origin of words: Faggot, catty, slag and bitch
Slang, particularly slang that is used to insult people, is often quite difficult to decipher in terms of how the words took on a particular meaning. Often a seemingly innocent word can take on negative associations over time in a manner that eventually conceals its origins to speakers. With this in mind, I chose four words today that could be semantically classified as epithets: faggot, catty, slag and bitch.
The word 'faggot' has always perplexed me. I have often heard this word used to describe someone who is gay in derogatory terms in America. According to the OED, the origin of the word 'faggot' is "a bundle of sticks, twigs, or small branches of trees bound together" for kindling. How did this become associated with sexuality? The origin of the word in the OED provides some insight. Because of the word's association...
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