Date: Wed, 14 Jun 1995 22:19:54 -0400 From: James C Stalker Subject: Re: Teen Slang Terms (Gank and Gaffl > I picked up two odd terms (odd to me) from junior high students in > Columbia, Missouri. The first is "to gank" meaning to physically > assault or intimidate someone in order to steal from them. As in, I > ganked his bicycle. The only other place I have seen this term is in > Paul Dickson's 1990 book, Slang! The Topic by Topic Dictionary of > Contemporary American Lingoes. On page 217 Paul lists gank meaning > flirt. > The second word is entirely new to me. It is "to gaffle" > (spelling?) meaning simply to steal something from someone without > violence or their awareness. As in, she didn't know it, but I gaffled > a stick of gum from her purse. > My sources are only oral. The informants had no clue as to > etymology but they said both terms were old. But then, old to > teenagers can mean last week. > > Randy Roberts > University of Missouri-Columbia > robertsr[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE] > Gank, in the sense "steal," especially in the sense "to scam," "to bilk," has been active in East Lansing in both high school and college (Mich State U) since 1992. That is the first reported instance in my data. Lighter does not list it. Perhaps in junior high, old means that it has filtered down from above (high school), despite Labovian theory. As for gaffle, I just checked my 18 year old sources, who are lurking in the family room playing hockey on the Sega, and they agree that gaffle means mostly to hit someone, but can also mean to take something from them. I just checked gank, and for them it means only to take. No violence involved.