Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Brash - "Vulgarly Self-Assertive"

Brash, Assertive, Man on a mission
Photo by Henry Bloomfield


Adjective. Originally dialectical. Early 19th century.
[Perhaps expressive form of rash.]

1 Rash, impetuous; cheeky; vulgarly self-assertive. E19

2 Rough, harsh; active lively. US. M19

Brash is an unusual choice for Lexicolatry. It's not an unusual word, nor does it have a particularly interesting etymology. However, I do love the word itself, and particularly the way that the OED defines it: "vulgarly self-assertive". Who doesn't know a person like this, or see examples of it every day? The person that vulgarly asserts their right to better service without even giving the waiter a chance to change the incorrect order. Perhaps it is a brash policeman, vulgarly demanding that his authority be yielded to when everyone was already more than willing to cooperate without the boot stamping. Or perhaps it is the budget-airline staff, tightly trained to be humourless, inflexible and brashly smile-free. Self-assertiveness is a good quality, an important quality, but it need not be brash or vulgar. That's not even selfless thinking: when it comes to getting what you want, a smile and mannerly approach goes a long way.

Do you deal with brash people?

Are you a brash person?

Do leave your most vulgarly self-assertive comments below.

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