Skip to content

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

Speech bubbles Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Jupiter Images

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?

 

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?

Other content you may like

Speaking Shakespeare: How was Shakespeare pronounced when he was writing? Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team video icon

History & The Arts 

Speaking Shakespeare: How was Shakespeare pronounced when he was writing?

How do we know what actors sounded like when they performed premieres of Shakespeare plays? The clues, as ever, are in the lines themselves...

Video
10 mins
Star Wars VII: Myth and fairy tale Creative commons image Icon Kristina Alexanderson under CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0 licence under Creative-Commons license article icon

History & The Arts 

Star Wars VII: Myth and fairy tale

What storytelling styles and genres can be applied to Star Wars? Sara Haslam investigates...

Article
Debate: Metres and yards Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Jupiter Images article icon

History & The Arts 

Debate: Metres and yards

Forum guest Riane Martin saw signs of modernisation in how we talk about distance

Article
Debate: Indian influence Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Jupiter Images article icon

History & The Arts 

Debate: Indian influence

Forum member Rob Owen was on the trail of the words borrowed from Indian languages.

Article
What is emotive language and why is it used? Creative commons image Icon Les Cunliffe | Dreamstime.com under Creative-Commons license article icon

History & The Arts 

What is emotive language and why is it used?

Nigel Warburton helps us grapple with the nuts and bolts of thinking clearly, with the aim of presenting good, clear, logical arguments - in order to achieve your desired effects.

Article
Debate: The England team Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Jupiter Images article icon

History & The Arts 

Debate: The England team

Forum member Akfarrar asked why the BBC seems happy to use the clunking phrase the England team?

Article
Debate: BBC English Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Jupiter Images article icon

History & The Arts 

Debate: BBC English

Forum guest Kev asked about the accents we hear on television and radio.

Article
Debate: School slang Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Jupiter Images article icon

History & The Arts 

Debate: School slang

Forum guest Rob Owen wanted to hear the latest from the schoolyard

Article
Exploring the English language Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission free course icon Level 2 icon

History & The Arts 

Exploring the English language

How has the English language changed over the course of the last 500 years? What are the social and political contexts that have affected how these changes have come about? This free course, Exploring the English language, will consider the development of the English language from the 15th to the 19th century.

Free course
9 hrs