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June 19, 2003

Slang of the Week: diss (verb)

ho/hoe (noun)
prostitute or easy woman

The presidential candidate claimed to be a family man, but after he was photographed in his car with a ho, his party dissed him and his political career was over.

Celebrity quote:
“I am so angry, Nicole Kidman dissed me acted like she didn't know who I was, Michelle Sarah Geller or whatever her name is, ya know Buffy the crocodile slayer ho, acted like she was the queen backstage or something. I am so angry, wait until my next album I am going to write a song about them.”
-Eminem, talking about his bad experience at the MTV Music Awards

Eminem probably knows that Buffy slays vampires and not crocodiles – that’s just his way of dissing her. It’s something he does a lot, especially to other musicians. He calls dance music king Moby a “bald headed fag” (fag is a derogatory term for homosexual) in Without Me. In The Real Slim Shady, he accuses Christina Aguilera of being a ho. And he has also written songs dissing his mother and his ex-wife, Kim. You would think a guy named after a chocolate candy would be sweeter!

Ho comes from the standard word whore (prostitute) and has long been popular in Christmas related jokes. (What did Santa say when he walked into the whorehouse? Ho! Ho! Ho!) In hip hop music, it is possible to find examples where it is simply intended to mean “woman”, but most women are offended by all uses of the term.

On the other hand, the word also expresses laughter, and it is often used in that way. So if you don’t live in the US but come for a visit, don’t be shocked if you see Ho-hos snack cakes in the grocery store. Apparently, manufacturer Hostess (which also produces the famous Twinkie snack cake) wasn’t worried that people would misunderstand when they introduced it in the late 1960s, even though the slang word had been around for at least ten years at the time.

What’s new at Slang City?
Eminem by request! We translate his song Sing for the Moment for a fan from France. Also in MUSIC check out Eminem’s Lose Yourself.