Favorite

Jagoff nixed 

After the word "jagoff" appeared in an article on post-gazette.com, David Shribman, the executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, sent a memo to his staff:

"Yes, I know I didn't grow up here; and yes, I know it doesn't mean what some people think it means; and yes, I know this email will be circulated and ridiculed; but, still ...

"The word 'jagoff' has no place in the Post-Gazette or on post-gazette.com."

A Pittsburgh source says many people assume incorrectly that jagoff is a corruption of a more familiar vulgarism, but "In fact, jagoff has its roots in the Northern British Isles, 'where most of the original English-speaking settlers in this area came from,' says Carnegie Mellon University professor Barbara Johnstone, the foremost expert on local speech patterns. There, the verb 'to jag' meant 'to prick or poke' – which is why thorn bushes are called 'jaggerbushes' hereabouts. A jagoff, similarly, is simply an annoyance."

A contributor to the on-line Urban Dictionary says that jagoff is "A Pittsburgh-ese term for a person who is being a real jerk!" Another, more specific, says jagoff is "Pittsburgh slang for anyone irritating, out of line, not in love with the Steelers or not drinking Iron City on a regular basis."

You need Joshua to fight the battle of derecho:

"Nearly three full days after a severe line of storms, known as a derecho, knocked down trees and power lines in 10 states ... "

It's not well known, except maybe to weathermen. I couldn't find derecho in a standard dictionary. NPR on-line, which felt a need to explain the word in connection with last week's storms, says that the physics professor who coined the term for straight-ahead storms (way back in 1888) "decided to use the term derecho (Spanish for 'direct or straight ahead') to define these non-tornadic events since this term could be considered as an analog to the term tornado which is also of Spanish origin." And forget about Joshua. NPR says the word is "pronounced similar to 'deh-REY-cho' in English."

Favorite

Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Doug Smith

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Latest in Words

  • The L word and the C word

    I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."
    • May 1, 2014
  • Who's exasperated?

    Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.
    • Apr 24, 2014
  • We will run no race before it's ripe

    "What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."
    • Apr 17, 2014
  • More »

Most Viewed

  • The cult of Trump

    Nearly 40 years ago our country was introduced to two major phenomena centering around cults: namely, the Moonies and the Shiite Muslims. There were others, as well, and I soon became fascinated with the dynamics of cults and cult leaders (both religious and secular) in general — leading me to read a number of books and articles, some even written by those who had been deprogrammed after spending time in a cult.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The cult of Trump

    • That isn't what I said, and you know that pretty well, Oaf. Just lies and…

    • on June 23, 2018
  • Re: The cult of Trump

    • Rabbi, you probably don't know Steven. He's the head Kool-Aid taster for the Trump cult…

    • on June 22, 2018
  • Re: The cult of Trump

    • Those traits sound like most any politician in DC, mostly the Dims.

    • on June 22, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation