Can any Brits help me understand how spaz could be offensive? In the US, it comes from spasm, which are mostly extremely minor, and indicates that someone is "vibrating"--ie, flighty. I know you guys associate it with seizure but you must acknowledge
that even to you it has incredibly innocuous definitions, far more so than the serious one.
From what I’ve been told- in the UK spaz is used like Americans use “retard”.
-the Polish one
In Canada it was also used to mean someone who was “spazzing out” as in like “freaking out”, which is often attributed to a person with any mental/developmental disorder.
How would that have to do with a disorder? People gesticulate wildly when they get hyper, and thus are “spasming”, ergo, spastic. Nothing offensive about it. And it’s my understanding that taking offense is a REALLY recent issue over a mom getting mad at a video game for saying spastic when her son had died of a seizure disorder (which would mean that the association with spasms existed prior to it).
It doesn’t mean spasm here, it’s short for ‘spastic’, which is an outdated term which, as previously said, carries the same meaning as ‘retard’.
However, spazz has probably lost some of that connotation in recent years. When I was young, the word ‘spastic’ was fairly common, until there was some great decision that it was hugely offensive, and people stopped using it. Hell, I actually forgot the word existed until right now. It’s not been said for years. People started using retard instead.
So, it’s not so much that spaz refers to spasm, it’s more that it picks up on the disabled, mentally challenged side of it.
At least, the way it was used here did.