Saturday, November 22, 2008

Spit Into Your Mouth, Only Verbally

Late but nonetheless not too late for today’s one-week-delayed word-of-the-week
ambeer (AM-beer) — noun: the juice that forms in the mouth as a result of chewing tobacco.
In short, something that sounds like the name of a cocktail waitress that is also actually something that could come out of that waitress’s mouth.

This wonderful word — really, how did you make it through your chaw spit-spattered life without it? — comes to us from exactly where you think it might come: from some bastard combination of the words amber, for the color of this flavor countered bodily byproduct, and from beer, again for the color but with the bonus factor of the foamy texture. At least that’s what the American Heritage Dictionary says. Merriam-Webster only mentions the amber influence, so perhaps the beer element is conjecture on the part of the good people at AHD. Perhaps surprising no one, it comes to the American English lexicon by way of the South, which is certainly something the residents of this region of the United States can be proud of.

One exception to this otherwise agreed-upon definition: Urban Dictionary — which, as I’ve said before, is the one user-generated website that manages to make Wikipedia look like the goddamn Oxford English Dictionary. Urban Dictionary simply offers us that ambeer refers to “a girl named Amber who loves to drink beer.” As if that wasn’t help enough, Urban Dictionary also offers us an ungrammatical example sentence, double explanation points and all: “Hide the beer here comes Ambeer!!”

In any case, the next time you’re riding shotgun with a chewing tobacco enthusiast and mistake your soda can with his makeshift spittoon, you’re not just drinking tobacco spit; you’re drinking ambeer.

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