Friday, 4 December 2009

Check out the Word for the Day - and communicate better!

Have you had a moment to look at the Word for the Day section in the side bar? Every day there is a word from the Oxford English Dictionary with a definition, origin and history as well as the implementation of the word, including quotes. You won't ever have to look for ideas for your Lexicology- or Grammarian's slot on the programme or for interesting words with which to spice up your presentations!

For example, today's interesting word is "skank". Did you know this word? You may have heard the word used by the teenagers waiting at the bus stop -- referring to someone they do not approve of as a 'skank', or 'skanking off' on their parents, and then you may have wondered where this word came from and what it means. (Probably this usage comes from the definition of 'skank. skanked', meaning, swindle or cheat. What do you think?) I most certainly did not know its 'real' meaning -- but I know it now -- thanks to our very own "Word for the Day"!

skank, v
orig. Caribbean.
1. trans. To throw (a person) over one's shoulder. rare.

1971 Daily Gleaner (Kingston, Jamaica) 14 Jan. 6/5 When they beat me and cut me up he..hold me from behind and I tried to skank him (throw him over my shoulder).

2. intr. To perform a freestyle dance to reggae music (cf. SKANKING n.); (hence) to perform or play reggae music. Also (colloq.): to sashay, strut.

1973 Weekly Gleaner (Kingston, Jamaica) 24 Jan. 13 The dancer, according to his mood, can rock slowly to the bass, or go all out and skank to the drums. 1987 Observer (London Suppl.) 20 Sept. 38/1 In London, you can..skank along Railton Road in Brixton until you come to The Legend, a bar built to celebrate the memory of Bob Marley. 1995 Wired Aug. 150/2 Under Cover has a talented DJ/singer skanking in a pleasing dance-hall style. 1998 C. CHANNER Waiting in Vain (1999) xix. 344 Behind her, beneath the thatch-roofed pavilions, the guests were skanking to old rock-steady choons and slamming dominoes on plastic tables and telling duppy stories.

3. trans. and occas. intr. To con, swindle, or cheat (a person).

1981 West indian World 31 July 4/1 Apparently Jaybird..a try skank him out of his hard earned bread. 1989 Independent 22 Mar. 19/7 Some of the younger girls on the Line try skanking{em}taking the money up front and then jumping out of the car. 1994 Sunday Times 16 Oct. (Style section) 26 You always buy from people you know, otherwise you get skanked and find you've spent, say, £50 on half an ounce of hash and they've given you less.

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