filthy individuals

Discussion in 'English Only' started by AliBadass, Nov 23, 2014.

  1. AliBadass

    AliBadass Senior Member

    IRAN
    persian
    In the TV series ''Prison Break'', a former deputy of a prison is talking to a prisoner (threatening him in fact) and tells him:

    ''I still got influence with people who do. People who will do whatever I ask them to, to whoever I ask them to. And a curvy man like yourself....Let's just say there's some filthy individuals......who might enjoy a cellie with womanly attributes.

    What does he mean by ''filthy individuals''?
     
  2. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    Dirty, low-minded individuals (who would rape another man).
     
  3. AliBadass

    AliBadass Senior Member

    IRAN
    persian
    Thank you. And ''individuals'' means ''some people''?
     
  4. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    It means "people," which I suppose means "some people," although "some" is generally how we think of "people" without having to say it.

    And you wouldn't replace "individuals" with "some people" in your quotation, but simply with "people."
     
  5. AliBadass

    AliBadass Senior Member

    IRAN
    persian
    Thank you. Is there a reason that he uses ''individuals'' instead of ''people''?
     
  6. EStjarn

    EStjarn Senior Member

    Spanish
    I'd say he uses 'individuals' because he's referring to some of the people just mentioned:

    Let's just say [that among those people] there's some filthy individuals......who might enjoy a cellie with womanly attributes.

    'Individuals' doesn't have the exact same sense as 'people', although they are very close in meaning. 'Individuals' makes you think of each person in a group individually, whereas with 'people' that notion is somehow blurred.
     
  7. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    I don't think this is right here. In my experience, "individual" often replaces "person" in some kinds of American officialese. It sometimes strikes me that the intended effect may be to dehumanize: terrorists, enemy military personnel and criminals are often "individuals" in reports to TV cameras.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014
  8. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    No officialise for me here – "individuals" are more personal than people.

    Compare:
    There are some people who want you dead.
    There are some individuals who want you dead.


    The "individuals" is more personally threatening for me.
     
  9. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    It sounds like Copyright feels that "individual" often implies or at least insinuates "dangerous individual" in AE. I wrote "officialese" because I am familiar with this usage from people appearing on the TV in US military or police uniforms - who inevitably are speaking their own jargon!

    The OED hasn't cottoned on to this exact usage yet, but it does say that "individual" can be "depreciative":
    B1b. In contexts where a group is not specified or implied: a human being, a person. In later use also (somewhat colloq. and freq. depreciative): a person of a specified type or character.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

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