• git •
Pronunciation: git • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: (British slang, mildly pejorative) A stupid person, an idiot, dumbbell, moron, half-wit, imbecile, lamebrain, lunkhead, simpleton, or fool.
Notes: With such an armory of personal insults as the synonyms of today's Good Word listed in its meaning above, we might well wonder why we need yet another. But it is here already, so we have to deal with it. Git is a purely English creation but remains a lexical orphan with no related words to support it in its sad job of insulting those whom it labels.
In Play: Just remember that this word is basically a mild insult that could still hurt the feelings of someone present: "What kind of git would sit there and calmly eat his peas, one by one, with his steak knife?" Git is a flexible enough insult, though, that may be used humorously or even sympathetically: "The poor old git had his pants on backwards when he left the house."
Word History: Today's Good Word originated as a mispronunciation of the noun get, referring to something that has been gotten. Just as the result of rejection is a reject and the result of rewriting something is a rewrite, the results of getting is a get, though this usage is rare in the US. In some areas of northern England and Scotland, get came to refer to the results of begetting, the progeny of animals. Puppies, piglets, kittens, foals, then are all gets of their parents or owners. When this meaning spread to humans, it of course took on a pejorative meaning of "brat", especially the brat of an unwed mother. This sense then captured the imagination of English speakers throughout the UK, who adopted it with its dialectal pronunciation git for half-wit rotters. (I wouldn't want to be the git who forgets to thank Luciano Eduardo de Oliveira, one of the Good Word editors, for suggesting this odd little Good Word.)