Gay person

Posted by R. Berg on May 17, 2002

In Reply to: Gay person posted by ESC on May 17, 2002

: : Dear sir,
: : I watched an american sitcome, and one of its charaters referring to a gay person phonetically like /cloverboy/. I looked up the dicitonary but couldn't find the word. Have you heard such a word? Could you be kind enough to tell me what that word is, if you happen to know it. By the way, are there any expressions to describe gay people postively and negatively in each respective?

: Clover boy. I've never heard that term. I've heard negative and neutral terms for homosexuals. But nothing positive. Boys in the band. Confirmed bachelor. Women in sensible shoes. Here's a positive: women who don't have to put up with men.

A reference book, Esther Lewin and Albert E. Lewin, "The Thesaurus of Slang" (Facts on File, 1994), contains long lists of slang terms for homosexual as a noun and adjective, and "cloverboy" isn't among them. All the terms are labeled "derogatory and offensive," although I've seen gay persons use some of these terms themselves and I suspect that they didn't take offense at their own speech. What's offensive depends partly on who's talking.