back to article Yanks officially recognise the word 'boffin'

We're delighted to report that the word "boffin" has achieved the international recognition it so richly deserves, securing a spot on the Merriam-Webster "Top 10 Favorite British Words" list. And where better for Merriam-Webster to find an example of this magnificent term than on the pages of El Reg? The dictionary's website …

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Pint

A sentence containing all these words?

Is it even possible?

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irresponsible!

What a prat! You realise that productivity in IT facilities throughout the land will now plummet, servers will crash and be ignored, hell-desk phones will ring unanswered as the entire readership of el Reg spends the next couple of hours crafting such sentences!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Irresponsible

The twee, knackered, gormless, pukka prat cum boffin liked to whinge while drinking plonk and employing jigger-pokery to explain what chunter means.

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irresponsible!

Productivity in IT facilities throughout the land HAS plummeted as knackered servers crash and are ignored, hell-desk phones have rung unanswered as gormless wannabe boffins whinge about the immense difficulty of crafting a pukka paragraph (that reads normally despite containing words like "Twee" regardless of the amount of jiggery-pokery you use!) Still, while we are doing it the Boss is knocking back plenty of Plonk to relieve the stress and the hell desk geeks discovered that his wine is a bit twee when they half inched a bit, thus proving Helldesk "techs" are just a bunch of prats.

BINGO!

(Note to confused yanks. Half inched = pinched.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: irresponsible!

As the gormless prat chuntered on, his whinge penetrating my knackered brain, I felt the need for a glass of pukka plonk - not a twee bistro white, but something fortified by a wine boffin's ABV-boosting jiggery-pokery.

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Downvoted because

...there really should be something better for you to do, Lester, than read the drivel we post here.

There isn't? Oh, OK, then.

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not to be confused with . . .

. . . boffing.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/boffing

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Anonymous Coward

But, but...

not to be confused with . .

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/boffing

They have evidently confused boffing with shagging.

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Joke

you mean to say

That boffingry isn't the long form of boffinry?

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IT Angle

We're all IT here.

That would be more total ignorance of matters boffing than mere confusion about the origins of little boffins.

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Anonymous Coward

Twaddle

Not the article, just one of my favourite words.

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Heart

Shufti.

+ many other words inherited from the Raj or the colonial armies; they help separate the UK and US unilinguals.

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Happy

'Chunter' is a good word, but I'm more interested in 'mega-whinge'

Is there an accepted conversion rate for whinges? I know that us Brits are more prone to whinging, while Americans generally just complain. The difference is between muttering "This toast is burnt!" to your wife and shouting "HEY MANAGER! - MY TOAST!".

But I hadn't realised that a whinge could be quantified. Perhaps it could be a useful economic measure, like an inverse of happiness.

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The point

I prefer burnt toast over, well, bread.

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Coat

Standradization of whinges: a valid point

Indeed, if you shout it's not a whinge, it's a complaint. A mega-whinge is either a whinge that that has high temporal extent, or one that is just extremely annoying, despite being brief. A standardization committee is required to make this more precise: the words kilo-, mega-, giga- and tera-whinge should not be used frivolously!!

I'll get me coat

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Joke

Boffin - sexual activity

as in 'Cor blimey, I wouldn't mind giving that eruditite young lady Paris Hilton a damn good boffin'

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says:

Well done El Reg.

Nice to see the Boffin definition is Registorial and not the derogatory Sun "idiot engaged in useless (because we can't see an immediate use for it) science" version.

I'm surprised the Merkins didn't pick up on Merkin though.

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My fellow Merkins,

And I, tend to see the 'e' as a schwa, and so think of Dapne Merkin. Not that I've ever read her books, though I was impressed to see her as one of the editors of "Playboy: The Complete Centerfolds."

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merkin

is already a word outside its slang use for a (US) American. It works on different levels.

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the derogatory Sun

The "idiot engaged in useless (because we can't see an immediate use for it) science" version.

Yes. That's the same definition we use here.

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good news...

because my occupation is listed on my passport as "boffin". Hopefully there will be fewer raised eyebrows at US immigration in future...

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Boffin

Pics or it dn't happen..

You can blank out everything else.. But I have got to see this! pleaease...

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Big Brother

Occupation on passport?

Is this a new UK passport design or that of another country? No passport I've ever had shows my occupation ...

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Missing vocab

I'm 18, and personally never heard 'chunter' or 'pukka', but 'gormless' is certainly one of my favourite words :)

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Don't make me feel old!

Is "pukka" really one from the by-gone years? It was certainly a big word when I was still legally allowed in playgrounds (as a child, I mean; I don't have any dodgy convictions).

I can't say I've every head "chunter" before though. And I'm not entirely sure that "twee" is ever used outside of being ironic...

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Pirate

You are old

I'm 24, and I knew what pukka meant but the only person I can remember using it is my (mid-50s) dad.

(skull because of how old that is)

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FAIL

Pukka ?

Pukka - British ?

They'll be saying Bungalow is a British word next... and, since when was British a language, it's English !

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Anonymous Coward

English

Yes, bungalow, veranda and pajamas are all English words.

In case you hadn't noticed, English is a filthy slut and takes all comers.

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Pint

Well, you say that, but.....

Bungalow is of Hindi origin, veranda is a mix of Hindi and Portuguese and pajama is the American spelling of Pyjama, which is an Urdu Persian mix.

Source : OED

Writer : Pedant.

P

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More to the point,

Nobody has used the word 'pukka' since Jamie Oliver made anyone using it look like a fat-tongued spittle dribbling pretentious moron.

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British?

Yup, done that.

Went through a load of 'Proper English' words for the benefit of a racist.

He got pissed off about 'Denim' as well. (didn't have the heart to tell him that 'computer' is an occupation, his head was already crimson. Also didn't tell him that 'The Pub Landlord' is a parody, a piss take, a shining example of all that's dumb with the Proper English)

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aka

a prat!

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Anonymous Coward

Yes I do say that.

Is pedant an English word?

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Stop

Well.... sort of........

ORIGIN

C16: from French pédant, from Italian pedante, perhaps from the first element of Latin paedogogus (see pedagogue).

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Denim.....

... is a great one.

How many of Uncle Sam's most vehement supporters realise they are wearing the French national cloth ? After all, there is nothing as American as 'denim', is there ?

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Anonymous Coward

Whinge

I haven't used most of those words since the late 90s. And in the case of "prat", since the late 80s.

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Happy

Really?

You some kind of boffin or somesuch to stay so sequestered from the world and then whinge about common language? Think you need to stop being a pratt, get out a bit, chunter along to a pukka pub and have meet some real people who know more than cumputerese.

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Stop

John Dee,

Please report to the INS for an interview. There seems to be some doubt about your residency status.

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Martin Robbins...

...Has anyone contacted him for a quote?

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Unhappy

Yanks officially recognise the word 'boffin' ... what a surprise :(

I've always felt the word Boffin has been used to give the same negative derogatory connotations as a word such as Geek. Its so often used as a subtle put down, to deride educated people like us.

So while the title Boffin (or a Geek) would apply to me and my friends, I would never think to use it, because there is an element of at best derision and at times, its used for outright unkind malevolent sarcasm. But then to find America wanting to use the word is hardly surprising.

Its like I said yesterday, about the insecure American way of social life, is for kids so often having to worry about seeking the acceptance of their fraternity peer group leaders and of the kids being endlessly racked with guilt and insecurity if they cannot get in and all the while, the peer group leaders loving their power and attention as they force new members to do humiliating things ... The point is the insecure fraternity peer group leaders are exactly the sort of people who seek to deride educated people like us and words like Boffin & Geek are used by them as part of their derision. Its like America has become one giant fraternity and anyone who is educated gets partly ostracised. Its no wonder America is falling behind in education with their society becoming so over run with fraternity like thinking. For example,

Out of 34 countries tested, "the U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math." Meanwhile the top 3 countries were China, Singapore and Hong Kong in 3rd place. Also whilst China's political system is different to the US, its hard to ignore how many scientifically minded people are high up in its government. e.g.

http://singularityhub.com/2011/05/17/eight-out-of-chinas-top-nine-government-officials-are-scientists/

America needs to be encouraging not disparaging to educated people, to help encourage their next generation to help their country compete in worldwide markets. The way its going, they will leave America for a better life in other countries and the UK is going the same way. In the UK our own arrogant fraternity style peer group leaders in our society conveniently forget the UK's wealth was in many ways vastly built up on the successes of the Industrial Revolution created by previous generations of us Geeks and Boffins. If they want to repeat that, they need to be encouraging not disparaging or we will take our knowledge to other countries who do respect and reward what we can do for them.

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Grenade

Oh, get over yourself

You have just shown weakness on the Reg comments section. I recommend you stop whining, grow a thicker skin and prepare for the assault.

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math???

i think you mean mathematics.

mathS for short, if you must.

maybe reduced attention spa i par o th proble :-

Boffin, as has been discussed at length here, is not a pejorative term at all. Say boffin and most will have a mental image of, say Einstein, Barnes-Wallace, Heaviside, or even good old Blumlein. except for the sun reading classes who will possibly see Heinz Wolff (if an accent can be seen[ and lets face it if any accent could be seen, his must be one of the more visible]) pretty illustrious company.

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@ Asgard

Oh for goodness' sake, get over yourself.

"Boffin" is a neutral word which is only derogatory if the person using it intends it to be so. The fact that the citation used is from this organ (where writers and readership delight in the progress of science) tells me that the compiler responsible for producing the list, in his or her professional opinion as a linguist (or whichever variety of boffin they may be) considers the reason for "boffin" being a favoured British word for Americans to be its use in the positive sense.

Only one hypersensitivised through years of mainstream tabloid pejorative use of the word would take offence at ANY utterance of it, regardless of context or intent.

Keep at it dear Reg; thanks to you the world knows the real meaning of the word. Down with the Sun/Daily Mail/Express flat-earthers and their denunciation of science.

Boffinry works, bitches!

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WTF?

What're you on about?

I've always thought 'boffin' was a term that denoted 'smart person who is doing things beyond our understanding' and therefore was implicitly flattering.

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Stop

Why is boffin an insult?

"So while the title Boffin (or a Geek) would apply to me and my friends, I would never think to use it, because there is an element of at best derision and at times, its used for outright unkind malevolent sarcasm. "

Geek isn't, as described here:

http://catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/G/geek.html

Which says (among other things):

"A person who has chosen concentration rather than conformity; one who pursues skill (especially technical skill) and imagination, not mainstream social acceptance."

and

"Correspondingly, there are now ‘geek pride’ festivals (the implied reference to ‘gay pride’ is not accidental)."

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Happy

A boffin replies...

Dear Mr Dogged, you're just identified yourself as the kind of person who seeks to victimise people (just like these insecure people I mentioned in my previous post) but you forget, knowledge is power, so the more you say, the more we learn, like your derogatory words such as "whining" and seeking to protray me as weak and thin "skinned" which is just identifying yourself more clearly as a troll.

The irony is, portraying someone as weak, is a sign of a weak person seeking to put others down, to make themselves feel stronger and more powerful, thereby highlighting their inner weakness. But then I'm a boffin, so its to be expected that I would see such things, because us boffins think deeply about such subjects, such as psychology. Also I'm not going to play your game, but I am surprised you didn't end up by at least calling me a Geek or a Boffin ... I've been called it many times and it doesn't bother me, but I do recognise the insecure thinking hidden behind why some people seek to put others down to make themselves feel bigger and better ... That's a clear sign of insecurity in them, not strength and everyone being treated like that (if they don't already know), will learn from your example, which clearly shows its you and not them, who are really at fault, thereby invalidating your words as thinly veiled derogatory manipulations. By the way, I would like to politely thank you for your lesson. ;)

But then you can see from my previous post that I can see through the put down bullshit. But that's the wonder of the Internet. It acts like a Petri dish to watch your kind, as us Boffins and Geeks find the most effective mind bleach to pour over the poor trolls. Usually the most effective means is simply denying them more attention, because they want attention. Ah didums, want some attention. ;)

So anyway I really don't care what you have to say in reply to this post (after all, we wouldn't want to give you more attention now would we ;) … but don't forget, knowledge is power. Have a nice day and thank you for your invaluable lesson in the true nature of trolling. :)

Signed, very politely, one of the "boffins" ;)

p.s. it works best if you read my post in the polite style and tone of V for Vendetta. ;)

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Re: A prat replies

a) TL:DR

b) Don't care: didn't read.

c) I recommend a large daily treatment of "man the fuck up".

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@Naughtyhorse

Unfortunately "Math" and "Maths" is one of those divisions in our common language, one of the few which if very obvious when spoken, and yes, it makes me cringe too!

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@dogged: "TL:DR"

Your very well practiced nonchalance, after seeking to put others down, is simple a way to pretend nothing can get back at you, no matter what you think you can do to others.

p.s. On behalf of Boffins everywhere, I would like to thank you once again for your continuing invaluable lesson in helping to see thought the true nature of trolls. :)

Your sacrifice for the betterment of the world is most appreciated. ;)

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