The specific British use is of this word as an adjective, equivalent to the American crappy or crummy, as when a laddish U.K. online magazine called The Sabotage Times, recently referring to a new soccer video game, commented: “…we now have access to an alternate world where supporting a crap, shambolic and skint club is no barrier to success.” (And by the way, shambolic and skint are now officially on my radar.)
…the Senate bill retains a finance committee provision allowing some employees to purchase health insurance on the exchange, even if their employers already offer health coverage, if it’s a crap plan (i.e., one that requires the employee to pay more than 10 percent of his income in premiums or fails to meet a minimum coverage standard). (Timothy Noah, Slate, November 22, 2009)/I mean, I’ve seen a lot of mediocre films, even at major fests, but let’s assume for the sake of argument that most people who set out to make an indie film are not aiming to make a crap movie. (Movie City News, website, July 27, 2011)
6 thoughts on ““Crap” as adjective”
The problem with “crap” as an adjective in American English is the dropping of the suffix; in a word, it sounds crappy. As far as “shambolic” as a portmanteau word, I think it’s fine, but “skint”? Is that an alternate spelling of “skinned,” as in “learnt” (which contextually sounds appropriate, as in “a not very good team), or is it derived from something entirely different?
Its not just spelled differently its pronounced differently, “skint” i.e. scin’t same with “learnt” i.e. lern’t
“Skint” = broke, no money or not enough. Yes, I think it must be a variant of “skinned”.
In case your readers are interested, here was my treatment of these adjectives, a few years ago. http://separatedbyacommonlanguage.blogspot.com/2007/01/scatalogical-adjectives.html
That post contains a link to this discussion by Arnold Zwicky, which notes American examples from at least seven years ago.
Thanks, Lynne. I probably should have included “shit” as well, but somehow crap-as-adjective feels more British and resonant to me. Marc, the OED reports “skint” is indeed a variant of “skinned” and means “penniless, broke.” The first citation is from a 1925 book called “Soldier & Sailor Words.”
No North American could ever bring themselves to utter the word “shambolic.” Totally over the top.