Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Word of the day: sketchy

President Obama last night:

“Now, Governor Romney was a very successful investor. If somebody came to you, Governor, with a plan that said, ‘Here, I want to spend $7 or $8 trillion, and then we’re going to pay for it, but we can’t tell you until maybe after the election how we’re going to do it,’ you wouldn’t take such a sketchy deal and neither should you, the American people, because the math doesn’t add up.”
A clear, concise pair of definitions of sketchy from Urban Dictionary: “iffy,” “questionable.” A more elaborate effort from the same site:
creepy, iffy, fairly unsafe, an air of uncertainty, not kosher, and just generally something or someone that you don’t want to be associated with (or really do want to be associated with, depending on who you are . . .)
I’ve almost never used the word sketchy to mean anything but “giving only a slight or rough outline of the main features, facts, or circumstances without going into details” (Oxford English Dictionary). Indeed, if I use the word when talking with a student about, say, an underdeveloped idea in an essay, I make it a point to distinguish my use from current slang. So I am amused to realize that last night I immediately understood sketchy to mean “iffy” and “questionable,” even though the word could have been taken to mean only that the deal was lacking in detail. It is lacking in detail, but it’s also sketchy.

comments: 3

Elaine said...

I wanted to leave a sketchy comment, but my pigma pen is out of ink....

Rachel said...

Maybe you recognized it because I use this word all the time. :)

Michael Leddy said...