Friday fun: telling old people how language has changed while they haven’t

This article is a good larf. A woman had to inform her mom that “jizzing on” didn’t mean “egging on”. I have had similar conversations with my Irish dad. The world change. People don’t. (Though, in fairness, the things my father says are usually either paradoxical weirdnesses — “He’d be dead 20 years now if he’d lived to Friday” or complete fabrications, like seeing the word “facsimile” and pronouncing it “fashismile”… The 90s were difficult.)

The Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan would be delighted if not perhaps surprised to learn that the malapropism, a word inspired by his character Mrs Malaprop in his 1775 play, The Rivals, to describe a similar sounding word misused to comic effect, is still alive and well and entertaining people on Twitter.

Sheridan sadly did not come up with a character – let us call her Mrs Jizz – who made a habit of uttering words whose meaning has over the course of a generation or two changed from innocent to lewd.

These twin strands came together this week in an entertaining Twitter thread, which started off with this revelation by @punchedmonet_

“My mam said the words ‘jizzing on’ as in she meant ‘egging on’ and I had to tell her not to say that cus it means something else and she was like what!!! but honestly I don’t know how she invents these things.”

Similarly, @miscfionn recalled: my art teacher in secondary school used to always tell us to “jizz things up a bit”.

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