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Loser (as a gesture to describe a person)

English translation: broad sense

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18:10 Feb 11, 2007
English to English translations [PRO]
Social Sciences - General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters
English term or phrase: Loser (as a gesture to describe a person)
HI, I sure know when to use it and how it should be done (I used to work in a sizable office in the US with lots of drama), I can execute it appropriately ;-). But, how would qualify a Loooooooser?

I was just asked to sub this gesture in a short movie clip. Having experienced it enough I knew my translation was ok. Then, I become curious about it and checked some online dictionaries to find little to match what I thought it would be. The closest one is "misfit" but that's just too broad.

Probably I was biased; my version was loosely based on the people I run into who were more than once described as a loser. Also, urbandictionary has full entries but they all seem to talk about usage.

So, what's the common denominator? what's the min. requirements to be called or gestured "oh, xx is a such a loser!"

Just for fun, there is a book available to introduce some guidance to gestures, though this may culturely biased. I just want to add that by introducing it I have no intention to offend anybody!

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1415859
RieM
United States
Local time: 05:40
English translation:broad sense
Explanation:
I am also somewhat confused as to where you difficulty lies or what exactly your question is.

However, I think I know the answer to the following part of your question:

<...what's the min. requirements to be called or gestured "oh, xx is a such a loser!">

In short, almost nothing at all. Certainly not much. In the broad sense it's just sort of "general disapproval", often used by people "wronged" in some way by the alleged "loser. Phrases like "you are such a loser" or "he/she is such a loser" can be addressed or refer to people who are very successful in all aspects of life and in everything they undertake.

For example, if a young man goes to a couple dates with a girl and loses (no pun intended) interest for whatever reason, the "dumped" girl will frequently call him "a loser". Perhaps intoning the idea that the end of the relationship is his loss.

Another example: a phrase like "my boss is such a loser" may often refer to an extremely successful (+ happily married and whatever) manager who, in the speaker's opinion, dosen't treat the speaker right.



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Note added at 1 hr (2007-02-11 19:13:12 GMT)
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Rie, your note confuses me even more. What do you mean under "..have nothing to lose"? When one "...has nothing to lose", it means that the person haven't had much or have already lost everything, and therefore may well be a "loser" according to dictionary definitions. "Winner", as a rule, have a lot to lose.

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Note added at 3 hrs (2007-02-11 21:52:54 GMT)
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My grammar is really funny. It's "winner haS a lot to lose" and "...haSn't had much or haS already lost...". No idea how these sneaked in.
Selected response from:

Alexander Demyanov
Local time: 05:40
Grading comment
Thank you!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +6The gesture for loser
Kim Metzger
2 +4according to Webster
Jonathan MacKerron
4 +2broad senseAlexander Demyanov
5gesture or remark of extreme disrespect
Melissa Stanfield


Discussion entries: 8





  

Answers


8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5 peer agreement (net): +4
loser (as a gesture to describe a person)
according to Webster


Explanation:
a person who is incompetent or unable to succeed; also : something doomed to fail or disappoint

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Note added at 10 mins (2007-02-11 18:20:18 GMT)
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A person with a record of failing; someone who loses consistently.

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Note added at 12 mins (2007-02-11 18:23:05 GMT)
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"thumbs-down"?

Jonathan MacKerron
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 37

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ioanna Karamanou: I think this answers the question(?)
34 mins

agree  Nesrin: I don't think we need another definition - that's it. Usually, the person referred to as a "loser" is considered less cool, less successful, less popular, less competent than the speaker/gesturer.
37 mins

agree  Sophia Finos
19 hrs

agree  Rusinterp
1 day10 hrs
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9 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +6
loser (as a gesture to describe a person)
The gesture for loser


Explanation:
I'm not sure I understand your question, but if it's the gesture you're looking for, here are some pictures and an explanation.

WAGNER: "OK, either hand, both thumb and index finger out, and the other three fingers curled under. You're making kind of an L with your thumb and index finger. Raise that up to your head and put it on your forehead."
RS: "Now what does it mean to be a loser?"
WAGNER: "It means that you maybe have said something that is maybe dumb. It's more of a chiding gesture, where you're showing kind of joking disapproval."
http://www.voanews.com/specialenglish/archive/2003-09/a-2003...

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1415859


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 13 mins (2007-02-11 18:23:56 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Loser: A fairly new invention, the loser gesture dates back to 1994, when Jim Carrey's movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective took theaters by storm. Carrey's character used the "L" on the forehead as his trademark gesture, making sure everyone who didn't measure up knew it.



Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 04:40
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 80
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thank you, Kim, but I already know these facts.


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  María Teresa Taylor Oliver: There's even a smiley in Yahoo! Messenger with the loser gesture: the little yellow smiley face is making an L with his (her?) hand and placing it on his forehead... Pretty common nowadays...
31 mins

agree  NancyLynn: yep
40 mins

agree  Vicky Papaprodromou
1 hr

agree  Concepts
14 hrs

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
17 hrs

agree  Rusinterp
1 day10 hrs
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41 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
loser (as a gesture to describe a person)
broad sense


Explanation:
I am also somewhat confused as to where you difficulty lies or what exactly your question is.

However, I think I know the answer to the following part of your question:

<...what's the min. requirements to be called or gestured "oh, xx is a such a loser!">

In short, almost nothing at all. Certainly not much. In the broad sense it's just sort of "general disapproval", often used by people "wronged" in some way by the alleged "loser. Phrases like "you are such a loser" or "he/she is such a loser" can be addressed or refer to people who are very successful in all aspects of life and in everything they undertake.

For example, if a young man goes to a couple dates with a girl and loses (no pun intended) interest for whatever reason, the "dumped" girl will frequently call him "a loser". Perhaps intoning the idea that the end of the relationship is his loss.

Another example: a phrase like "my boss is such a loser" may often refer to an extremely successful (+ happily married and whatever) manager who, in the speaker's opinion, dosen't treat the speaker right.



--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr (2007-02-11 19:13:12 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Rie, your note confuses me even more. What do you mean under "..have nothing to lose"? When one "...has nothing to lose", it means that the person haven't had much or have already lost everything, and therefore may well be a "loser" according to dictionary definitions. "Winner", as a rule, have a lot to lose.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 3 hrs (2007-02-11 21:52:54 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

My grammar is really funny. It's "winner haS a lot to lose" and "...haSn't had much or haS already lost...". No idea how these sneaked in.

Alexander Demyanov
Local time: 05:40
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in category: 28
Grading comment
Thank you!
Notes to answerer
Asker: Indeed, many a times these so-called losers have nothing to lose, and so the usage doesn't match some dictionay definitions.

Asker: Oh, I should have said that the person didn't lose anything. A person is socially successful, he does not constantly lose, has little records of failure, but still called a loser by being so because of the reasons you described or others. Thanks.

Asker: Hi Alexander, it was probably I who confused you so much so that you hit the wrong keys :-). I make those mistakes too, though tring not, becaue Eng is the second lang. Anyway, thank you very much for your "input". ;-)


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ken Cox: yep -- in its most trivial form, it's just an insult that expresses irritation, but it often means a combination of un-hip, un-cool and not with it, shading into boring and daft
3 hrs
  -> Thanks, Ken. Of course, those too but they fit into some dict definitions, while I was after the broadest sense.

agree  Refugio: This is it. And you have correctly identified the fact that calling someone a loser may say more about the insulter than the insultee.
4 hrs
  -> Thanks, Ruth.
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
loser (as a gesture to describe a person)
gesture or remark of extreme disrespect


Explanation:
Your question: ""So, what's the common denominator? what's the min. requirements to be called or gestured "oh, xx is a such a loser!"

To me, it is one of the ultimate markers of disrespect, which is probably why it is so much more commonly used by children and young adults (who make it their business to not respect pretty much everybody at some stage!) It would only be used in adult conversation between close friends or colleagues and certainly not in front of people you don't know very well - it's very childish - unless the feeling was mutual about the "loser" in question - a general lack of respect.

Thinking of all the situations I can imagine it in, it always signifies disrespect to me, regardless of whether the person is highly successful or not - kids or adults could call anyone a loser, from their friends, to their school principal, parents, relatives, their boss, the prime minister, president, whoever. It means "I don't respect you at all as a person", or "I don't respect the things that you do."

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Note added at 7 hrs (2007-02-12 01:59:32 GMT)
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I think it also depends very much on who is using this word. If a high-school student said to a friend "Miss Jones is a loser", probably noone would bat an eyelid - he probably thinks most people are losers. But if the head of a major corporation went on TV and said "The CEO of (another corporation) is a loser", it wouldn't fit the expected register, and he'd either be publicly laughed at, or lauded, depending on who he was/who he was talking about.

As with all words, and particularly slang and insults, it's a delicate game of context, situation, relationship, etc, so it can be extreme disrespect or lighthearted tomfoolery. I chose extreme disrespect above from the viewpoint of someone using it as a serious insult. If I did or said something stupid and one of my (very close) friends called me a loser, I'd probably laugh and say - Yeah, I'm a loser! Because the close personal relationship exists, I know it is not intended as a serious insult. If, however, I hear this friend has said this about me maliciously... different story altogether.

Interestingly, Wikipedia classifies loser (under insults) as both a general insult (spur of the moment) and an insult against skill.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insult

Common or not, I think there's no denying it's an insult that can range in severity depending on who it comes from, and how. The entries in urban dictionary give an idea of how contentious this term is :) quite funny actually :)

Melissa Stanfield
Australia
Local time: 19:40
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Alexander Demyanov: I honestly don't know about other parts but in the US the saying and gesture are rather far from "extreme". These are not quite "fighting" words.
1 hr
  -> I do think if someone called me a loser, I would take extreme offence - I suppose it depends how much offence one takes to being directly disrespected in this way. I think if it were said publicly to/about another, it would not be easy to take back.
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Feb 11, 2007 - Changes made by Kim Metzger:
FieldOther » Social Sciences


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