Wordsmith.org: the magic of words

Wordsmith Talk

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  

Topic Options
#1628 - 04/27/00 09:12 AM word "guinea"
helen c thomas Offline
stranger

Registered: 04/20/00
Posts: 1
Could someone shed light on the derivation of the word "guinea" when used as a somewhat pejorative
or disparaging description of one of Italian descent similar to the use of the word "wop" for instance?


Top
#1629 - 04/27/00 01:46 PM Re: word "guinea"
jmh Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/00
Posts: 1981
I don't know about the usage you describe. Is it used in any particular place?

You probably know that a guinea was a unit of UK currency - one pound and a shilling -it's still sometimes used for prizes for horse races (100 guineas, for example). I don't know if there would be any link there.




Top
#1630 - 04/27/00 04:02 PM Re: word "guinea"
pieman Offline
stranger

Registered: 04/27/00
Posts: 20
I don't know what the origin of the word "guinea" is, but I have heard it used as a slur towards Italians.
It is also used in another way, one that is perhaps related. A "guinea-tee" is a white tank-top undershirt, worn by men. I'm guessing that it is related to the pejorative use of "guinea". I've also heard this undershirt called a "wife-beater." Whether or not these are all related, I don't know.



Top
#1631 - 04/28/00 07:54 AM Re: word "guinea"
paulb Offline
addict

Registered: 03/17/00
Posts: 460
Loc: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
My Shorter Oxford indicates that the word was used (early 19th century) to describe a black person, especially one recently arrived from Guinea or West Africa. By the late 19th century, it was used derogatively (in the US) to describe an immigrant of Italian or Spanish origin. It doesn't suggest any link between the two terms.


Top
#1632 - 04/28/00 09:06 AM Re: word "guinea"
tsuwm Online   confused
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10513
Loc: this too shall pass
Someone must have really loathed the Itals; guinea originally applied to West African slaves and dago initially referred to Spanish sailors.

http://members.aol.com/tsuwm/

Top

Moderator:  Jackie 
Forum Stats
8715 Members
16 Forums
13802 Topics
214472 Posts

Max Online: 3341 @ 12/09/11 02:15 PM
Newest Members
mepallav, discopig, Byz, EdithBraemar, sherilla
8715 Registered Users
Who's Online
1 registered (jenny jenny), 34 Guests and 1 Spider online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Top Posters (30 Days)
Bazr 115
LukeJavan8 87
wofahulicodoc 85
endymion6 84
jenny jenny 63
A C Bowden 34
Tromboniator 8
Faldage 5
olly 3
zmjezhd 2
Top Posters
wwh 13858
Faldage 13801
Jackie 11609
tsuwm 10513
Buffalo Shrdlu 7210
AnnaStrophic 6511
LukeJavan8 6305
Wordwind 6296
of troy 5400
BranShea 5282

Disclaimer: Wordsmith.org is not responsible for views expressed on this site. Use of this forum is at your own risk and liability - you agree to hold Wordsmith.org and its associates harmless as a condition of using it.

Home | Today's Word | Yesterday's Word | Subscribe | FAQ | Archives | Search | Feedback
Wordsmith Talk | Wordsmith Chat

© 2014 Wordsmith