Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Wednesday 6/10/2004Congratulations! As a reader of ZDNet UK this week, you're part of a rarely observed phenomenon -- the exact moment when a word passes from street argot to mainstream English.

Wednesday 6/10/2004
Congratulations! As a reader of ZDNet UK this week, you're part of a rarely observed phenomenon -- the exact moment when a word passes from street argot to mainstream English. That word -- roll on the drums please -- is chav. Type it into Word or OpenOffice.org, and you'll get a wavy red line: not for long.

You may already have heard of it. You may, indeed, already be a chav. For those who haven't -- or aren't, or who don't know whether they are or not -- it can best be described as a mildly derogatory term for a member of what the definitive Web site chavscum.co.uk calls the urban underclass. It's already popular among the more sardonic middle classes, and Mike Skinner of The Streets is reputed to be starring in a new movie called Chav. But it hasn't found universal acceptance.

Until today. Our leader today -- while nominally about Symbian -- includes much discussion about how brands can move between classes of product. The original had possibly actionable references to football hooligans which, after some thought, we replaced with chavs. Would enough readers know about chavhood? Tough call, but we thought so -- and publishing in an environment where Google is a click away encourages a little envelope extension.

Unbeknownst to us, at the very time our story was percolating through the great yet remarkably well-oiled machinery that is ZDNet UK's production department, our arch-rivals the infinitely evil and totally untrustworthy Reg, are doing exactly the same thing -- only being the Reg, they've devoted a whole story to the World of Chav with nary a nod to the world of IT.

So with two sources of such impeccable reputation behind it, we can safely say that chav has been thoroughly approved and is now ready for general use by ladies of quality, men of the cloth and respectable families throughout our great nation.

Enjoy.

(PS -- VNUNet also used the word this week, but as the company promptly shut down its News Centre operation and made large numbers of staff redundant, we think it better not to mention the fact.)