11th March 2011 at 00:00

Neg (v)

Means To put down or undermine someone publicly

Usage Teacher: "I think your homework could do with a bit more 'work' and a little less 'home'." Pupil: "Miss, did you just neg me? That was a proper negging there, I swear."

"Neg" is such a perfect abbreviation that, like the best Yoofspeaks, it takes on a life of its own, growing to be more than its humble beginnings. Somewhat innocuously derived from "negative", it is quick-fire shorthand for any act of undermining in a public space. Been bad-mouthed in front of your friends? You have just been negged. Yet it is not a new word, and was popularised in the Noughties for an older generation by pick-up artist extraordinaire Neil Strauss and his dating bibleexploitation guidebook (delete as appropriate) The Game, which championed the act of "negging" for all single males - pointing out flaws in attractive women to undermine their confidence. Obviously, this kind of cynical manipulation is right up the Yoofs' street, and so it has been co-opted to explain all forms of aggressive negativity, to be ranked alongside "hating" as the defensive verb of choice.

Matt Hill.

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