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Joined: October 10, 2003  (email not validated)
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This one has always been interesting to me. Before the TV show South Park openly critisized Kyle (one of the 4 main characters) for being Jewish, I was completely unaware that the word could be used as a derogatory noun. Even before it became used in this way people often used the word "jew" as an offensive transitive verb, as in "to jew down the price" which, I believe, originated with the idea that Jewish people are often frugal.

The word is not inherently defematory, but when used with a certain tone of voice or in the right context it can considered offensive. I find this usage of the word inane and ignorant.

I do agree with Joachim though; a likely possibility is that being Jewish has been considered shameful for hundreds of years (although recently it has become more acceptable.)

Ryan October 10, 2003, 8:43pm

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Although I would generally consider the two words synonymous, I believe that, by etymology, "doofus" implies a more "goofy" or careless act of stupidity. The word "idiot", by less familiar definition, is used to describe a mentally incompetent person and therefore, in its more common definition, should mean a person who is simply stupid.

Ryan October 10, 2003, 8:07pm

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