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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||info about neologism 'spam'|
|Question:||Hello! I'm journalist and I work in a cultural quiz show. I'm verifying a question about the name 'spam' and I would appreciate your help very much to check this information, if it’s possible. The question I'm now verifying is: "We call ‘spam’ the unsolicited e-mails, but where does the word ‘spam’ come from?" Answer: A tinned meat brand - SPAM is a tinned meat brand. The Internet sense appears to derive from a sketch by the British ‘Monty Python’ comedy group. Is that correct? I’ve written to the brand but they say that “there is no direct link between the Spam brand name and usage of the word ‘spam’ in reference to the internet”. I should like to hear the opinion of an expert, such you in this case. I thank you in advance for your help and I am looking forward to hearing from you. Best regards,|
|Reply:||Yes, everything you say is correct. In addition to the web links offered by Marilyn Silva, you might like to look at this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spam_(Monty_Python) which describes the Monty Python sketch in more detail. The point was that, at least in Britain at that time, Spam was seen as an iconic "cheap and nasty" food (perhaps unfairly, for all I know -- I'm not sure I've ever eaten it), and the sketch is about a café where it came as part of every menu option whether you liked it or not. Geoffrey Sampson|
|Reply From:||Geoffrey Richard Sampson click here to access email|