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August 15, 2006

Multi-Purpose Words

Yesterday my friend Shawn gave me an interview from the New York Times Magazine with Andi Zeisler, co-founder of Bitch, my absolute favorite magazine. The interview was in honor of the magazine's ten-year anniversary and the publication of its anthology, BitchFest.

The interviewer asked Zeisler why they chose the word "bitch," which is usually considered an "unappealing female stereotype." Zeisler replied that the choice of name was partly to reclaim the word bitch for "strong, outspoken women," but that they were also using bitch as a verb, which means to complain or kvetch. The editors say more about the b-word here.

As a language geek, I love these multi-purpose words, words that can be nouns, verbs, or adjectives (bitchy), as is the case for most four-letter words. The most versatile word in the English language is probably the f-word, which can also be an adverb, as used by Mr. Biggs in Sex and the City ("absof--kinglutely"). Now if only I could use them in my academic writing...

Posted by eklanche at August 15, 2006 11:37 AM

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