â€˜Fogeyâ€™ and â€˜geezerâ€™ among questionable nicknames for old men.
By Chrysti the Wordsmith of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle
The male elders among us must frequently endure disparaging nicknames. â€œFogeyâ€ is a slightly condescending slang term for one who holds fast to antiquated notions. Fogies are often elderly, but not necessarily so. Even a young man can be a â€œfogeyâ€ if his ideas are outdated enough.
The origin of this term is unclear. It may be a variant of an older sense of the word â€œfoggy,â€ a Scots term meaning â€œmoss-covered,â€ and by extension, old and inert, just like a fogey.
On the other hand, the term may have had a specialized military meaning. In 18th and 19th century England, â€œfogeyâ€ or â€œold fogeyâ€ were nicknames for an invalid or elderly soldier. â€œFogey pay,â€ a term current during the 19th and 20th centuries, was longevity pay, or a pay increase awarded to a soldier after a given number of years of service.
How about the wry moniker â€œgeezer?â€ The Oxford English Dictionary says this word is a dialectal pronunciation of the word â€œguiser,â€ one who masquerades or goes about in disguise. Such a character is whimsically attired and peculiar in personality, a common observation made about elderly eccentric men.
Other questionable nicknames for older or hidebound males are â€œduffer,â€ â€œcodgerâ€ and â€œfuddy-duddy.â€ The stories behind these terms are on the pages of any good dictionary.
Chrysti M. Smith is a Belgrade writer. The audio version of Chrysti the Wordsmith is produced at KGLT-FM at Montana State University. She can be reached through her website, www.wordsmithradio.org
For the GeezerGuff opinion, read What’s a Geezer?