WHAT S.U.P. FOR THE WEEK FACT

WHAT S.U.P. FOR THE WEEK FACT

                                                          

DISGUSTING THINGS

             

OFTEN USED TO ACCUSE SOMEONE OF EXCEEDING HIS ALLOTTED LEVEL OF FUNK, P.U. IS, SURPRISINGLY, NOT AN ACRONYM, BUT, RATHER, LIKELY WAS DERIVED SIMPLY FROM THE PRONUNCIATION OF ITS PARENT WORD.

DATING BACK TO THE EARLY 17TH CENTURY, A COMMON EXCLAMATION OF CONTEMPT FOR A FOUL ODOR WAS PYOO. AS ENGLISH SPELLING HAD YET TO BECOME STANDARDIZED, THIS WORD WAS ALSO WRITTEN AS PUE, PEUGH, PEW AND PUE. ALTHOUGH EACH VARIANT WAS CORRECTLY PRONOUNCED PYÜ, OFTEN IN PRACTICE, AND PARTICULARLY TO EXPRESS OUTRAGE, BOTH SYLLABLES WERE STRETCHED OUT WITH THE PRONUNCIATION: PĒ-‘Ū (PEE-YOU), WHICH, OVER THE YEARS, HAS BEEN CHANGED INTO P.U.

AS FOR WHERE THE 17TH CENTURY VERSIONS CAME FROM, THIS IS ANYBODY’S GUESS, WITH SOME LINGUISTS POSTULATING THAT PERHAPS IT CAME FROM THE LATIN “PUTEO,” MEANING “STINK, ROTTEN, PUTRID.”