I met with my new freshman advisees this week (all classes start Monday) and when everybody was talking about what they did over the summer the student peer advisor working with me (who happens to be African-American) said she spent most of the summer "just bojangling."

When I expressed surprise at her use of the word she didn't know why and neither did anybody else in the room.

Now it sounded to me like it was a term freighted with racial meaning, but apparently not. Nobody ever thought of it like that. I said, well you wouldn't call me an ofay, right? But nobody knew that term either. (Actually, that doesn't surprise me).

Bojangling is rather astoundingly not in the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang or in the Dictionary of American Regional English. I was really surpised, I have to admit.

So, no official "usu. considered vulgar or offensive" to back me up. Still the word strikes me as off, am I really alone in this?

You can google it and it comes up in something called the Urban Dictionary as meaning "Wasting time doin' random shit"

Apparently it is also an adverb with this meaning:
"adverb: Description for a promiscuous set who have a defined 'relationship' but are not an official couple. For this reason, the term provides clarity, while also ironicly providing intentional ambiguity of the nature of said 'relationship'.

The term is derived from the frequency of these sets to arrive at Bojangles from the 10am-1pm range during any given weekend that follows a night of heavy drinking which leads to afore mentioned promiscuous choices. The act is driven by the desperate thirst for sweet tea, and not caring who sees the two of you at bojangles because the need for a hangover cure is so great

These sets typically arrive only as a pair and both in pajamas and sandals. The ladies of this set also typically sport mens shirts and pony tails."

But Urban Dictionary seems at least partially designed to give funny definitions so people buy mugs, t-shirts, or magnets with the words on them.

Dictionary.com has a more pointed definition of bojangling with a decidedly racial component drawn from the Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears

So not exactly a neutral word, but interesting that it rankled none of my students. I won't be using it.


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