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#1
Old 03-28-2011, 04:11 PM
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"douchebag" as a pejorative

What is the origin of the term "douchebag" used as a pejorative?
#2
Old 03-28-2011, 04:15 PM
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The OED indicates it derives by adding "douche" to "bag" (meaning unattractive woman). It's first cite as a pejorative dates from 1967.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OED
1967 Amer. Speech 42 228 Douche bag, n. phr., an unattractive co-ed. By extension, any individual whom the speaker desires to deprecate.
.

I would guess that the "douche" was a way of intensifying "bag."
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#3
Old 03-28-2011, 04:16 PM
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There was a Saturday Night Live skit back in the late 70s/early 80s that had "Lord and Lady Douchebag" in it--not sure if the insult predates that.

ETA: Heh. RealityChuck beat me to it--I guess it does!

Last edited by Infovore; 03-28-2011 at 04:16 PM.
#4
Old 03-28-2011, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Infovore View Post
There was a Saturday Night Live skit back in the late 70s/early 80s that had "Lord and Lady Douchebag" in it--not sure if the insult predates that.
That was one of my favorite skits from that era. It was a formal ball attended by all of these historical figures whose names wound up become associated with their creations (the Earl of Sandwich, etc.) Buck Henry played Lord Douchebag -- when asked what he'd been up to, Lord Douchebag said, "I've been working on a new invention; my wife was the inspiration for it." Lady Douchebag (Gilda Radner) asked a servant if she could have a salad with "vinegar and water" dressing.
#5
Old 03-28-2011, 04:28 PM
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I prefer douchnozzle, myself.

It's so much more...perjorative!
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Old 03-28-2011, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
The OED indicates it derives by adding "douche" to "bag" (meaning unattractive woman).
I'm probably reading too much into this, but a bag is part of the douche, um... assembly(?) so it seems unlikely the two words were added together just for the insult. This page seems to agree, citing it's use in a 1908 nursing handbook, but it also quotes OED about when it became an insult. It's nitpicking but maybe it would be more accurate to say they replaced bag with douchebag?

If OED is the Oxford English Dictionary, it looks like you need an account to access their douchebag site.
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Old 03-28-2011, 06:46 PM
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I first heard it in the movie "Running Scared" with Gregory Hines and Billy Crystal. I believe Hines calls a priest a douchebag (he thinks he's impersonating a priest to smuggle cocaine across the border). I was 11 at the time, and oddly no one would tell me what it meant...
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Old 03-28-2011, 06:55 PM
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When I hear the term now, it always seems to be directed at a male, and seems to imply that the recipient is behaving in an overly self-important or flamboyant manner, and has an exaggerated sense of self-worth. Is this how the term is generally used now, or is this just one particular use of the term? When did it start being used in this manner?
#9
Old 03-28-2011, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
That was one of my favorite skits from that era. It was a formal ball attended by all of these historical figures whose names wound up become associated with their creations (the Earl of Sandwich, etc.) Buck Henry played Lord Douchebag -- when asked what he'd been up to, Lord Douchebag said, "I've been working on a new invention; my wife was the inspiration for it." Lady Douchebag (Gilda Radner) asked a servant if she could have a salad with "vinegar and water" dressing.
From another SNL skit
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woman
Autumn Fizz -- [ she burps ] the carbonated douche. [ they exchange glances ] Don't leave him holding the bag.
#10
Old 03-28-2011, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Fubaya View Post
I'm probably reading too much into this, but a bag is part of the douche, um... assembly(?) so it seems unlikely the two words were added together just for the insult. This page seems to agree, citing it's use in a 1908 nursing handbook, but it also quotes OED about when it became an insult. It's nitpicking but maybe it would be more accurate to say they replaced bag with douchebag?

If OED is the Oxford English Dictionary, it looks like you need an account to access their douchebag site.
Yes, the OED confirms the term existed before in the non-pejorative sense and certainly was an influence. But the basic pejorative comes from the meaning "bag" as an unattractive women. No doubt someone saw the connection between that and the medical device and conflated the two.
#11
Old 03-28-2011, 10:57 PM
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While the OED is the go-to quick reference, Joh Lighters Dictionary of American Slang is the ultimate source. And, since the OED probably hasn't updated the "Ds" since the 1989 version, it actually goes back to the 1940s. Still, at that time, it was usually used as a derogatory term about a woman. So, it probably was an extension of the "bag" term to demean a woman.

This would, IMHO, be like calling a woman a "cunt" in the 1940s. It was that severe.
#12
Old 03-28-2011, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
It's first cite as a pejorative dates from 1967
Very interesting. Pat Conroy, in The Lords of Discipline, depicts its use (in the modern sense of "a man that I don't like") as being ubiquitous at The Citadel as far back as 1963. I've always wondered if that was an anachronism. Of course the word may have been common among army and military-school types before gaining written currency.
#13
Old 03-28-2011, 11:28 PM
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I remember "sleighbag" being used as pejorative for unattractive or promiscuous females around 1967 or so. Perhaps "douchebag" morphed from that into an insult toward males.

Last edited by Starving Artist; 03-28-2011 at 11:29 PM.
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