being someone's bitch

Discussion in 'English Only' started by compass2006, Sep 7, 2006.

  1. compass2006 Member

    Spanish - Spain
    What does it mean "being someone's bitch" please? The context is in an office whrere someone is asked for her job title and her colleague answers for her: "Sharon's bitch" and Sharon's the name of the boss. Is it like saying "the teacher's pet"?

  2. illuminaut Senior Member

    San Francisco
    Someone who gets treated with little respect and has to follow every order, a servant/slave. It's typically used humorously and isn't very offensive, at least not in my book.
  3. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    I would only use it in a casual setting with someone I knew well and whose sense of humor was predictable enough that I knew they would think it was funny. Otherwise, I wouldn't say it at all.
  4. Sabelotodo Senior Member

    Great Lakes Region, USA
    English, United States
    In prison, a man's bitch is the weaker man whom he has forced to be his unwilling homosexual partner. In an office setting, it is a refers to similarly humiliating position of servitude. It is extremely offensive unless the person who said it was a friend who meant to sympathize.

    In biker (motorcycle gang) lingo it refers to a biker's wife or girlfriend. The extra seat behind the biker's seat is called the bitch seat. In this context, it is a little crude, but not necessarily offensive.
  5. illuminaut Senior Member

    San Francisco
    Extremely offensive may be a little harsh, don't you think? I hear it in an office setting all the time, even if someone is around who may not be very familiar with the particular person's sense of humor. It certainly is crude and politically incorrect, but maybe that's where the humor lies. One probably should not use it with a serious face.
  6. compass2006 Member

    Spanish - Spain
    Thanks to everyone. It's clear now. I think I get the sense.
  7. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    I've worked in dozens of different offices as a consultant over the past twenty-five years. I can't remember ever hearing this said in any of those office settings, even among friends. I've heard it outside the office, but never inside.

    I'd just like to add that in the U.S. these days, this kind of comment could immediately open you up to sexual harassment charges in a corporate office setting. I would advise non-native speakers to use this phrase with extreme caution in a workplace. Better yet, avoid it unless and until you hear someone else say it and can judge the reaction of the room.
  8. Paulfromitaly

    Paulfromitaly MODerator

    Brescia (Italy)
    Some very uneducated and gross guys could address their girlfriends as my bird or my bitch..
  9. Brian P

    Brian P Senior Member

    "My bird" is BE. In AE it is "my chick". They are not grossly offensive but should be used with caution as they may offend some females.
  10. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    To my knowledge it's not properly used with females. There's a similar misunderstanding (especially among women) about the word pussy as applied to a person. It's a term meaning a wimpy or squeamish male. Women are simply not called by that term.

    "I made him my bitch" is a similar situation. It was originally limited to prison slang (as Mr know-it-all said), and so of course was picked up on the street by all sorts of wannabes, pussies who never did a harder day of time than an overnight visit in the drunk tank.

    From there the straight world picked it up and got it all confused, the way women do when they hear a guy call someone a pussy.

    What sense does it make to call a woman a pussy? And how can you make a woman your bitch? The closer you get to the original users of both terms, the more obvious this illogic gets.

    Office people calling a gofer or other such lacky their bitch? Please! That's stretching analogy to the breaking point, by people who don't even "own" the word-- that kind of sycophantic imitation by pasty-whitebread bozos who "never get out much" has happened with the vocabularies of sub-culture in-groups since the days of the early-50s hipsters, and is much scorned by members of the crowd who originated the terms.

    "Office worker" types in polyester 3-piece "leisure suits" and blow-dried "hippie" hairdos with sideburns down to their collarbones used to nod and say "oh, I'm hip to that." Yeah sure you were.

    I do agree about the biker exception, though. Never get a hard-on while you're riding bitch, by the way, it might get you a funny reputation.
  11. compass2006 Member

    Spanish - Spain
    I'd never use it, but I heard it in a college office in London from a native speaker.
  12. Insider Senior Member

    Ukraine (Ukrainian)
    I agree that the phrase "being somebody's bitch" is a rather prison's jargonism, pretty usuable there.

    As for for me, you can easily offense an unknown person, saying something during the quarell, like "come here, you're my bitch".

    I've also heard a lot of times this expression in American films. But I don't about the usage of it in a usual life.
  13. catlady60

    catlady60 Senior Member

    Nazareth, PA
    English-US (New York City)
    There is also the literal meaning of being someone's bitch, but she has to be a female dog, in which the dog owner joking refers to his/her canine as "the four-legged bitch" (not necessarily derogatory).
  14. Wishfull Senior Member


    I would like to make sure.

    's in Sharon's bitch is not possessing, but "is".

    "Sharon is bitch", not "Bitch of Sharon".

    Am I correct?
  15. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    No, if Sharon is the boss, Sharon's bitch means "the bitch of Sharon".
  16. Wishfull Senior Member

    Thank you, JamesM, I got it. :)
  17. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    To mean "Sharon is a bitch" you would have to include the indefinite article: "Sharon's a bitch."
  18. Wishfull Senior Member

    Oh, I agree. The indefinite article is necessary there. The answer can be lead grammatically.

    BTW, if I said "Sharon's son of a bitch", it would become strongly offensive. Am I correct? Or is it unnatural in this context?
  19. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    It is already offensive to me at "Sharon is a bitch". It is not offensive to others. However, in an office environment I would not recommend saying such a thing about Sharon to co-workers that are not also good friends.

    Once again, it must be "Sharon is a son of a bitch" if you are referring to Sharon. "Sharon's son of a bitch" could refer to Sharon's husband if you hated him, but not to Sharon. (It would be a little odd to refer to Sharon as a son, you understand.) In "Sharon's son of a bitch" the 's is possessive.
  20. Wishfull Senior Member

    Thank you, JamesM, for your answer.
    I will never use the expression.

    BTW, first of all, I didn't know Sharon was female or male.
    She is female, OK?

    Just out of curiosity, do you use "Bob's bitch" if Bob's gender is male (not female) ?

    I thought if one cusses out someone whose gender is female, one chooses "a bitch", whose gender is female.
    And if one cusses out someone whose gender is male, one chooses "a son of a bitch", whose gender is male.
  21. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    Someone's bitch (the topic of this thread) is very different from someone is a bitch. I think you might be confusing the two.

    "He is Bob's bitch" is possible. It means he is Bob's slave/lackey/servant. "Bob is a bitch" sounds very odd. You are correct that "a bitch" is usually for a woman and "son of a bitch" is for a man, but being someone's bitch is not related to gender. It defines the type of relationship between the two people.
  22. pjinatlanta New Member

    so what do we call a person who has a bitch?
  23. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    A dog owner, perhaps. Welcome to the forum, pjinatlanta -- but we need more context to answer this question properly.
  24. pjinatlanta New Member

    A person who 'has employees' is called 'a boss'

    A person who 'has whores' might be called 'a pimp'

    'Sarah made an excellent [_____] - it was so clear that Tony was her bitch.'

    What do we call a human being who has as their bitch another human being?
  25. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    I don't know if there is a word that carries this specific meaning. Perhaps "top dog" or "alpha male" but neither convince me.
  26. seantrevor New Member

    English UK
    I am an effeminate, gay inclined guy and have been the 'bitch' of a number of men. In my case, I wasn't really treated as a servant, but as a lover, and given respect.
    One of my men introduced me to his friends and family as 'my bitch prince'. I consider that a compliment.
    Any other guys feel that 'bitch' can be turned around from being an insult to a compliment?
  27. DonnyB

    DonnyB Senior Member

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Well, I've certainly come across the term "bitch" being used to describe the partner who assumes the role of the "female" sexually in a gay relationship and provided that he's happy to apply the term to himself (or have it applied to him) then it clearly isn't necessarily pejorative or insulting in that context.

    That said, I wouldn't use the word directly without being invited to by the guys concerned.

    Oh, and welcome to the forum, seantrevor. :)
  28. Sparky Malarky

    Sparky Malarky Moderator

    English - US
    Golly Foxfirebrand, tell us what you really think. ;)

    I believe you're being a bit harsh. Of course office workers who refer to someone as "___'s bitch" know they're using language that has come a long way from the prison environment where the slang originated, but they're being ironic.

    Slang creeps across social strata whether we want it to or not, and meanings morph and shift.

    I remember when someone asked me to do a trivial task. I muttered, out of her hearing, "I'm not your bitch, bitch." It cracked my co-worker up. Come on, we're just having fun with language here.
  29. seantrevor New Member

    English UK
    Hi Donny B!!
    I fully agree with your sentiments , and in my instance I was, and am , a Bitch by choice.

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