So, the problem with slang is that it changes meaning over time, and it can be hard to pin down what it meant at a particular time and place, when a particular person uses it. Take, for example, the case of C. S. Lewis at one point criticizing the poet W. H. Auden as "rather a pansy" (COLLECTED LETTERS, Vol. III, page 714; letter of Leap Day 1956).
So far as I can tell, this originally mean "effeminate" but later came to mean "homosexual". The OED is careful to trace the evolution of new meanings of words, but it's no help here, since it doesn't deal with slang (though it's rather nice to have confirmed that 'pansy' is an anglicization of pensee, or 'Thoughts'). I'm not sure if slang dictionaries give the dates at which new meanings are attached to words, and I'm too wrapped up right now to make a library run to find out.
So the question is, shd CSL's comment be glossed as "too much of a sissy" or "too gay"?
current reading: TOLKIEN'S BEOWULF
when is the eclipse, anyway?
1 day ago