August 23, 2005
In the news of the Odd: Arab syn for begger
This little news item offered me a bit of bemusement insofar as it is just plain odd:
The primary question in my mind is not the 'pejorative' synonyms per se, but their.... well oddness. I mean if I ponder I am certain I can think of pejorative synonyms for Arab, but begger and 'welfare bum' certainly don't crop up.
Really quite peculiar.
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You've never read Sherlock Holmes? His "Basil Street Irregulars"--an investigatory division of homeless children--were generically called "street arabs." It's pretty old slang.
Posted by: Jackmormon at August 23, 2005 01:44 PM
if you look up anything about the arab israeli conflict on wikipedia, everything related to palestine (like arafat, the plo, fatah...) are noted for thier lack of neutrality. while even self-proclaimed jewish terrorist organizations like the stern gang are not. i assume this is because there has been an organized campaign on the wikipedia to discredit arab history, and the pro-palestinian side has not engaged in a similar such adventure.
my guess is that this is similar to the thesaurus listing of "arab".
Posted by: johnboy at August 23, 2005 02:50 PM
Yeah, Street arab was a victorian phrase. It's very out of date though, but it should stay in the dictionary as a historical use. However an online thesaurus, I would assume, is primarily used to really find synonyms that will work in modern usage, so I agree it is stupid to have it.
Posted by: Anna in Cairo at August 29, 2005 07:07 AM
The answer to the first comment question, by the way, is perhaps I may have, but that would have been many a long decade ago in my youth. I am a philistine little disposed to frilly fiction now.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at August 29, 2005 09:09 AM