The History of the Word “Dude”

So, like, what, dude, is a “dude”? In The Atlantic , J.J. Gould traces the origin of the word . In modern English, the context matters a lot:

Dude may be the most Mandarin Chinese word in American English. In Mandarin, depending on how I intone the single syllable ma, I could be saying “mother” (mā), or I could be saying something as radically distinct as “horse” (mă).

Dude has a comparable quality. Just think of the last time you did something awesome in the presence of a friend who affirmed your awesomeness with the exclamation Duuude! Or the last time you said something objectionable to someone who began setting you straight with a firm and sober Dude. There may not be any obvious difference in denotation between these cases, but the difference in connotation is, you’ll appreciate from experience, pretty major.

Dictionary definitions, Gould goes on to say, seem to have little to do with popular usage but rather fit older times. A dude may be defined as a dandy, which it did in Nineteenth Century America. But more recently, for a man to call another a dude is to affirm a common bond of masculinity. It’s an expression of familiarity from man to man. Though, Gould notes, women often use it, too.

Read More Here…


Key Terms…
  • So , like , what , dude , is a “ dude”? ↔ E daí, tipo, o quê é que, cara, quer dizer “cara”?
  • traces ↔ segue
  • intone ↔ entoar
  • objectionable ↔ ofensivo, censurável
  • setting you straight ↔ te corrigir
  • sober ↔ sóbrio
  • pretty major ↔ muito grande
  • goes on to say ↔ continua a dizer
  • little to do with ↔ pouco a ver com
  • fit ↔ encaixam
  • dandy ↔ dândi, janota
  • common bond ↔ elo comum


objectionable ofensivo, censurável
O que devo fazer se alguém publicar uma foto censurável no Facebook? ↔What do I do if someone has posted an objectionable photo on Facebook?
Essas observações infelizes e condenáveis chocaram o público polaco. ↔These unfortunate and objectionable remarks have shocked the Polish public.
setting you straight te corrigir
to make certain that someone understands something exactly
I set her straight about who she had to ask for permission to leave early.
Don’t worry, I set him straight (on this matter).
Here, experts set the record straight on which motherly advice is worth taking.  
little to do with pouco a ver com
This kind of specialized knowledge has very little to do with daily life. ↔Esse tipo de conhecimento específico tem muito pouco a ver com a vida cotidiana.
common bond elo comum
The bond of friendship is strong and lasting.
My common bond with him is that we grew up in the same neighborhood.
There is a real emotional bond between them. ↔Há um verdadeiro vínculo emocional entre eles.
During the crises, each bonded with the other, building a lifetime friendship. ↔Nas crises, juntaram-se um ao outro, construindo uma amizade vitalícia.


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