Thursday, October 16, 2008


I work with a staunch Native American supporter. Yesterday at lunch, we were talking about the noise level for passing period during one of our classes (we are teaching, others are passing). I said, "By the time they get to our end of the hall, they are a pack of screaming banshees."

At which point my friend corrected me, asking that I not use words that might offend a group of people. Of course, I apologized immediately, not wanting to offend anyone, but added, "I thought it was a mythical creature, not a group of people." She said that may be the case, she was just sensitive to it. No problem.

But it bugged me all day, because I don't want to use phrases in my regular lexicon that are offensive. Turns out I'm in the clear:


banshee |ˈban sh ē|
(in Irish legend) a female spirit whose wailing warns of an impending death in a house : the little girl dropped her ice cream and began to howl like a banshee | [as adj. ] a horrible banshee wail.

*sigh of relief*
ORIGIN late 17th cent.: from Irish bean sídhe, from Old Irish ben síde ‘woman of the fairies.’


  1. No offense to your co-worker, but people should really be sure they have a reason to be offended before they get their dander up.

    Really, banshees? Should we beware of calling trick-or-treaters sugar-amped goblins, for fear of offending someone? (either goblins or candy tasters?)

  2. Political correctness is insidious- we (all of us) are so ridiculously oversensitive and make everyone else responsible for how we feel. Grow up America!

  3. Oh, for dog's sake. Next time, slip the word "niggardly" into your conversation.

  4. Hahahahaha! I like Kitt.

    Yeah, WTheck with not reacting to a word you don't know?