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October 03, 2005

Word of the Day: Chav

Here's an article that starts off rather innocuously (but amusingly) talking about a someone who won the lottery in Britain: "'Before he won the lottery, he was a nuisance,' Charles Joyce, a local official, said. 'He decided to carry on being a nuisance.'"

But about halfway through, it segues into something else: "Mr. Carroll is an object of national fascination in part because of his apparently pathological criminality, and in part because he represents a kind of Briton known as a chav." From then on, the article talks about chavs, a word I never knew existed until now. "Male chavs wear tracksuits and baseball caps; female chavs pull their hair tightly back in buns or ponytails." Oh yes, we have them over here in America also, except we call them Federlines.

The story covers the origin of the word ("the theory that it is an acronym for Council Housed and Violent is most likely untrue") and examples of chav behavior ("outrageous spending sprees, drunken brawls, inappropriate public displays of affection, screaming matches with loved ones in bars, destruction of property, late-night stumbling and/or vomiting").

Once you know the word, of course, you can hop on to your favorite search engine and discover there are over a million hits for it (in one year!). You've got ChavScum, ChavWorld, the chav test, Chav Olympics, chav dating site...and on and on and on.

Posted by AdamBa at October 3, 2005 09:05 PM

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Federlines! HA! Brilliant!

Posted by: DJ at October 3, 2005 09:57 PM

welcome to the British world.

Adam, will you now be adopting the word rather than Federlines?

Posted by: Jaz at October 4, 2005 02:58 AM

Ah, the famous British Chav has made it accross the pond I see. You will be over run with them soon. For a true Chav overview, there is nothing better than a good game of Chav Top Trumps...available at http://www.completeshite.com/chav/chavtoptrumps.pdf

Posted by: Wrighty at October 4, 2005 08:58 AM

Actually I'm not sure how you even pronounce the word. I assume the initial ch is just the standard one -- not like in chutzpah? And does it rhyme with have or love or slav (same vowel sound as chop). Of course we're talking British English here, where I guess "have" and "slav" rhyme already...so any answers may not have a clear translation back to Yankee English.

- adam

Posted by: Adam Barr at October 4, 2005 10:54 AM

It rhymes with "HAVE" with a hard CH as in "CHOP"

Posted by: at October 6, 2005 05:04 AM