Please tell me about "git" (noun)

I picked up this word on the boards and I like it a lot because it’s short and to the point and it even sounds like what you are describing. It’s a dick/shit/pissant what has gotten me into a snit.

So at least in my mind I have started referring to “that stupid git”, etc. Should I have any reservations about using it? Is there a sexual connotation to anyone, like wanker or bugger for Brits? Is it really a curseword/obscenity (like “dickwad”)and I don’t know it, or is it mild and not loaded, like “jerk”/“idiot”??


n : a person who is deemed to be despicable or contemptible; “only a rotter would do that”; “kill the rat”; “throw the bum out”; “you cowardly little pukes!”; “the British call a contemptible person a `git’” [syn: rotter, dirty dog, rat, skunk, stinker, stinkpot, bum, puke, crumb, lowlife, scum bag, so-and-so]
Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

No sexual connotations, no loading, just a very handy little word.

No, nothing sexual. As with many derogatory terms, it’s vague and depends on context. “The Old Gits” were characters from a few years ago in Harry Enfield sketches, two old men who spent their whole time finding things to complain about and being mean to each other and everyone else, and pretty much demonstrate the most typical use of the word. Think Grandpa Simpson.

It also gets used in more generalised ways. A lid that you can’t unscrew could equally be referred to as “what a bastard”, “come on, you fucker” or “you little git”. Or someone who comes out with an amusing insult might get the light-hearted response “you git”. Depending on company :wink:

Another famous British Git: the character Alf Garnett in the BBC comedy “Till Death Us Do Part” (Warren Mitchell) had a lazy son-in-law from Liverpool (“Mike Rawlins”, married to Alf’s daughter, Rita) whom he habitually called an idle or randy Scouse Git (Scouse = Liverpudlian). Back in the mid-60s it was considered quite shocking to hear the word on TV.

The Monkees’ “Randy Scouse Git”, which I presume was some sort of homage to “Till Death …” was generally referred to over here as “Alternate Title” so as not to offend the kiddies.

By the way, the actor who played the son-in-law, Anthony Booth, is actually Tony Blair’s father-in-law.

I believe “All In The Family” was loosely based on “Till Death…”.

I would say it means someone who is viciously, constructively stupid; a person who goes out of their way to obstruct common sense or to cause pointless inconvenience to others, of course as an insult, its usage is far broader, but whereas Doctor Evil is a generic bad guy, Mini-Me is a git.

IIRC it is derived from get- slang for child, with a half hidden implication that the child is unwanted- either illegitimate or subnormal. Get as begot, and begot as misbegot.

Hence implying bastard or useless.

Git is to mad old bloke as Bint is to mad old woman in my lexicon.

It generally refers to slightly senile older people who do funny things that are not particularly offensive (otherwise they get much more derogatory labels). A ‘Git’ is a person who toddles across the busy intersection against the red light, or one who rails madly against liberals/conservatives/whacky conspiracy theories when you shout them a beer in yer’ local pub. They’re mad old gits.

Git thee hence and experience the Monty Python sketch about Mr. and Mrs. Git.

[kb]Kabukta** is no doubt right about Oz, but in Brtish usage, it seems to me that we can call anyone of whatever age “a stupid git” or “a useless git” (sometimes “get” in Scotland) and it seems to mean roughly the same as stupid/useless jerk. Funnily enough, it occurs to me that I seldom would use it without a qualifying adjective, although that might be must me, for all I know, whereas you could say that someone was a “jerk”, needing no adjective.
Me, I’m a lazy procrastinating git, so please forgive any typos as I dash out to the world. :slight_smile:

So “git” was the part of it that was considered offensive? Maybe the way asshole and bullshit have become accepted on TV more recently…

I would usually go with “stupid” in front of either one.

Thanks for the info and references, all!

Naah, kam’s being a git. :smiley:

I’ve always used it as the British do. Anybody can be a git. To me, it has a main connotation of stupidity, more than many people have been mentioning here. A git will do something stupid, but they can be a generally stupid person, or it might be a one-off display of absent-mindedness. Git-like examples of stupid behaviour can be endearlingly stupid or annoyingly stupid, but never extremely stupid. I don’t think you could call Dubya a git for his foreign policy because that’s too serious, but you could call him a git for leaving the microphone on. The guy that stalls his car in front of you at the lights is a “stupid bloody git”, as is the bloke who base-jumps off skyscrapers. A guy who cuts somebody off in traffic is a git, but only if he does it to somebody else. If he does it to you, he’s an arsehole, not a git.

Kambuckta’s example is correct though, but only as a specific type of git.

I always thought it was randy which was causing the offence. Randy = libidinous.

Agreed, forget Grampa Simpson, a git is never meant in a soft or friendly way like, perhaps, “daft bugger.”

Its meant as an indication of malevolence beyond what is necessary or a lack of skills and/or knowledge that someone should have for their sake and others.

And let’s not forget the Beatles called Sir Walter Raleigh “such a stupid git” in “I’m So Tired”.

So I am assuming someone who acts stupid in traffic would qualify?? That seems to be when I wield the term most often.

Indeed, someone who should know better for their own sake and everyone elses, but blithely goes ahead knowing the chaos they’re causing.