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"Sacked" - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
I've been reading the TWoP recaps to catch up on the Houses that I've missed (most of season one), and in one of them, I came across the oddball comment that she'd never heard an American use the word "sacked," and thought Hugh Laurie must have been homesick and tweaked the script.

And I thought, Huh? 'Cause honestly, if I hadn't seen it on the page in HP, it's one of things I'd have been hesitant about using because, like any slang I know, I'd have assumed it had a high chance of being an Americanism. When I saw it in HP, I thought, Oh, so it's universal, good. The American Heritage Dictionary doesn't list the use as a Britishism. But then, maybe, like "dressing table" a few weeks ago, it's some oddball quirk of my own vocabulary, maybe from growing up on the Canadian border. So--dialect poll.

Poll #898122 Sacked?

On the question of "sacked" as a synonym for "having one's employment involuntarily terminated'"...

I'm an American, and I've heard it in casual conversation here.
I'm an American, and thought it was a Britishism which I needed to figure out from context.
I'm not an American, and thought it was uniquely British slang.
I'm not an American, but thought it was a common English-language idiom.
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gehayi From: gehayi Date: December 31st, 2006 04:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm an American, and I know the word from a thousand or so British novels. But I'm the only American I know who uses it. And I've had to explain to other Americans that "sacked" means "fired."
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: December 31st, 2006 04:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was pretty sure it was common usage here, but growing up in three different countries (US, Belgium where people spoke English as a second language, so used British English, and Canada), and knowing three different language usage can throw me off. I don't here it much, but I know I have heard it, but now I'm questioning myself. Plus, there's also New York/Maryland terminology - I've heard "fresh" used from people in New York/Jersey and New England, but never in Maryland.

Er... I guess the short answer is "I have no idea." ^^
ivylore From: ivylore Date: December 31st, 2006 05:16 pm (UTC) (Link)


Now there's a word which figured predominantly in my childhood. "Stop being fresh!" was one of my mother's favourite sayings. I haven't heard it in ages.

(Grew up in New England, coincidentally, and now live in Canada)
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persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: December 31st, 2006 08:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I live in NC and was mildly startled to see "reckon" in HP because I had assumed that using it casually (in the sense of "thought" rather than in the sense of doing arithmetic, accounting, or the more significant type of accounting as in "day of reckoning" :P) was more local. *g*
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mamadeb From: mamadeb Date: December 31st, 2006 05:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm an American, I've almost never heard it used in casual conversation here, but I knew what it meant from exposure to British books, movies and tv series.
buffyannotater From: buffyannotater Date: December 31st, 2006 08:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Same here.
vytresna From: vytresna Date: December 31st, 2006 05:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've heard it thrown about liberally, but I lay that firmly at the feet of Monty Python and Harry Potter.
From: iamweebles Date: December 31st, 2006 05:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Native Chicagoan and transplanted Bostonian and I hear sacked quite commonly. Though other phrases are more often used, I wouldn't think anything of either hearing it or using it. Although it may have been more common when I was younger (20 years ago) than it is now.
akilika From: akilika Date: December 31st, 2006 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I haven't heard it much in conversation here, but that's mostly because the people I associate with have other words they like better--I've been familiar with it for ages, and I think I've seen it in various media.
rainingtulips From: rainingtulips Date: December 31st, 2006 05:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm an American and have heard "sacked" used in casual conversation. I took an informal poll of my parents, who happened to be in the room when I started reading this. My father was quite familiar with the term, but my mother had never heard it before. We're all midwesterners, but my mother is from rural Iowa and my father is from Chicago, so it's possible that where they grew up have something to do with it.
likeafox From: likeafox Date: December 31st, 2006 06:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I live in central Ohio and I heard it in casual conversation well before I'd ever heard/seen it in British tv or books. It's not something you toss around all the time, granted, but that's more because you don't talk about people getting fired all the time. Plus it tends to be used in a more casual, joking way, so you wouldn't say it about, say, your relative losing his job or something.
From: almostsophie Date: December 31st, 2006 06:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm Canadian, and I use it in casual conversation. I also say "to get the sack" as in "to get fired". Mind you, I was raised on Monty Python.
anais_ninja From: anais_ninja Date: January 2nd, 2007 05:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm an American who grew up mostly in Virginia (though I've lived up and down the east coast), and now that you mention it, I think I've heard "to get the sack" more than "to be sacked". I think maybe it's because it's easier to understand "getting the sack" as "being thrown away/in the garbage/in a garbage bag", you know? The phrase is just a little closer to that meaning.
alchemine From: alchemine Date: December 31st, 2006 06:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm American and have known the word forever thanks to books and movies. I almost never hear it used in conversation, though. On the rare occasions when people do say it, it's with a sort of ironic self-consciousness, i.e., they know they're "being British."
ashtur From: ashtur Date: December 31st, 2006 06:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fairly common in reading Military History, written by both Englishmen and US writers... generally in connection to a less than successful General :)
arclevel From: arclevel Date: December 31st, 2006 06:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've heard 'sacked' used, though I hear other expressions more often. What's more surprising is that I seem to hear it in contexts from British speakers where you wouldn't generally use slang, like it's a standard word for "having one's employment involuntarily terminated" (like 'fired') rather than the very casual slang we use it as (like 'canned'). (Oddly, the other British term that I've come across more than once in writings/situations far less casual than I'd have assumed is 'snog'. Sadly, I can't remember any specific examples.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: December 31st, 2006 07:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's my experience--it's very slangy, very much on a level with "canned."
tdu000 From: tdu000 Date: December 31st, 2006 08:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm English so of course it's a word I'm familiar with. Some one else was surprised to hear someone use it who wouldn't usually use slang and I would say that's common. It's a pretty universal term and not just used as slang (though I suppose that's what it was originally). You would even hear it used in a BBC news broadcast!
anais_ninja From: anais_ninja Date: January 2nd, 2007 05:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Just out of curiosity, how do British people use/view the word "fired" in the same context? If some one said he/she had been fired, what impression would it generally create?
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