Someone on Facebook asked, “What is a pregnant goldfish called?” It’s one of those questions that puts you off guard for a moment. I scrolled down to read the comments. One of them said, “A pregnant goldfish is called a ‘twit’.” The next one stated that goldfish lay eggs so there is no such thing as a pregnant goldfish. The comment thread contained a dozen or so additional opinions. One person trolled the others by saying everyone in the comment thread should be nominated for the Twit Award.
I had to chuckle at the word “twit” because I haven’t heard it used as an insult in ages. Impulsively, I decided to look up the word and discovered that April is International Twit Award Month. Apparently April Twits continue where April Fools leave off. The field of nominees for the Twit Award is quite vast.
When I Googled “twit”, the social media site “Twitter” appeared in the first several entries. A person who tweets is apparently a twit. One article suggested some famous political twits as award nominees, including Keith Olbermann, Rush Limbaugh, and, of course, Donald Trump.
I clicked a few more links and discovered a wealth of alarming discussions that had quickly devolved into threads of insults–the reproaches being much more rude than twit. The “G Rated” synonyms for twit include: idiot, fool, moron, twerp, cretin, and Neanderthal.
Neanderthal? Recent evidence unearthed by archaeologists suggest that Neanderthals should not be on the list. They were not the stereotypical “cavemen”, club-carrying brutes as depicted in numerous, popular histories and tales. Neanderthals were just as sophisticated as the contemporary homo sapiens sapiens of the day. There have been no data to support any supposed inferiority of Neanderthals, so they shouldn’t be equated with twits.
My dictionary also defines “twit” as a verb. In this sense, twit is also unpleasant and demeaning. We find out that to twit is to deride, mock, or criticize. It is an unfriendly behavior that induces anger or resentment. To twit is to harass with persistent criticism or carping. Its synonyms include: bait, cod, razz, ride, tantalize, and tease.
Taken together, we can properly say, “A twit twits.” We can also say that the name for the social media site “Twitter” is very appropriate. I don’t have a Twitter account, so I guess I’m not a twit.
So, we come back to International Twit Award Month. All of us have a list of nominees. I have my own batch of famous and infamous people. In the interest of social harmony, I’ll keep my selections private.