Re: the RPD Writeup on ‘Fleek”

Upon reading the tag for the Ragtag word of the day, and after looking at the Urban Dictionary invective referenced therein, I just—JUST—could not resist the following diatribe on one of my fav hobbies-hosses (trying to grave our vocabulary in concrete tombs) which also includes one of my pettest peeves—undervaluing the full, social, historic, and emotional power of words (in this case “decimate”).

It do sound like we have an elitist writing for Urban Dictionary. This elitist person wrote this on Urban about the phrase “on fleek:”

A word used by those intent on decimating the English language, and further depleting the ever dwindling repository of individuals capable of intellectual conversation.
For anyone who uses the term ‘on fleek’ I’ve added links to the
big words to help you out.

via giphy

Here is a Urban Dictionary definition so missing the glory of the vast tumble of our lovely language that

  • It denigrates new stuff,
    • And supposes that “repositories of individuals capable of intellectual conversation” are actually inneresting (sp).
  • seems to suggest using “big words” is how one should define social wonderfulness
    • (can you not hear the sweet superior sniff)
  • it requires a .gif to invectivize a point.
    • Which fails to recognize (irony here) that a .gif invective (big word, that—Wow! I may be joining a repository) is as fastly changing the language as any fleekin’ “fleek.”
  • It is so careless (and I do not use that word carelessly) of the full power of each and every single syllable of a word that it tosses off “decimate”
    • as if it were only about changing things
      • rather than about taking one-in-ten people from a bunch of people and running a sword through every single one those one-in-ten hearts.
  • It uses the flat definition of Urban Dictionary to explain “decimate”
    • !Of all the big words in the Universe to be explained by Urban, this is probably not it!

But alas, alack, I do complain too much. Both “fleek” and “decimate” tell the real story of our Language.

IT LIVES, Thank god! IT LIVES, a vibrant vivacity to our very day.

Ain’t that just “Fleek on”?

  • Or is it” on fleek?”
  • Or perhaps “fleekin'” crazzzy?
  • Maybe just “fleek.” Yes. I think ‘fleek’ is good.

So I repeat (with revision): Ain’t that just fleek.

Gimme a new word every day. I will fleek it up into shape. (And did you notice that wordpress.com spellcheck accommodates “fleek”?–fleeking awesome!)

9 thoughts on “Re: the RPD Writeup on ‘Fleek”

  1. You do a fine job of describing my despair as an English teacher when students would approach me to ask why I didn’t like, for instance, the world “gnarly” used as an adjective: “Wooah, gnarly, Dude.”

    Like

    1. Hi, Grannonine-, I hope that your despair is not that gnarly is used adjectively, but that the target audience is adverse to slang?

      If I were still in the classroom, I would find this an interesting course of discussion.
      Thanks

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My biggest point of despair was that it was the ONLY adjective this kid EVER used for anything good or positive. He was utterly unaware that there were hundreds of other options–and he didn’t care. He just floated through life saying, Gnarly, Dude.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Fun post and I agree with you. I didn’t look up the links of the guy denigrating the word but thought he was fairly representative of people who get a tad upset every time a new word gets coined and becomes rapidly popular. I find the whole process of how new words pop up and become accepted or not; and how people react to them very interesting. Words coined by cobbling together two old words have an easier time. So do old words with brand new meanings. Also there looks to be an age prejudice — words coined by middle-aged journalists are more acceptable to some than words coined by teenagers. I love the process of language though. It’s so cool!

    Liked by 1 person

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