older (or above). I like senior citizen. To me it seems a rather neutral phrase. Elders sounds a bit archaic. Maybe we could use Latin senex, pl. senes, 'person of advanced years'.


Ceci n'est pas un seing.
 
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Originally posted by zmježd:
Why is the dysphemism old fart preferable to the euphemism [senior citizen? ... Elders sounds a bit archaic. Maybe we could use Latin senex, pl. senes, 'person of advanced years'.

While "old fart" is somewhat deprecating, it seems that more gastric problems occur in senescence, so it's actually pretty accurate. Big Grin

I do like the idea of using senex. It seems our culture is afraid of and disrespectful of aging. Now that the baby boomers are old, perhaps attitudes are ripe for change.


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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I don't like "senior citizen," "elderly," "old fart," or just plain "seniors." I don't see why we always have to put people into those kinds of categories.
 
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OK, Kalleh, I'm a neonate! Big Grin Whew! What a relief! Now it's OK when I mess my pants and throw up on people!


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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I don't see why we always have to put people into those kinds of categories.

The only time I see senior citizen being used is when a discount is being offered.


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Well, not me. I see it used all over the place. I know that Google hits are a poor metric for something like this, but it does come up with over 12 million hits for the phrase.
 
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I know that Google hits are a poor metric for something like this, but it does come up with over 12 million hits for the phrase.

Sounds like a common term then. What I meant to say is that it began to be used in an official manner in a more formal register: i.e., the voice of the bureaucrat. From there it spread to ordinary people talking about the elderly and the retired. If I am talking to a co-worker whom I do not know well about their grandfather coming with us to a museum, I probably won't say "Gee, he's in luck! There's a discount for old farts at the museum." I'd probably use the term senior citizen as it is likely to give less offense. If the geezer is there in person, who knows? I suppose I could run through the age brackets and pricing and hope that by covering all options I wouldn't be suggesting what we all know: that grandpa is a touchy old fart.

I have never understood what the problem with euphemism is. If I say custodial engineer or sanitation worker rather than janitor or garbage man what's the problem? Why would I want to anger somebody intentionally because I do not want my language controlled by outside, social forces. I notice that many of the same folks (present company excepted) who rail on about euphemisms and PCisms are quick to correct what they see a solecisms of my grammar.


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I've never understood why people have problems with euphemisms either. I rather like them.
 
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Originally posted by zmježd:
I notice that many of the same folks (present company excepted) who rail on about euphemisms and PCisms are quick to correct what they see a solecisms of my grammar.

What, me? Gosh, I don't remember saying anything about your grammar!

Senex flatus Geoff


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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Gosh, I don't remember saying anything about your grammar!

Gee whiz, I did say: "present company excepted" didn't I?


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Oh, sorry. I really need to learn how to read. Frown


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti
 
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I really need to learn how to read.

No sweat. I need to read postings more carefully myself. I often skim over things and make silly in my replies. 'Tis a human thang.


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senex flatus

Actually, flatus does not mean 'fart' in Latin. It's a medical euphemism, like faex, faeces, 'dregs' for stercus or merda 'shit, manure'. Flatus means 'blowing, breathing, snorting' and poetically 'breeze; pride'. A couple of terms are pēditum from past participle of pēdō, pepēdi 'to fart' < PIE *perd- to break wind'; crepitus ventris 'noise, rustling, of the belly. The difference between the two seems to be that captured by the 'silent but deadly' as opposed to the noisy fart. The distinctions seems to hold (according to some) in PIE, where *perd- vs pezd- as roots for 'fart'.

zmj peditum senectum


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Hmmm... Thanks for the clarification. I note that Spanish uses "pedo" for "fart," so they use Latin there. I guess Arabic didn't influence that end of Spanish. Roll Eyes

Geoff le vieux con


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I note that Spanish uses "pedo" for "fart," so they use Latin there.

A synonym of pedo is cuesco which the dictionary of the Real Academia Española glosses as pedo ruidoso 'noisy fart'. They give an onomatopoeic origin for the word, but others offer Latin cuscolium 'pokewood'. The primary meaning of cuesco is 'pit, stone (of a fruit)'.

[Fixed the word under discussion from misspelled cuesto to correct cuesco.]

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So how come if you change cuesto (masculine ending) to cuesta, (feminine ending) it becomes a geological formation? Somehow I can't quite picture enough women passing gas to alter the terrain. Roll Eyes

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So how come if you change cuesto (masculine ending) to cuesta, (feminine ending) it becomes a geological formation?

Sorry about that Geoff. I suffered some kind of senior [sic] moment and misspelled the Spanish word. I've corrected it in my posting above. It should be cuesco.

Cuesto is the first person singular present indicative of costar 'to cost; to be difficult'. Cuesta can either be the third person singular present indicative of the same verb costar, or, as you say, a feminine noun 'slope'. It is from Latin costa 'rib; side, wall'.


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I suffered some kind of senior [sic] moment and misspelled the Spanish word.

A 28-year-old can make a mistake and nobody thinks a thing of it. However, those of us who are over 40 have "senior momments" or "brain farts" or whatever when we make mistakes. Why is that, I wonder?
 
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