Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog

Still Waxing

Yesterday’s Good Word, wax (the verb) also set Paul Wertz to thinking. Today he wrote: “How about giving a go to the word as used by fighter pilots “I waxed him and he went down in flames.” meaning “I shot at an enemy aircraft and damaged or destroyed him”. [The word r]efers to significant damage or destruction, nothing minor.”

This is a slang term that hadn’t caught up with the good Doctor. It only occurs a few hundred times on the Web. It is used in sports a lot to indicate a complete defeat and, as Paul points out, indicates “destruction” both literally and figuratively. I did see one bizarre comment that “[he] waxed hiim 2:1”. 2:1 is a waxing?

So where does this new use of wax as a slang term come from? Time to throw our intuitions into the old crystal ball and hope for the best.

All the examples I found by googling and yahooing used the word the way I would use shellac as a verb: “We shellacked them 102 : 56.” Now that would be a shellacking. So what would be worse than a shellacking? To be shellacked, dried, and waxed. My money is on this etymology.

One Response to “Still Waxing”

  1. final word Says:

    Greetings: Getting “waxed” refers to death of a moth as it flies closer and closer to the flame of a candle, snuffing out the candle and it’s life as well. The moth also ends up encased
    in wax ( head and shoulders ).

    Glad to be of service.

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