Back in high school
, the word "rough
" wove its way into our slang. But, through some bizarre glitch
, the word "rough" came to have two distinct meanings, which were polar opposites
from each other.
Rough's original meaning in our slang, I believe, had a negative connotation. Synonyms: "bummer", "no good", "ouch", et cetera:
X: I got a 60 on the Algebra and Geometry test.
Y: That's rough, guy.
X: I don't have enough cash on me to buy lunch.
Y: Yo, that's rough, guy.
X: I hear he doesn't have a date to the formal.
Y: Yo guy, that's rough.
Of course, this negative connotation of "rough" existed outside of the sick, twisted world of our high school. Such responses might even make sense to an outside observer. (It wouldn't matter if X were male or female, by the way. If Y is a male, he'll say "guy" no matter what.)
But somehow, some God-only-knows way, "rough" came to have a positive connotation:
X: I got a 95 on the Algebra and Geometry test.
Y: That's rough, guy!
X: I just got back from lunch. I had some nice pizza.
Y: Yo, that's rough, guy!
X: I hear he's got two dates to the formal.
Y: Yo guy, that's rough!
Somehow we were smart enough to constantly utilize one word with two opposite meanings and avoid confusion. That's got to be a testament to our education. This last meaning makes no sense at all to the untrained mind. Case in point: I was up in New Hampshire, visiting the college I was going to go to, when I purchased an item, and, instinctively expecting sales tax, I asked the cashier how much it was.
X: There's no sales tax in New Hampshire.
Y: No sales tax? That's rough!
X: Rough? What are you talking about? That's good!
Y: Uh, yeah, see...where I went to high school, "rough" means "good".
Then he asked me where I went to high school, and I told him near Toronto, but I hastened to add that I grew up in the United Sates, lest he give me a "silly-Canadians-and-their-meaningless-slang" look.
So, what do you think, is this write-up rough?