Sunday, November 06, 2011

Tosser v. Wanker

Okay, so the above sounds like a legal case, perhaps where a sociologist is suing an English prof.

But it is a serious question of "dicktion." (Apologies; couldn't help meself)

Both names are insults, clearly, and both refer to Onanism. (I assume that women are never called tossers / wankers, yes?* I mean, they can technically do the analogous thing, but it's just not the same. Brits, or Tommy the Brit, feel free to join in here...)

My impression is that calling someone a wanker implies total dismissal, not just an insult but saying the person wanking is beneath contempt.

Tosser is in relative terms more jovial, less insulting. The tosser is perhaps a pompous and useless idiot, but a wanker is not serious, someone who is just fooling around. In short, then, Andrew Lansley is arguably a tosser, but Justin Bieber is clearly a wanker.

Of course, I probably have this wrong. Since I am going to London soon to visit Tommy the Brit, I need advice.

Wanker, or Tosser, for the well informed visitor looking for just that right holiday insult? Some other possibilities...

*I found some references that would claim that a female tosser is a "strummer." But that misses the point. The goal is not to find a word for a woman pleasing herself (as the '80s Franklin-Lennox anthem said, "Sisters are doing it for themselves!"). Rather, the question is what is the analogous INSULT. I also found "bean flicker." I wish I hadn't found that, but I did.

3 comments:

Otto Rock said...

They are fairly interchangeable, but at depth wanker is stronger, more insulting, than tosser. The neatest example I could think of in the 5 mins is that you could introduce a friend of yours to a third party in the following way and your friend wouldn't be upset:

"This is Andy. He's a bit of a tosser sometimes but he's alright."

But your friend would be upset to hear:

"This is Andy. He's a bit of a wanker sometimes but he's alright."

Mungowitz said...

Thanks, lad! Clear, and useful.

Anonymous said...

I have a funny feeling I'm going to get my ass kicked around the my local when I take munger in--

God Save the Queen and Tommy the Brit!