I am not offay with it. (au fait)

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Egoexpress, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. Egoexpress

    Egoexpress Senior Member

    Hungary, Hungarian
    Hi there,

    I've got an Irish pal and I caught him saying the word "ofay" I'd heard it before and having done a little research I was confirmed that it did mean something like "being aware of, knowing something" in a following context.

    - I am not offay with this kind of a brand-name.

    So basically I want to learn more about this word, I'm quite certain that it might be used differently or not at all in certain places and I was wondering how often you use it, I'd be surprised if it was common in the U.S., according to a dictionary it is a derogatory term for a white person but to according to another entry in a different website it is "(adjective) knowledgeable in a particular area, comfortable with the material, particularly with computers; i.e. That data entry clerk is ofay with computers; she can be given more responsibility."



    Thank you very much for your help!
  2. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I think your friend means au fait; I haven't ever seen it written o(f)fay:).
  3. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Hey, that's my post :)
  4. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Two minds with but a single thought....
  5. Egoexpress

    Egoexpress Senior Member

    Hungary, Hungarian
    How often have you caught yourself and others saying it recently?
  6. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I don't suppose I say it very often - but it's not, at all, an unusual form of words. It's just your friend's spelling which is unusual (though perfectly logical)....;)
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2010
  7. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Good question.
    It's not an expression I use routinely, but if you have a look at the in context link in au fait you will see that it is quite common in English media in a very wide range of contexts.

    Clearly, those who write it as ofay or offay have heard it, but not read it, and missed out on French at school :)
  8. Bobbum Senior Member

    Ofay is also a somewhat derogatory term black people use to describe whites in the US.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  9. BurgerKing! New Member

    Français - France
    Sorry to post here again, but I have a question about offay... In the meaning we usually find in the dictionnaries, i.e. "a derogative term for Whites".
    But strangely, I've never seen it used really. It should exist though!

    I found out about this word in the best scene of the famous Clint Eastwood's movie, Gran Torino.
    In this scene, where many racial slurs are used, both for Whites and Blacks, Clint tells the "wigger" boyfriend of the Hmong girl to screw off, telling his "offay Paddy ass" to move.
    It would make sense here, to use an epithet for Whites (even coming from another Caucasian) and that he then characterised him more precisely as an "Irish" (Paddy), like he's always doing through the movie ("Polak, wop, zipperhead, spook"...).
    But in some website, the term "offay" is quoted as "au fait" written in slanting characters, so... I don't really know.

    Is "offay" really does exist as an ethnic slur for Whites? If so, it is kinda dated, no?
  10. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    The spelling is 'ofay' and probably related to 'opie'(q.v.) There is a list of racial slurs at http://www.johncglass.com/racialslurs.htm and this is included amongst them. Unfortunately, the original site is down at the moment, and the link takes you to a copy of an earlier database.

    'ofay' is correct, offay is wrong, The database gives the definition:
    au fait is completely unrelated. It is not an alternative spelling of 'ofay' The meaning of au fait has already been described. It is a French phrase and the convention in English is to render foreign phrases in italics.
  11. Einstein

    Einstein Senior Member

    Milano, Italia
    UK, English
    Pig Latin? I didn't know that expression. From a Google search I see it's more or less what I've always called "back slang", maybe not quite the same.
  12. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
  13. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    "Ofay" was fairly widely used in the 1960s among black activists in the US. As has been noted, it's Pig Latin for "foe". In Pig Latin (long a "secret" language that has delighted several generations of kids), words are formed by putting the first consonant at the end and adding "ay". Thus, "good night" would become, in Pig Latin, "oodgay ightnay".
  14. Fabulist Banned

    Annandale, Virginia, USA
    American English
    I've only seen "au fait" here; I had to follow the link to find out what the heck it means. It sounds very superciliously pretentious, like using "faux" for "fake."

    "Ofay" is one of those words best left to the speech community that originated it.
  15. Manhattan4me New Member

    Hi senior member

    The term au fait is used when talking about something you know how to do. For example - I am au fait with computer applications. I also looked up offay and was show the correct way of spelling it.

    Best wishes

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