Thread: Social "Morays"
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Old 01-27-2020, 04:05 AM
Horatio Hellpop is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Jeju-si, S. Korea
Posts: 10,003
Originally Posted by John W. Kennedy View Post
We’ll just ignore the fact that “call a spade a spade” (16th century) is centuries older than the racist usage of spade (20th century), and the fact that “call a spade a spade” refers to the digging implement (from Anglo-Saxon spadu), which is a completely different word from spade the playing card suit (from spada, Italian for “sword”).
You're being disingenuous. A word or expression can have wildly different meanings in different centuries or milieus. Sure, "bitch" means female dog--at the kennel. That doesn't give you a free pass in the office. And while "niggardly" has, I'm sure, the most innocent of etymologies, the manager who famously used it with a black employee in the DC budget office a decade or so back should have known better. He sure does now. An expression's modern connotation exists quite separately from however Christopher Marlowe or Oliver Goldsmith originally intended it.