August 6, 2007, - 1:42 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Don’t be ignorant. Learn what the glittering ignorami know. (I know, I know, it’s ignoramuses, but I like ignorami better.)
USA Today teaches us a new word, “shawty.” If you thought it was someone with a Southern, New York, New England, or Cajun accent’s version of shorty, you would be right . . . in another era. But now, shawty means woman. (I hear the new word for man is “be-ig”.) And that’s from the authorities in the Queen’s, er . . . the Hoodz English, like Yung Joc and another guy that sings, “I’ma Buy You a Drank.”
More from my new lexiconologists at McPaper:
A trio of shawty-titled songs have been bubbling up the airplay charts in recent weeks ‚Äî T-Pain’s eight-week No.1 hit Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’), featuring Yung Joc; Plies’ Shawty, featuring T-Pain; and Lloyd’s Get It Shawty.
And probably at least another dozen current songs use the term in their lyrics.
Shawty – a Southern derivation of “shorty” or “shortie” (Bow Wow’s Shortie Like Mine was a hit last year) – has multiple meanings, according to several Internet slang dictionaries. It can reference a good friend, a small child, a newcomer or even someone shorter than you.
But the most prevalent use, and the one found in these songs, is to describe a girlfriend or particularly attractive woman. That’s what T-Pain has in mind when he sings, “I’ma buy you a drank/Then I’ma take you home with me/I got money in the bank/Shawty, what you think ’bout that?”
T-Pain says he uses the term so much in everyday conversation that it was only natural for it to work its way into his music.
“It’s something that’s just real fun to say, like ‘homeboy’ or ‘homey’ or any other slang for a friend or girl,” he says. [DS: It's fun to speak like a pimp?]
The term has been around for a few years, and the Tallahassee, Fla., singer/rapper says he’s not sure why it has become so popular. “It just started catching on and people started putting it in songs like crazy,” he says. “I don’t know if it’s because of me. It came from Atlanta, as far as I know. It’s Atlanta’s time right now, and I guess all of their slang is going out across the board.” . . .
“I find the term a little flirty,” says Cori Murray, Essence entertainment editor. “I don’t find it disrespectful. It’s like ‘boo’ a couple of years ago.”
Memo to self: Word I never used, “boo,” is out. Word I’ll never use, “shawty,” is in.
Gotta keep up with these trends in the great popular celebration of illiteracy.
Tags: Atlanta, bank, Bow Wow, Cori Murray, Essence entertainment editor, Florida, Internet slang dictionaries, New England, New York, Plies, Queen, Shortie Like Mine, singer /rapper, USA Today, Yung Joc