Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Of gals and girls

I was reading about the etymology of ‘gal’ earlier today, not because I was jobless, but because I have always been irked by the distortion of that simple word ‘girl’ to ‘gal’ by young and old alike. 

It is surprising that there are at least a hundred thousand others around the world who share this concern and rant about it incessantly online. But, this isn’t a rant post, so am moving on to what I found.
  1. An online etymology dictionary states that gal is slang for girl, commonly perceived to be Cockney vulgarism.
  2. The Wiktionary claims that gal refers to an adolescent girl or a young woman.
  3. The Wikisaurus, while calling the word colloquial and dated, says that woman is an antonym of gal!
  4. The Urban Dictionary, the mecca of those new world mutations such as selfies and titties, defines gal as referring to bird, bitch, slut, hoe, girl, woman, pussy, lady and even sex! But, the same dictionary also wants to redeem itself by giving a new twist to the word with this definition – an awesome person who was well-known in her city before leaving for an exotic place – whatever that means!
  5. Random online forums, where many random people say random things, thanks to internet, mobile apps and that unquantifiable luxury called freedom of speech, claim the following:
    • Men used to refer to their secretaries as gals and their girlfriends as girls
    • Men called their lady friends as gals, just like how they called their male friends as pals
    • Gal was used as a substitute to that very derogatory word, bitch
    • Gals and chicks can be used interchangeably
No matter where I go, I can see nothing but an ugly reference to the word, save Wiktionary and Wikisaurus. Why still do we put up with this word? Is it to make ourselves look cool? 

But, I am no one to ask this question, for, I am part of a google group that carries the word in its name. The only saving grace is that it is a very dormant group, and so, I do not contribute too much to the sin of using ‘gal’.

Then again, I am also part of a group that carries horny in its name. And it isn’t a dormant group. The only saving grace there is that I am not able to find any conceivable sin in using the word ‘horny’.


Booklovers Melbourne said...

Hey there "gal-pal :) what triggered this thought??

On a different note, I haven't used google groups in ages!

Kavity said...

That's an interesting question. Bihag Bhatt's chat response to something with a "Thank you gals" triggered this entire blog post :)
Yes, with the advent of whatsapp, Google Groups' usage has gone down significantly. But, I miss those long chains of mail threads, that one can go back to and read even today. So much fun and happiness! Whatsapp is too real-time with no focus on history, for my liking :/