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Term `Wifebeater' Still A Hit

Wednesday, February 24, 2010 19:35 GMT

AUSTIN, Texas (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – Even if it’s wrong, the term “wifebeater” – referring to a man’s tank top – is here to stay.

Over the years the politically incorrect word for an undershirt has been widely accepted into popular language.

Paul JJ Payack, of the word-tracking service Global Language Monitor, says “wifebeater” has been actively used for the last seven years since being added into dictionaries.

He traces its origins further back and believes the term really took off when COPS and The Jerry Springer Show became hits on TV.

Many times men who beat their wives appeared on the shows wearing old, ragged tank tops, so the word quickly spread.

Now that so many people use it, Payack says it’s lost its initial “shock value” and power, making it normal.

This isn’t the first time risque terms have stuck.

The phrases “all that jazz” and “rock ’n’ roll” refer to music now, but at first, they were alternative terms for sex.