Slap varieties

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Sunny Jhatti wrote to me: "I didn't know what 'pimp slap' meant till I saw this."

After witnessing her astonishing diatribe, Conal Boyce said:

I felt like I needed to take a shower.

(Adding insult to injury, google failed to elucidate 'Skims' for me. Had to look elsewhere to get an inkling of what that recurrent theme was about.)

I found the presenter's self-introduction here. She even has her own YouTube channel and other social media platforms.  Her handle is Genevieve Akal.  She is a Gnostic Priestess and Nun.  From the pieties expressed on her homepage, I would never have imagined that she could indulge in such vile vitriol.

Dr. Emilio Lizardo remarked:

I'm familiar with a few iterations of the term, including:
For some English speakers, there is a distinction between a pimp slap and a bitch slap, in which a pimp slap is backhanded (delivered with the back of the hand), while a bitch slap is openhanded (delivered with the palm of the hand). For most speakers, however, the two terms are synonymous, referring equally to either kind of slap.  (Wiktionary)
Gibbs Slap: A slap upside the back of the head usually done to someone who did or said something stupid. It was invented by Leroy Jethro Gibbs – on the TV show NCIS. To wit, see here.
So, according to these definitions, the action in this meme could either be a pimp slap or a bitch slap:
That said, the ghoul — (from Arabic: غول, ghūl, an evil spirit that robs graves and feeds on corpses, from ghala "he seized" [Etymonline]) — in the video is deserving of any of the three, but more appropriately all of the three.
Arabic: ghūl غول,  reminds me of Turkish gül (a completely different word) meaning "rose", which — but for her foul, intemperate language — she could be.

Slaps can be (semi-)affectionate, admonitory, jocular….  When you administer one, you should calculate and calibrate it carefully.


Selected readings


  1. Ross Presser said,

    November 27, 2023 @ 1:37 pm

    "Dr. Emilio Lizardo" ? This one?

  2. Philip Taylor said,

    November 27, 2023 @ 2:32 pm

    I realise, of course, that Language Log is a forum dedicated to language and linguistics rather than to politics, but I nonetheless find it both odd and disturbing that rather than focussing on what the narrator says, some are more interested in what skims are, and/or various types of slap. Speaking purely for myself, I feel that the situation in Gaza is infinitely more important, and deserving of our attention, than such linguistic trivia, even in a language and linguistics forum such as this.

  3. a reader said,

    November 27, 2023 @ 2:44 pm

    it seems reasonable to be angry about the US' ongoing active support of a catastrophic escalation in a century-long genocide, involving the murder of thousands of children and thousands more civilians in less than a month. if you're going to accuse someone expressing such anger of 'vile vitriol', i think you aught to be careful to identify what part of the speech you find objectionable (ie. the 'rothschild' dogwhistle), or people might get the wrong impression about what part of it you're objecting to

  4. Jerry Packard said,

    November 27, 2023 @ 3:51 pm

    At first glance I was expecting the four types of SLAP (Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior) tear, but alas it wasn’t to be. But I do rather agree with Philip Taylor on this one.

  5. cliff arroyo said,

    November 27, 2023 @ 4:12 pm

    "involving the murder of thousands of children and thousands"

    What should Israel have done after Oct 7?

    What did Palestinians (who overwhelmingly supported Oct 7) expect?

  6. AntC said,

    November 27, 2023 @ 4:16 pm


    I was heading for the dictionary at "unity consciousness". Seems to be merely compositional.

  7. Larry said,

    November 27, 2023 @ 4:31 pm

    "Genocide"? I feel that those who use this word often do not completely understand its meaning.
    By the way, since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 13 million muslims were killed, of which only 0.3% were killed in the conflict with Israel. Quite a genocide!

  8. Cervantes said,

    November 27, 2023 @ 4:36 pm

    The Gibbs slap was not invented by NCIS. It is what is called a dope slap, referenced frequently by Click and Clack long before NCIS existed, and attributed to their mother.

  9. M. said,

    November 27, 2023 @ 6:11 pm

    She seems to be saying that EITHER you agree with everything we say and with everything we believe OR you are worthless.

  10. AntC said,

    November 27, 2023 @ 6:13 pm

    @PT rather than focussing on what the narrator says …

    I might be mis-judging the narrator — I'm going only by the linked website — but they appear to have no more knowledge of a very complex and nuanced long-standing dispute than any other deranged person going down the street yelling at strangers.

    Indeed the situation is "infinitely more important" than yelling at civilians far from the conflict attending largely futile demonstrations or hand-wringing (which seems to be the target of the vitriol). Then it is Ms(?) Akal who seems to be taking herself too seriously; and rather than engage with that incoherent 'message'; better to pick up on the linguistic 'medium'. (There are more ways to defang a cat …)

  11. Brett said,

    November 27, 2023 @ 8:44 pm

    Like Cervantes, I was going to mention Click's and Clack's use of dope slap—although I don't think that that term originated in their family. I believe I can remember hearing it sporadically from fairly early in my childhood, well before Car Talk was on the air. In any case, the most common American term for the slap delivered to the back of the skull after somebody does something boneheaded is smack [or slap] upside the head.

    Separately: In the 2011 conversation transcribed here, I emphatically distinguished between a bitch slap and a pimp slap for humor value—even though normally I would probably treat the two as synonymous (that is, ignoring whether the slap was forehanded or backhanded).

  12. Viseguy said,

    November 27, 2023 @ 8:49 pm

    What drivel. Feel like watching a rant about Gaza? Try this:

  13. martin schwartz said,

    November 27, 2023 @ 9:32 pm

    There are plenty more appropriately "dedicated" sites for a
    political forum than LL, and far better advocates for Palestinians than Mme Akal. Sunny Jhatti's purpose was lingusitic, after all,
    yes? and the video clip is a testy testimonium (as classicists might say) to a lexical/phraseological usage at issue, no? So, back to
    matters of language: Unlike the English meaning of "ghoul"
    used above, its etymon, Arabic ghūl (byog–bring your own gammas) refers to a desert demon (at least part of mirage folklore)
    which can take a pleasant shape and lead its victim to a far-off place for a grisly finale. The root is gh-w-l 'to lead afar, seduce',
    past tense verb ghāla (*ghawala). A very nice, er, testimonium
    is provided by the medieval Khwarezmian Zamakhshari's guide
    to Arabic, Muqaddimat al-Adab, which illustrates the verb by the
    phase ghālat-hu l-ghūl, and the verb glossed in Persian and Khwarezmian as 'made him far, took him far away', whose very
    interesting Khwarezmian data I discussed in ZDMG 120 1970 [1971]
    and the W.B Henning Memorial Volume, there with focus on' he
    Khwar. word for ghūl and its Khwar. cognate meaning 'seductum,
    remotum'. On a lighter note, the sound of one sandal slapping,
    my author friend Victoria Nelson's My Trip to Hawaii has a chapter
    about various open footwear favored by different groups in Hawaii;
    she lists "Jap slappers", which I note as onomatopoeically supplementing "flip-flops".
    Martin Schwartz

  14. Tom G said,

    November 28, 2023 @ 6:01 am

    In my family, a slap to the back of the head when you said or did something stupid was called a "biff". I am uncertain of the etymology, although my older brother did feel the need to biff me often.

  15. Victor Mair said,

    November 28, 2023 @ 7:29 am

    @Tom G

    I used to hear "cuff on the ear / head / nape / neck / etc." Maybe your "biff" is related to this "cuff".

  16. cliff arroyo said,

    November 28, 2023 @ 1:56 pm

    I'll just add, I always understood 'bitch slap' as not being a single slap (with the back or palm of the hand) but several rapid repeated slaps (alternating the back and palm sides of the hand).

  17. John Swindle said,

    November 28, 2023 @ 8:25 pm

    I've watched her diatribe with and without captions and haven't identified instances of "slap" or "ghoul." Where in the rant do they occur?

  18. Benjamin E. Orsatti said,

    November 29, 2023 @ 7:57 am

    Neat! We get to be the Roman Empire — the lady with the funny accent and the dot on her head just said so! But before I go off and get my SPQR tattoo and learn how to properly fold a toga, a question for the room — If this lady truly is a good Gnostic, why would she particularly care about "siding" with either party?; after all, we're all just souls imprisoned in bodily husks by the evil demiurge anyway, what difference does it make?

    I dunno, maybe she gets to that part in the remaining 4:00 or so.

  19. Philip Taylor said,

    November 29, 2023 @ 4:08 pm

    " the lady with the funny accent" — she may not have had your accent, Benjamin, or that of those whom you admire the most, but I had zero problem understanding her and was (if it is not already obvious from my earlier comment) most impressed both with her sincerity and with her forthrightness in expressing her views. To my great surprise, I did not find even her language intemperate — I think that when one holds views as deeply and sincerely as she clearly does, then one may well be justified in using language which in lesser contexts would be clearly unacceptable. I recommend you to listen to the whole 4:41, not switch off after a mere 40 seconds — what you hear may cause you to challenge some of the beliefs that until now you have held most dear.

  20. Benjamin E. Orsatti said,

    November 29, 2023 @ 6:29 pm


    Sorry, I tried — I made it 10 more seconds to 0:52 before the words "Zionist Cabal" shot straight to my ulnar nerve and reflexively caused my thumb and ring finger to strike "Alt W". What's at 1:52 — the blood libel?

    Best case scenario — she's one of those simple-minded people who thinks that "silence is violence" _must_ be true because it rhymes. Worst case (and more likely) scenario — this lady is completely unhinged. Most schizophrenics are both sincere and forthright, but that doesn't make me want to subscribe to their word-salad newsletter.

    But, hey, maybe there's a nugget of brilliance somewhere amongst all the crazy, so I'll read the transcript, if only to avoid having to be yelled at in the unblinking stare of a paranoiac….


    Nope, it's 4:49 of stitched-together madness. Does this sort of thing convince rational-thinking people? Philip, this is a _language_ blog, not a world affairs blog, but if you want "sincerity" and "forthrightness", try this on for size:

    For the past 6,000 years or so, the most popular pastime of the Jewish people has been figuring out how to not get murdered by much of the world. Arabs? Not so much. Every couple hundred years or so the Jews get to enjoy a pogrom, exile, persecution, or genocide — Good times! One time, this one guy really had his shit together and was able to exterminate 6,000,000 of those selfish bastards who refuse to leave this planet gracefully, and he would have got the rest of them if it hadn't been for, uh, "Rome", I guess.

    Then, in a grand show of "Unity Consciousness", I suppose, somebody on the other end of the pond thought that the Balfour Declaration was just a great fucking idea. There's a handful of Jews left on the planet — let's "give" them Israel. "Here, Jews, here's your Israel, but if you want it, you have to be responsible for the same people who built their 3rd holiest site on top of your 1st-and-only holy site, and who, by the way, really really really want to kill each and every last one of you and aren't even afraid to say that in their promotional brochures! What could possibly go wrong?" "But those Arabs were already there when the Jews got there!" Maybe some of them were. But where else do the Jews have to go? And shall we ask the Berbers and Tuaregs about their dealings with Arabs concerning self-determination?

    Can we get back to talking about language now?

    So, we still manage to have about 15 million Jews in the world, compared to about 2 billion (that's "million", with a "b") Muslims. A drop of Jewry foundering in a sea of Islam. But, yeah, let's come down on the Jews because they defend themselves against getting exterminated (again). And isn't it nice that there are so many "sincere" and "forthright" assholes out there so that our own domestic assholes here in Pittsburgh can watch them and then go shoot up the Tree of Life Synagogue less than 2 miles from my fucking house! Yes, keep the sincerity and forthrightness coming!

  21. Philip Taylor said,

    November 30, 2023 @ 4:28 am

    As I have mentioned before, Benjamin, I have been privileged to have had a number of Jewish friends during my life, and I have even represented one of them at the Belsize Park Synagogue on the commemoration of Krystallnacht when he was no longer able to make the journey himself (he had been eight years old at the time of Krystallnacht, and had screamed so much and so loudly that his voice was forever impaired thereafter). So, as you can imagine, I have discussed the Israel/Gaza/Palestine conflict with them on more than one occasion. And what John (whom I had represented at the Synagogue) said when we last discussed the matter, shortly before he passed away, will always remain with me — "No, of course it’s not anti-Semitic to criticise Israel — I am a Jew, and I am as critical of Israel in this matter as you are".

  22. Benjamin E. Orsatti said,

    November 30, 2023 @ 8:23 am

    A message from Rome: "Res ipsa loquitur":

    I am going to try and word this again um
    I I don't know why well I do know why
    American people aren't understanding
    this there is a side to pick and in
    picking that side you pick Unity
    Consciousness it is not in the act of
    not picking sides that you are now in
    unity Consciousness that means you are
    complicit in genocidal
    abuse not picking sides means you are
    complicit with the abuser you are not in
    unity Consciousness you are in
    dissociation do you
    understand you might not get it because
    you're America so that means you're Rome
    you're the Empire and the UK US Zionist
    Israeli regime is the cabal you know the
    cabal all you spiritual people talk
    about and the child sacrifices and all
    the things they do that's them
    the Israeli regime the Zionist regime is
    cabal so all these spiritual people in
    the states saying I'm not picking sides
    you are siding with the cabal that is
    the cabal don't you get it how
    do you not see this it's because you've
    grown up with the privilege of Rome
    you're out there sipping on your
    freaking Zionist own Starbucks frappe
    wearing Kim Kardashian Zionist own skims
    telling us all not to pick sides because
    you're in unity Consciousness no
    no Unity Consciousness is
    picking sides with the indigenous people
    of the earth do you know that when the
    state of Israel arrived in Palestine in
    1948 it began with something called the
    nakba a
    genocide 1948 they started the apartate
    state of Israel same year they founded
    the aparted state in South Africa
    1948 same year 1946 748 the British
    American Zionist regime put the
    partition in through between Pakistan
    and Kashmir do you know what's happening
    in Pakistan right now Imran Khan the
    elected leader he was taken by the
    military on false claims he's been in
    prison since August this year they put
    in some standing freaking Zionist puppet
    leader and they're about to evict over a
    million Afghan
    refugees that's what's happening right
    now the Zionist ukus regime is doing
    right now there is a freaking genocide
    happening in the Congo and the Sudan for
    the mineral resources do you know who's
    doing that the Zionist UK US regime
    right now there is a genocide happening
    of Palestinians in Israel their
    land their land you know who's
    doing that the UK US Zionist
    regime the same regime that in 1917 took
    hold of the mines in South Africa my
    country they own the gold and the
    Diamonds same year in 1917 the buw
    Declaration was was signed from for Lord
    Rothchild Lord Rothchild who runs the
    FED in the US your little your little
    freaking Rome is the same person behind
    Zionism your US state the UK State and
    Zionism are one cabal
    entity and they are busy genociding
    Palestinians because they need Gaza for
    their mineral resources they needed for
    money so I don't know before you were
    really you understood when the media was
    saying one thing that you were not to
    trust them but now your media is totally
    on all sides supporting Israel who owns
    the media the
    zionists have you seen one video of
    bodies babies dead under Rubble because
    Hamas no you haven't the only thing
    you've seen if you've deed to
    look if you D to step out of your
    dissociation which you like to call
    Unity Consciousness is the bodies of
    the bodies of congales the bodies of the
    sudin the fear in the eyes of a million
    Afghans who are about to be evicted from
    homes because their elected leader was
    put in prison by the military funded by
    zionists so you're not in unity
    Consciousness you're
    not sorry surprise you're complicit in
    abuse just realize that just realize
    that while you sipping on your little
    frappe wearing skims okay you're not
    freaking immunity Consciousness you are
    the problem

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