Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I was listening to videos of British people discussing various subjects. In one video, I heard somebody use the word "guyed". By the context, I could to that to be guyed is to be insulted or mocked. But it was such a terribly odd word to me. In fact, I don't know if I had ever heard it before.

When I pondered on it, the root word was "guy". I happen to know that the word guy comes from Guy Fawkes, a character from history who is often mocked and burned in effigy (which is why a generic, faceless dude is a "guy"). So clearly, as a verb, it makes sense that guying someone is mocking them. Still though, why had I never heard it before?

Simply put? Probably because I'm American. Guy Fawkes means absolutely nothing to the average American. He had no part in our history in any direct manner. We don't know what Guy Fawkes Day is, nor do we know when it is or why it matters (unless you are a particular fan of V for Vendetta). As such, this somewhat colloquial term never entered our language.

It is a remarkable thing how people who speak the same language can end up really speaking quite different languages, just by growing up in different locations. The differences in vocabulary and speech patterns, though, are an excellent way to identify and add specialness to your characters. It's not always easy, but it is a powerful tool when writing.

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