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Monday, December 13, 2004

CHAVS and other buzzwords of the year

The Daily Telegraph solves one mystery for me by discussing the etymology of the slang word CHAV. Presumably as the Telegraph is required reading for former and present members of Cheltenham Ladies' College, many of their readers will already know this, but there will no doubt be many former Colonels and current Judges who will be encountering this word for the first time. The Telegraph explains:

When you see a stunted teenager, apparently jobless, hanging around outside McDonald's dressed in a Burberry baseball cap, Ben Sherman shirt, ultra-white Reebok trainers and dripping in bling (cheap, tasteless and usually gold-coloured jewellery), he will almost certainly be a chav.

If he has difficulty framing the words "you gotta problem mate?" then he will definitely be a chav. Very short hair and souped-up Vauxhall Novas are chav, as is functional illiteracy, a burgeoning career in petty crime and the wearing of one's mobile telephone around the neck.

Chavs are most at home in run-down, small-town shopping precincts, smoking and shouting at their mates. A teenage single mum chewing gum or drawing on a cigarette as she pushes her baby, Keanu, to McDonald's to meet the chav she believes to be his father is a chavette.

CHAV apparently stands for "Cheltenham Average". It is such a condescending, class-based term, I do not think that I will be applying it to anybody very soon. However, if the Telegraph really wants to do the English Language a service perhaps its next etymological feature could define precisely what qualities are required for a band to be classed as "Indie" and why!

I believe that ne'er-do-well shell-suited gum-chewing young folk from Newcastle have been called 'charvers' for ages
I heard CHAV stood for "Council-Housed And Violent"
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