bare (many-very)(BrE)

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  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    It's wiktionary and labeled as slang: "Denotes language that is unique to a particular profession or subject, i.e. jargon. Also refers to the specialized language of a social group, sometimes used to make what is said unintelligible to those who are not members of the group, i.e. cant. Such language is usually outside of conventional usage, and is mostly inappropriate in formal contexts." Even in Urban Dictionary ( :eek: ) there is only one entry and many gave it the thumbs down. There is no reason to think it's widespread and every reason to think it's restricted to a (small) group.
     

    Shandol

    Senior Member
    It's wiktionary and labeled as: "Denotes language that is unique to a particular profession or subject, i.e. jargon. Also refers to the specialized language of a social group, sometimes used to make what is said unintelligible to those who are not members of the group, i.e. cant. Such language is usually outside of conventional usage, and is mostly inappropriate in formal contexts." Even in Urban Dictionary ( :eek: ) there is only one entry and many gave it the thumbs down. There is no reason to think it's widespread and every reason to think it's restricted to a (small) group.
    It can also be found in Lexico:
    determiner
    informal British
    A large amount or number of.

    adverb
    informal British as submodifier
    Very; really (used as an intensifier)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    If something is found in only a few dictionaries and is labeled informal and slang, I don't think you can make a strong case for it being "widespread". None of the forum members so far has seen it used this way. You asked the question with "still in current use" suggesting you thought it might have become obsolete. I would submit that it never even became "current'" :D
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I'll add my voice to those who have never heard "bare" used in any of the expressions mentioned, nor in any other way as an adverb or determiner.

    "Bare" has a number of uses as an adjective, including some where it adds emphasis, so there is "bare cheek" ("The bare cheek of it", for example), where the person isn't even trying to hide their rudeness. I think I may have heard "bare effrontery" as well.

    Barque's "bare minimum" is also fine, where it is the minimum with no embellishment whatsoever; the absolute minimum, if you like.

    Neither "That pissed me off bare" nor "It's taking bare time" make any sense at all to me.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Wiktionary also has this:

    (MLE, Toronto, not comparable) A lot or lots of. It's bare money to get in the club each time, man.

    Does anyone know what MLE means?
    Perhaps this word will increase in frequency outside MLE, or maybe not.
    Multicultural London English (abbreviated MLE) is a sociolect of English that emerged in the late twentieth century. It is spoken authentically by mainly young working class people in London (although it is also widely spoken in other cities around the U.K. as well)
     

    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    but the dictionaries I almost always use including Lexico - OLD - Macmillan - Longman - Cambridge are all familiar with the term being used that way.
    You asked if it's "in current use in BrE" suggesting you wanted to know if it's commonly used. Dictionaries don't go out on the street and strike up conversations, do they? Words like prithee, and rum meaning "strange" are in many dictionaries but I don't expect to hear anyone actually using them.
     
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    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I am another one unfamiliar with this particular use. This appears in the OED (December 2018 draft edition). It also confirms the etymology.

    slang (chiefly British). Many or much; a lot of.
    [This sense appears to have originated in Caribbean English, and evolved from the sense ‘nothing but, too much of’ (compare sense A. 11); see quot. 1996.]
    [1996 R. Allsopp Dict. Caribbean Eng. Usage 81/1 Bare,..(Bdos) nothing but, and therefore too much of. Her room is bare clothes, pack up everywhere.]
    ...
    2005 Guardian (Nexis) 13 July We'd go round the corner, pass something to someone, go back and we'd have bare dough, we'd have bare money in our pocket.
    ...

    British slang. As an intensifier: very, extremely.
    ...
    2009 @Sam_wise 6 Mar. in twitter.com (O.E.D. Archive) This is actually a bare good song innit bruv.
    2012 Z. Smith NW (2013) 114 Those girls, man... Ruby's bare lazy.
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I have never heard this, as I've said. But if I imagine it said in a Jamaican accent it sounds possible.

    Carribean English has varied accents and dialects for the different island nations, and there is a large population of Carribean descent in London. Many of the accents and dialects at their strongest in their places of origin can be quite hard for outsiders to understand and in some cases may strictly speaking be patois or pidgin and not really English.

    Carribean English enters popular culture through music, the various forms of reggae and dancehall and dub music.

    But it is a very specific family of accents and by and large, outsiders would sound absolutely ridiculous if they started incorporating Carribean slang words or fake accents into their English speech.

    So as to the original question of, is this word in use? You would need to find someone in the youth scene of Londoners of Carribean descent and ask them.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    It does seem to have found its way into enough dictionaries to establish that it's in current BE use, which more or less answers the original question.

    The extent of its use is more difficult to determine: I can't say I've heard it personally and it sounds more plausible to me as meaning very, extremely than many/much, a lot of. It's probably just another facet of the way the English language is constantly changing and evolving. :)
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I can see this: 2012 Z. Smith NW (2013) 114 Those girls, man... Ruby's bare lazy. {Note Zadie Smith is a famous, black, British author}

    Cf. A bare-faced lie.

    I have not heard this slang areas of US I am familiar with.
    Ah, OK. A major novelist includes dialect speech in a novel, which puts words from that dialect into many readers' passive vocabularies and into the lexicon because there is a published reference.

    I've never heard this usage before. However I live in a city without a large Carribean community. I don't think it's a usage widely used outside that community.
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    It seems to be particular to Toronto, Canada and London, England.
    I'm assuming among the Carribean community in Toronto, which is of a significant size.

    Yes, this link actually defines a number of words it says are Jamaican adaptations of West Indian patois. The sample sentences are all phonetic transcription of Jamaican accents.

    It would be interesting to see which if any terms get dispersed into wider use by other cultural groups. The Jamaican accent us very distinctive.
     
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