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“OK man we all do it differently I didn't mean to diss you.” (daum.net)

Reading a Korean news that a girl singer ‘디스 [dɪs]’ an actress in her SNS, I wondered what this Korean word mean. It’s not in any Korean dictionaries but some other websites, and its meaning is from ‘disrespect,’ they say. And ‘diss’ seems to be really used in English expressions like these. What I now like to know is is it used common? at least not rousing antipathy? Consulting Koreans’ websites, they’re using them without being found fault with. It’s rather whether knowing the fad word or not that is matter.

  • "Without drawing crabs" isn't an expression I'm familiar with. – snailcar Sep 19 '14 at 2:23
  • @snailboat, I've changed it 'without being found fault with.' – Listenever Sep 19 '14 at 4:25
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Diss is a very informal slang term, which I believe arose out of African-American Vernacular English. While it is, in fact, short for disrespect, the definition of disrespect in question is not the one typical to mainstream English. This transitive verb disrespect in AAVE does not mean merely failing to show proper deference for another's dignity: it means to be deliberately rude to someone to express contempt for them.

You might get more accurate usage if instead you mentally translate diss as disparage or insult. This latter choice is particularly felicitous, as it, like diss, can function either as a transitive verb, e.g. Don't you diss/insult me! or as a noun, e.g. Was that a diss/insult?

Some free advice: as a heuristical rule of thumb (i.e. not an always thing, but a good way to bet), assume that whenever a white Westerner talks about anything having to do with respect, honor, face or similar concepts -- and diss certainly qualifies -- there is a subtext that has to do with race or class. So while diss is not an offensive term and isn't hard to use grammatically correctly, it may invoke undesired issues and associations, if you don't know what you're doing with it.

  • "Codeswitcher, why do you say all mention of respect, honor, and face by white Westerners has something to do with race or class?" "Because while there are honor-based white communities, they are all minorities within their larger cultures. So when a white person is talking about such things, they're either from such a culture themselves and speaking from a context of being oppressed, or they're either contrasting something to or appropriating slang from other peoples' cultures." – Codeswitcher Sep 19 '14 at 0:25
  • -1 For "assume that whenever a white Westerner talks about anything having to do with respect, honor, face or similar concepts... there is a subtext that has to do with race or class." This is absolutely not true. Some free advice: making statements like that is itself racist and will generally be taken with offence. – reirab Nov 10 '14 at 23:50
  • You are correct, though, that using slang terms that may have connotations you aren't familiar with may get you into trouble. – reirab Nov 10 '14 at 23:54
  • It is no more racist to notice white Westerner's language usage patterns than it is to notice the patterns which make up African-American Vernacular English. Different cultures within a language group use language differently, and it's important to be frank about the social meaning of those usages. – Codeswitcher Nov 11 '14 at 5:33
  • Noticing a pattern is one thing. Generalizing views to an entire race, however, is racism. Incidentally, in case you weren't aware, white Westerners talk about respect quite regularly in contexts that have absolutely nothing to do with race or class. Respect is a pretty common concept across all races/ethnicities. – reirab Nov 11 '14 at 6:25

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