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Encyclopedia > Spic

Spic (also spelled spik, spick, or spig) is an offensive ethnic slur used in the United States and occasionally in the United Kingdom[1] for a person from Latin America or of Latino/Hispanic descent, sometimes including Spanish and Brazilian persons. The term is generally not capitalized. Spic can be used both as a noun and an adjective, and is even used at times as a name for the Spanish language. For example, Ernest Hemingway in Winner Take Nothing (1934, page 200) wrote: "I wish I could talk spik [...] I don't get any fun out of asking that spik questions." The following is a list of ethnic slurs that are, or have been, used to refer to members of a given ethnicity (or in some cases, nationality, region, or religion) in a derogatory or pejorative manner. ... Latin America consists of the countries of South America and some of North America (including Central America and some the islands of the Caribbean) whose inhabitants mostly speak Romance languages, although Native American languages are also spoken. ... Latino (and the form Latina for females), as used in American English, generally refers to a United States national of Latin American descent, especially Hispanic American heritage. ... The Hispanic world. ... In English, a noun or noun substantive is a lexical category which can co-occur with (in)definite articles and attributive adjectives, and function as the head of a noun phrase. ... An adjective is a part of speech that modifies a noun or a pronoun, usually by describing it or making its meaning more specific. ... This article is about the international language known as Spanish. ... Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American novelist, short-story writer, and journalist. ...

Contents

Early usage

The term was apparently initially used by non-Hispanic Americans during the 1904 U.S. takeover of construction of the Panama Canal.[1] Motto: (Out Of Many, One) (traditional) In God We Trust (1956 to date) Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner Capital Washington D.C. Largest city New York City None at federal level (English de facto) Government Federal constitutional republic  - President George Walker Bush (R)  - Vice President Dick Cheney (R) Independence from... Two Panamas running the Miraflores Locks. ...


In American literature, the word has been dated to around 1916, when its first known written usage was by Earnest Peixotto in Our Hispanic Southwest, page 102. One of the first recorded usages of the word was in Ladies' Home Journal, on September 17, 1919, when it wrote: "The Marines had been [...] silencing the elusive 'spick' bandit in Santo Domingo". Its history before that time, however, is less certain. It was also used by William Faulkner in Knight's Gambit (1946), page 137, when he said: "I don't intend that a fortune-hunting Spick shall marry my mother." It was later used by F. Scott Fitzgerald in Tender Is the Night (1934), page 275, although in dialog: "'He's a spic!' he said. He was frantic with jealousy." A cover of Ladies Home Journal from 1906 Ladies Home Journal was first published February 16, 1883 as a womens supplement to the Tribune and Farmer. ... September 17 is the 260th day of the year (261st in leap years). ... Year 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar). ... William Cuthbert Faulkner (September 25, 1897 – July 6, 1962) was an American novelist and poet whose works feature his native state of Mississippi. ... Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940) was an Irish American Jazz Age novelist and short story writer. ...


Etymology

It may derive from spig, which was originally used to refer to Italians, in turn from spiggoty (sometimes spelled spiggity, spigotti, or spigoty) which may derived from spaghetti or "no spika de Ingles".[2] The oldest known use of spiggoty is in 1910 by Wilbur Lawton in Boy Aviators in Nicaragua, or, in League with the Insurgents, page 331. Stuart Berg Flexner in I hear America Talking, (1976) favored the explanation that it derives from "no spik Ingles" (or "no spika de Ingles").[1]


Finally, a third theory is that the word "spic" is from the shortening of the word "Hispanic". All three theories are in line with standard naming practices, which include attacking people according to the foods they eat (see Kraut) and for their failure to speak a language (see Barbarian). The Hispanic world. ... The German word Kraut is a generic term that is often used in compound nouns for cabbage, cabbage products and many herbs: Sauerkraut = pickled sour cabbage Weißkraut = green cabbage Blaukraut or Rotkraut = red cabbage (also called Rotkohl) Rübenkraut = thick sugar beet syrup Bohnenkraut = Savory Unkraut = Weed The word... // Barbarian is a pejorative term for an uncivilized, uncultured person, either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos perceived as having an inferior level of civilization, or in an individual reference to a brutal, cruel, insensitive person whose behaviour is unacceptable in the purportedly civilized...


A slur derived from "spic" is "spic and span" (first used in the American Negro community in the 1950s) meaning a mixed Puerto Rican and Negro couple. The phrase had legitimate currency at the time as the name of a cleaning product, "Spic And Span", before it was applied to mixed-heritage couples. This product is still sold under the same name.[3]


The product took the name from a common phrase meaning extremely clean, "spick and span", which was a British idiom first recorded in 1579, and used shortly afterwards in Samuel Pepys's diary. A spick was a spike or nail, a span was a very fresh wood chip, and thus the phrase meant clean and neat and all in place, as in being nailed down. The "span" in the idiom also is part of "brand span new", now more commonly rendered "brand spanking new", and has nothing to do with the words "Spanish" or "Hispanic".[1][2] An idiom is an expression (i. ... Samuel Pepys, FRS (23 February 1633 – 26 May 1703) was an English naval administrator and Member of Parliament, famous chiefly for his comprehensive diary. ...


References

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b c Take Our Word for It June 21, 1999, Issue 45 of etymology webzine. Accessed January 16, 2007.
  2. ^ a b Online Etymology Dictionary detailing British phrase evolving from Dutch spiksplinter nieuw, "spike-splinter new". Accessed January 16, 2007.
  3. ^ Spic N Span official website. Accessed January 16 [2007]].

June 21 is the 172nd day of the year (173rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 193 days remaining. ... 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday, and was designated the International Year of Older Persons by the United Nations. ... January 16 is the 16th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... January 16 is the 16th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...

Other works consulted

  • Hugh Rawson, "spic(k)" Wicked Words, (1989) p. 19.
  • John A. Simpson and Edmund S.C. Weiner, edd, "spic", The Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed. (1989)
  • Jonathon Green, "spic and span", The Cassell Dictionary of Slang, (1998) p. 390.

See also


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