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Posts Tagged ‘Learning English’


Posted by eGZact on June 19, 2008

There are quite a few familiarity markers in English – words which take on an ending to make the word sound much more familiar, or everyday, or down to earth. Ammunition becomes ‘ammo’; a weird person becomes ‘weirdo’; aggravation becomes ‘aggro’. They like it in Australia a lot – “good afternoon”, they don’t say that so often, but ‘arvo’, ‘arvo’ is the abbreviation for afternoon in Australia. 

And in the 1990s you had this rather interesting word ‘saddo’ – that’s the adjective sad with this ‘o’ ending, spelt with two ds: s-a-d-d-o. It came in as a kind of a rude word really, a mocking word for somebody seen as socially inadequate, or somehow rather unfashionable, or contemptible in some way. You might hear somebody say, “oh, he’s a real saddo” or “she’s a real saddo” – it can be for male or for females. 

It’s from the word sad of course, from oh, way back in the 1930s, where ‘sad’ here doesn’t mean miserable, it means pathetic, and that was a use of sad that came in at that time. It’s a sense in other words that’s been developing for quite a long time. In actual fact, you can take that sense of sad and trace it all the way back to Shakespeare, although he never said ‘saddo’.


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