Word building a modern lexicon

Definition: “Playfully teasing or mocking remarks exchanged with another person or group.” Derived, obviously, from “Banter.” (OED.)

Sample usage: “Nancy can’t dance, but her bants can lance your pants; she’s so funny.”

Popularity: It’s mostly used by Brits so far. It has the telltale truncation of English slang. (If it was “banty,” it would be Australian.) For the word to catch on among America’s younger set, they’d first have to get used to “banter” and then snip it in half to indicate something sarcastic. Unlikely to dethrone “chat,” but if you want to sound ahead of the curve, a phrase like “What a party! The bants were brilliant” might impress. Hint: Avoid even the faintest hint of Madonna-style faux accent, because people know you’re from Columbia Heights.

Chance of catching on: Low.

James Lileks


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