We've All Heard Somebody Be Called 'Uncouth,' But Have You Ever Heard Anybody Referred to as Being 'Couth'?

Illustration for article titled We've All Heard Somebody Be Called 'Uncouth,' But Have You Ever Heard Anybody Referred to as Being 'Couth'?
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Language is a beautiful thing. For instance, while I know that somewhere between 24 to 98 percent of the people reading this would cringe should I feel compelled to use the word “conversate” in your presence, 100 percent you would know exactly what I was saying should I use the “word.” And I only put “word” in quotes (see what I did there?) because most people don’t view “conversate” as an actual word, even though I just typed it out twice, which I think makes it a word.


But since so many of you would be willing to argue about that, let’s try another word that isn’t a word that many probably use on an infrequent basis: brolic. Punch that shit into Dictionary.com, fam.


The only place you find brolic is rap songs and Urban Dictionary. Yet, many of you are having a mind-blown moment right now because issa thing in your life.

See, language is a beautiful thing.

For the black folks in the room—I have no idea if other cultures use this phraseology—you’ve probably heard or been told that “you’re actin’ uncouth” unless you grew up solely drinking with your pinky finger up and have always viewed chicken tenders as peasant food. Or maybe you heard one of your aunties, uncles or cousins call somebody some variant of an “uncouth motherfucker.” I used that term today when I tripped over a tile on the floor and an onlooker started laughing. It was funny, but that was real uncouth of her. Or at least it was according to my definition of uncouth, which is basically “ain’t right or uncivilized.”

According to Dictionary.com, uncouth is an adjective that means 1) awkward, clumsy, or unmannerly; 2) strange and ungraceful in appearance or form; or 3) unusual or strange. Synonyms include discourteous, rude and uncivil.

You know black folks love calling people rude. I don’t even know the first time I heard it; as far as I know, it’s a word I’ve always known.


Which makes the flipside of this equation very curious: Has anybody every heard any of our aunties, uncles and cousins call somebody...couth?

Like, have you ever in your life heard somebody say, “you’re acting real couth right now!”? I’ve never heard that.


How does that work? Seriously. How did we latch onto uncouth without ever feeling a need to point out things that are similarly couth? When I see somebody with a perfectly tied bow-tie or an ascot fit for the gods, I don’t think to say, “you ole couth ass motherfucker, you!”

I just point out how clean they’re out here looking. Or fresh. Or how they’re stylin’ on folks.


Or think about this one: The only time I’ve ever heard the term “yoked” is when it’s paired with the word “equally” as in “we are equally yoked” or “we’re not equally yoked.”

When is the last time you heard somebody use the word “yoked” by itself. And I realize the phrase comes from the Bible, Corinthians 6:14 says, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?”


Not for nothing, but it kind of brings home Lil’ Wayne’s eternal reflection of “What’s a goon to a goblin?” doesn’t it?

Funny enough, according to Dictionary.com, here is what yoked means in terms of how we most often use it: to be or become joined, linked, or united. So the Corinthians verse means, in essence, to not be unequally joined with non-believers. But how come you folks never hear, “yoke up with believers, fam!”


Why for come you rarely hear folks say that?

You know why? I’ll tell you why.

Because you motherfuckers are uncouth. Yoke up, squad.

Language is a beautiful thing.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.



Underwhelmed. Overwhelmed. Are we ever just...whelmed?