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Re: Backseat drivers

Posted by R. Berg on May 30, 2001

In Reply to: Re: Dippin' posted by ESC on May 29, 2001

: : : : : : : "Buttinsky" is actually fairly common. I've seen a Briticism in print, "Nosey Parker" (sp.?). But that one has the similar drawback of being associated with a particular ethnicity: Anglo-Saxon whiteness. Any phrase you can name will have come from some language or other and will therefore belong to some ethnic group. Well, ethnic, shmethnic, as long as we're communicating!

: : : : : : I heard 'sticky beak' in an Australian soap opera. From the context it appeared to be an Oz version of nosey parker.
: : : : : : Gary

: : : : : My husband calls me "Gladys Kravitz" when I peer out the window at the neighbors. (I can't help it, they're fascinating.) Gladys was the nosy next-door-neighbor on "Bewitched," an old TV series.

: : : : The phrase "backseat driver" implies more activity than someone who looks out windows. I'm interested in phrases about people who insist in involving themselves in others' business, uninvited. - Patty

: : : There's "kibitzer," but that would surely flunk the (minority) ethnicity test. Let's face it, Yiddish is full of pithy expressions, some of which have entered American English. Too bad "someone who reads over your shoulder, out loud, and gives you the crossword-puzzle answers" is so awkward. --rb

: : Heavens, lad, I'm not against people using Yiddish ... especially if they're Jewish they have every justification. What I *do* like about the old "backseat driver" is that it sort of creates an image in an English-speaker's mind. But I think it's a bit archaic now, and there are so many fresher phrases for things these days. -Patty

: "This Dog'll Hunt: An Entertaining Texas Dictionary" by Wallace O. Chariton (Wordware Publishing, Piano, Texas, 1989, 1990):
: INTERFERING - You're dipping your quill in my ink bottle. You're branding my cows. You're messing with what comes under the heading of my business. You're hanging your wash on my line. You're trying to put your leg in my shorts. You're dipping snuff outta my can.

: NOSY - Always hunting something to meddle in. Got her nose in everybody's business but her own.
: The quill phrase reminds me of a Black English phrase - "dippin' in my business."

Patty, it's not a lad you're addressing. I'm too female to be a lad and too old to be a lassie. People here have got my sex wrong before; it makes me wonder whether my writing style might be too masculine.

There are the ordinary words "meddler" and "busybody." Then there's "gate crasher," which evokes a mental picture but doesn't have the whole set of desired meanings. --rb