daily preciousness

Monday, July 15, 2002

painful news

Painful news.

My name is in the slang dictionary. No, it's not a synonym for "cool" or "nifty." Nothing that nice. Nothing very new, either.

It actually appeared in the 1930s.

"Jeff" is a noun meaning white person. In the 1940s, it appeared as a verb, meaning "to take on the values of the dominant white society."

In the 40s, it became a noun meaning "a tedious person."

Ouch. There was no call for that....

According to the dictionary of american slang (3rd ed.), the expression probably came from Jefferson Davis, the confederate president during the civil war.

The only other appearance of the name Jeff is in the term "Silver Jeff." That's a term meaning nickle or quarter.

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