Are “Slacks” & “Trousers” Totally Over? According To The New Yorker, Yes
Like “anon” and “methinks” before it, the word “slacks” may soon live only in the annals of utterly archaic words from the English language…
The New Yorker’s Culture Desk blog asked readers to submit, via Twitter, one word from the English language that they consider utterly useless and worthy of elimination from our lexicon. “Superfluous adverbs took a beating: people unloaded on ‘literally’ and ‘actually’,” the site says of the results. “One woman challenged anyone to think of a case in which a deleted ‘actually’ changed the meaning of the sentence. But there’s reason and then there’s rhythm, and ‘actually’ is actually useful as a useless dactyl. Other entries were conceptual: a number of readers wondered if eliminating ‘hate’ would eliminate hate. We checked. It would not. (Nor would ‘war.’).”
After digging through thousands of suggestions for words that deserve to be shelved, the editors at The New Yorker came to a conclusion: “In the end, though, we zeroed in on a set of suggestions that sought to update the language of everyday fashion. It wasn’t something we had considered until it was mentioned; then it seemed obvious, even inevitable. They took aim, mainly, at a pair of words for a pair of pants, ‘trousers’ and ‘slacks,’ proposing that they had overstayed their welcome. After a protracted backroom session—arguments were impactful on both sides of the issue—we settled on slacks, which was suggested by multiple entrants, but first suggested by @Nemesisn4sa.” The word will be banned from thenewyorker.com for one week as a prize!
I took the issue to my husband, who uses the word “slacks” not infrequently, and he became deliriously defensive. “What do you call something that’s more than khakis but not part of a suit!?” he demanded. “Those are slacks. Not just pants. We need them.” Do you agree, or are you on the side of The New Yorker, that slacks and trousers are a bygone thing of the past? Should those words be removed from the English language? Do you use them? Discuss!
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