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Debate: Upset people

Updated Sunday 7th August 2005

Diana Honeybone from The Open University had a question about the names used for those people who relish permanent discontent

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The first 'word4word' programme concentrated on two groups of words, both describing behaviour that the speakers disapproved of or disliked. I wondered what other changing words of that kind came to listeners' minds - such as 'what do you call someone who complains all the time?'

When I was younger, our local expressions were 'a moaner' or 'a grizzler'. The 'grizzler' was usually used for small children but 'moaner' gave rise to nicknames like 'Moaning Minnie' - of course, the 'Harry Potter' series has a miserable character called 'Moaning Myrtle'. But recently 'whinger' seems to be gaining in popularity. Is it a generation issue, or a regional one?

And what about terms for people we like or admire, as well as the derogatory ones? Are there more terms for the disagreeable than for the agreeable in slang or local dialect? Has any listener started a collection yet?


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