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tartfest

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Nunty, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Jerusalem
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    This from an anonymous comment on a blog:
    (From the post "Great Moments in Psychiatry".)

    I really have no idea. What does tartfest mean? Where does it come from?

    Thanks.
     
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    I'm guessing here, Nunty, since I've never heard it either, but it seems to have some figurative meaning: a fest of tarts, or saucy women? An opportunity (fest) for making tart remarks?
     
  3. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    I'm always happy to contribute speculation. :D

    I'm guessing it's a festival of the tart -- tart being responses that are sharp or bitter in tone or meaning; cutting. (American Heritage)
     
  4. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    I wonder if it's a misprint for fartfest - an overindulgence in talking flatulent rubbish.

    In case anyone wonders, this is a serious suggestion. The word would chime with a lot else in the blog.

    P.S. If it really means tartfest, I'd go for the idea that it is a surfeit of delights (delicious tarts), maybe meant ironically. I'm not sure whether the writer thinks the joke is funny or not.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  5. Hermione Golightly Senior Member

    SW London
    British English
    I suspect it means an orgy of cream pie throwing, in this case making insulting jokes based on a heady mix of nationality or place of origin combined with psychiatric illnesses. Or is it custard pie, and is the word tart not pie? I can't recall exactly, it's so long since I threw one. I think tart fits better with fest than pie.

    Hermione
     
  6. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    I'd go with your suggestion, Hermione, if the original was in the nature of an insult of any kind.

    I wonder what a link is in this context. That might give us a clue.
     
  7. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Jerusalem
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    I think the commenter is using link in its usual sense of connection. The blog post made the link between the extravagant behavior of a person suffering from bipolar illness and Italian culture. The commenter is drawing a connection between passive-aggressive behavior and residents of America's Midwest.
     
  8. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    I googled "tart fest" definition, and outside of a few links to literal tart fests (eg food festivals) this does seem to come up quite often in the context of many people posting on a certain topic on an internet board (perhaps in a futile argument with each other?). Enough for me to think that this is a known set-phrase to some people, albeit not to me!

    A) ignore it or B) comment in a PM . dont turn this thread into a tart fest. - forums.puzzlepirates.com

    but it will soon be a tart fest so ill stick around - forums.puzzlepirates.com

    A British society posts about breaking up and it turns into a tart fest about why the British are at fault in general - www.burningsea.com

    I remember a huge tart-fest about how RedOgre had neutralized his own role by role claiming (with full details of his role afterwards, ... - www.phpbbplanet.com

    It also seems to come up in sporting contexts (particularly football (soccer)) where it seems to mean "loads of people being idiots" (perhaps linked to the above meaning?) - which isn't surprising since a "tart" in English slang can also be an idiot.
     
  9. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    I'd never heard that "tart" could mean "idiot". Then "tartfest" certainly would describe what happens when internet boards accumulate a host of idiotic comments about one thing or another.
     
  10. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    Oh yes, quite common here. It comes, I would guess, from the meaning of "tart" meaning prostitute, or by extension someone of easy morals. In fact, I wouldn't know without further context how to interpret this example from an Australian source about a club night,

    It gets quite busy as the night goes on. Saturday night its a tart fest, but bit tougher to get a gig in. ... - www.bigfooty.com

    It would either mean "the girls are really easy on Saturday" or "the boys are all idiots on Saturday" (with a bit of sexist interpretation on my part).
     
  11. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    Colorado
    English-US
    Well, Timpeac, thanks for a new idea. I certainly hope that "tartfest" turns out to be something like a "boobapalooza" or a "moron-athon". We need more words like these in our troubled world. :)
     
  12. dn88 Senior Member

    pl
    I'm familiar with "tardfest" ("tard" used as a shortened version of the word "retard").
     
  13. Majorbloodnock Senior Member

    South East England
    British English
    I think I'll put a slightly different spin on this.

    In BE, "tart" can certainly be used to describe a prostitute (and its etymology arguably comes from a shortening of the word "sweetheart"). However, these days the "easy virtue" it refers to has been widened to cover all sorts of non-sexual preening. For instance, if someone publicly declared that they like eating out but only at the Ritz, you might with justification accuse them of being a bit of a tart.

    In this context, I'd suggest "tartfest" in the original post refers to the danger of the posters on the blog in question becoming "Psychiatry tarts" by flaunting their erudite links in an ostentatious manner, and the sheer number of contributors likely to do this.
     
  14. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    Ah, well I've seen on another site that Americans can sometimes spell (erroneously) "retard" as "retart" (because then people laugh at them for calling someone a "retard" whilst at the same time showing themselves to be one by misspelling it). (I mean no offense by using this word there - just commenting on what I've seen). It's not so common over here, although certainly not unknown, to insult people by calling them a "retard".

    So if "tardfest" exists I could easily believe that "tartfest" is just a spelling variation of the same. If so, it's interesting that the British usage of "tart" meaning "idiot", coming from a completely different root, can give exactly the same meaning when linked to "fest"!

    Whatever the precise meaning someone may give to "tartfest" I find it quite convincing that it is just a variation on "tardfest" in many instances.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2010
  15. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    It certainly can - but I have to insist that as a word simply to insult someone as an "idiot", with absolutely no preening nuance at all, is very common too. Some of the examples I saw of "tartfest" certainly seem to draw on the "sexual" or "preening" nuance, but many more simply seem to use it as a general insult - and occasionally even as a positive thing, such as a good free-for-all moaning session, or something like that.

    I do have the impression that, in some circles, this might have reached a definable meaning - but in all the examples I could find there was very little context to deduce if many, or any, people have the same image in mind when they use the word in an internet forum context.
     
  16. Majorbloodnock Senior Member

    South East England
    British English
    Insist away. I've not heard it used in that way in my circle of acquaintances, but I'm quite happy to accept that it can be used like that. In fact, given how far the term has evolved already, it'd be a little surprising if there weren't other connotations available too.
     
  17. timpeac

    timpeac Senior Member

    England
    English (England)
    I'm sure he's not in your circle of acquaintances - but you'll have Delboy call Rodney, amongst others, a tart more than once in Only Fools and Horses where only idiocy rather than promiscuity has occurred:).
     

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