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Gentrify

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Gentrify

Postby Dr. Goodword » Tue Aug 20, 2013 10:24 pm

• gentrify •


Pronunciation: jen-trê-fai • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: To restore and improve a run-down area of a city until it meets the standards of affluent people.

Notes: Today's word has taken on a slightly pejorative sense recently. Since poor people usually live in run-down areas, gentrifying such areas implies making them unaffordable to the people originally living there. This word comes with all the derivations available to words borrowed from Latin with the suffix -ify: gentrification, the process, and gentrifier, a person who gentrifies an area.

In Play: This word is most closely associated with improving real estate: "As developers continue to gentrify New Monia, the less affluent people who once lived there are moving into trailer parks in the suburbs." It may just as well refer to other things that are changed to meet the expectations of the well-to-do: "The gentrification of the city council has led to many improvements in the streets, the sewer lines, and water lines of the city."

Word History: Today's Good Word is a derivation of gentry, a word that arose in the 13th century as genteleri "those of noble birth". This word was made up of the ancestor of today's gentle + -eri (-ery today), a noun suffix indicating a class or category of things, such as cutlery, finery, pottery. Middle English genteleri then lost some of its innards and came to us as gentry, keeping its original meaning. English gentle was originally a borrowing of Old French gentil? "high-born, noble, of good family". Today French gentil? means "kind, nice", itself borrowed by English as genteel. The French word gentile descended from Latin gentilis "of the same family or clan", from gens, gentis "race, clan". Gentilis was also used to translate Greek ethnikos "foreign, heathen" from ta ethne "the (other) nations". In the Bible this phrase translated Hebrew ha goyim "the nations", referring to those nations aside from the nation of Israel. English gentile [jen-tail] preserves that meaning. (Today we thank Bill Lord for the gentility of suggesting this Good Word.)
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Re: Gentrify

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:54 am

Gentrification not only affects lower income people. The city I live near cooperates with builders to "improve" just about everything. There is a marvelous farmers market that has six huge sheds into which farmers back their pickups and sell their produce to the people strolling through the sheds. The city is promoting developers to modernize the farmers market. The new plan is to have an apartment complex, some high-end shops and restaurants, and ONE farmers market shed. The farmers will not be allowed to bring their pickups into the shed and parking will be limited, so I predict no farmers will come to sell their produce. We frequently "improve" things until their original purpose is rendered moot.

For non-Americans, moot has long meant irrelevant in the USA. It has been suggested we give way to the more universal meaning of moot as debatable,but I am not buying it, even if I have to explain. I like it. Moot is so, well, moot.
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Re: Gentrify

Postby Slava » Wed Aug 21, 2013 3:37 am

In case anyone is interested, here is our Good Doctor's treatment of moot.

Other items here and here.
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Re: Gentrify

Postby MTC » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:41 am

Gentrify: To affect the musical style and mannerisms of C.W. artist, Bobbie Gentry of Ode to Billie Joe fame.

Usage: The real estate developers hired a gentrified singer to promote the first phase of Choctaw Ridge.

P.S. Did they ever discover what Billie Joe and his girlfriend threw off the Tallahatchie Bridge?
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Re: Gentrify

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:39 pm

I've often wondered that as well.
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Re: Gentrify

Postby MTC » Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:15 pm

We'll never know, will we, Luke? And it's kind of sad, ain't it?
Grown men like us, slobbern' over a thing like that at a bar in some rundown honkeytonk. I mean guys like Phil, tryin' th say somethin' serus about "gentrify," and this is what we come up with? Well, let's have anthr round on it. Maybe we'll figure 't out. Hey, bartender!

Passing on to more paronomastic matters, I see fans of Bobbie Gentry feel an irresistible urge to make puns on her name. Here are a few I culled from a music-oriented site: "I will be pitching 'Re-Gentrification' as the comeback album." " Bobby has signed up with myself and well-known spiritualist Derek Acorah. We will be summoning the spirit of Professor Stanley Unwin to rap on the album "Ladles and Gentrymen..." "I've been thinking of pitching 'Landed Gentry' - concept album with Bobby doing aristocratic hunting and drinking songs."
(http://www.verygoodplus.co.uk/showthrea ... bby-Gentry)

Of course, some of you will feel we have gone quite far enough done the narrow Gentry lane when, as I say, people like Phil
attempt to address the more serious social and linguistic issues raised by "gentrify." Well, OK, then. Let's talk about reclaiming crime-ridden urban cores for a socially useful purpose--habitation for Yuppies. What about that, then?
Bettern' Bobbie?
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Re: Gentrify

Postby Perry Lassiter » Wed Aug 21, 2013 9:25 pm

Sociologically speaking, those were they days where you could still smoke except for coaches saying it "hurt your wind." I always suspect the young couple were sneaking smokes out there in the country when they saw the coach coming and pitched the pack into the drink. Or maybe it wuz beer bottles. Or if it was the end of school, textbooks.
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Re: Gentrify

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:20 pm

The titles gentleman and gentlewoman were once used in England to qualify someone as high and valued but not born to nobility. My ancestor Heindrick Heardson, now called Henry Hudson I, was made a gentleman for his exemplary work leading the Muscovy Trading Company in trade with Russia. He seemed to thrive on it. His grand-daughter-in-law, the wife of Henry Hudson the explorer, went to India with trade goods and came back with mega profits. She was made a gentlewoman and was privileged to visit with the Queen and her court at appointed times. She was roundly despised by the "real" gentry.
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