Date: Tue, 18 Oct 1994 08:26:03 EDT From: David Muschell Subject: Re: offending idioms Though some males may preen at being called a "hunk" or "stud," these objectifying terms can be as jarring as the older, informal term for a girl: "filly." Male libbers may also look askance at the use of "booty" as a posterior descriptive, especially when thinking of the denotative "loot" or "treasure." Even "groovy" has its potential as a sex offender when thinking of its origins as "in the groove," meaning exciting or stimulating, seen most strongly in song lyrics such as "shake your groove thing." But there seem to be two levels at which these terms work. On the public level of usage, offense seems to occur more readily from idiomatic animal comparisons like "chick." On the private level, there is, at times, an enjoyment, amusement, and enthusiasm for the malleability of our language. So on one plane, certain highland clans may take humbrage at "scot free" (though it has no relation to the many derogatory references to Scottish cheapness), while on another, the inner group enjoys a certain mockery of itself. And terms change from negative to positive (as in "yankee") or shift focus (as in "honky"). Am I making sense here? Perhaps I need some Dutch courage or maybe I'm just horsing around (originally a sexual idiom).