Chic Chicks, Broad Broads, Birds, Dudes, Guys, Ladies and Gentlemen




Lately the fashion has arisen of spelling the colloquial term for young women without the k required by the dictionary. That is, saying “chic” and not “chick”.

As in “This chic she thinks like a dude.”

It arose, as the most popular Ugandan misspellings do, from just one media source: a magazine which always featured a covergirl (not fully-dressed) appeared in the late nineties and was called Chic. The editors meant to convey that it was classy and glamorous and fashionable, kwegamba that it was a chic magazine, but because of the preponderance of bare boob and that dominated the magazine, as well as the fact that it was actually quite vulgar, and not glamorous at all, people assumed that the term referred to the person on the cover.


The magazine called Chic full of pictures of young women. The leap was easily made, and people began to act like the word chick was actually spelled as “chic”.

The turn of the millennium came and people became more styled up. Chic magazine died and was forgotten, sparing many trees the ignominy and allowing them to aspire to something higher, like being converted into toilet paper. Better magazines came along that actually delivered on the promise of being chic.

The millennium also increased access to dictionaries and grammar pendants who could not only assert, but also prove that the word chic meant chic and that chicks were chicks and not chics.

Usually when we beat people’s heads in with our dictionaries they acquiesce, at least to our faces, and then behave for a short while, before going back to their evil ways, such as writing “every day” as one word, but in the case of the word chic, some people insisted on that spelling.

They said they felt it was wrong to refer to women with the same word that is used for poultry and that they would prefer to use a word that had better connotations. That chic is chic!

Aside from the obvious ones, which we have heard from Snoop Dogg, many other colloquial terms that refer to women can be demeaning. Bird, broad, babe, kyana… They don’t exactly speak of power and capacity. It’s mostly about a weaker person who needs to be looked after—a child— or something.


Not a girl, not even a woman



But this is the bit you didn’t know. The colloquial words for men were like that, too.


Dude: This was a derogatory term for weak, clumsy, spoilt and foppish city-bred men who would bumble into the countryside for adventure, only to show the rural dwellers that they were too soft to manage the hard life.



Guy: The term guy in English meant “weird”, “ugly”, “ridiculous” man, someone who resembled the comical effigies that were made for burning on Guy Fawkes day.


Boy: This is the clincher. It quite a blow to the bollocks or what the female equivalent of that is where applicable. Apparently, up to the 13th century of the English language, all children were called girls. The term “boy” originally used to refer to servants and apprentices.