Incipient “Wanker” Spread, that is. An American friend (who works for a U.S. company) posted this photo on Facebook this morning, explaining that it’s a photo of the Post-It note that had been affixed to his keyboard overnight.


I asked for further details and he responded: “Still a mystery to me… though I suspect a British colleague who was displeased I left the TV volume on too loud.”

If more forensic information is unearthed, you will be the first to know.

15 thoughts on “IWS

  1. My daughter who is English says that this word must be spoken with a refined English female accent for best effect???
    And why are my comments having to wait for moderation?

  2. A particularly satisfying word this is, but unfortunately I have all but suspended my use of it since being in the US since it isn’t appreciated. Here’s hoping it catches on…

  3. In New York the term “investment wanker” is used to refer to a common sort of overpaid, obnoxious Wall Street type. It’s pretty much synonymous with “finance industry asshole”.

  4. For many years, ‘merchant banker’ has been the cockney rhyming slang to use in polite company where saying ‘wanker’ would offend. If you say “He’s a bit of a merchant banker”, everyone knows exactly what you mean. It preceded the financial scandal by decades.
    Also, ‘wanker’ has, more recently, acquired a verbal sense: “I went out clubbing with the lads last night and we got completely wankered’ i.e. drunk. I first heard this about 8 years ago in London.

  5. I believe the presence of Anthony Head in the cast of “Buffy” was responsible for Joss Whedon put this word in the mouth of Spike, the notionally “British” vampire. Well-deployed, I thought.

  6. So, how long till they start using “tosser”? (synonymous with wanker)

    Then they can have vaguely humourous anti-littering campaigns like the rest of us! 😛

    1. The vaguely humourous anti-littering campaign is an idea which the local radio station in my home town of Ipswich, UK, has been using since at least 2008, as you can see from this old web page. The campaign is still revived each year.

      “Tosser’ is certainly used as an alternative to ‘wanker’, but the latter is definitely considered to be unacceptable in polite company. ‘Tosser’ is generally regarded as mild enough not to offend anyone unless it is spoken in an obviously aggressive or unfriendly manner. It can therefore safely be used in situations like the ‘Don’t Be A Tosser’ Anti Litter campaign, where it offends nobody, but lets it be known that people who throw litter about are regarded as wankers by everyone else.

  7. I spotted the use of this word in a Sue Grafton novel – one of her later Alphabet series starring the ineffable Kinsey Millhone. Now I’ll have to go and read them all again to find out which one it was…

    Of course, her books are set in the 1980s, so it’s presumably deeply anachronistic.

  8. The word is frequently used by the endlessly readable (if you are into bikes and the mocking of hipsters) bikesnobnyc. Such is his facility with the word that he uses it in all of its grammatical forms (http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=wanking) and even the rather advanced “wankfest”: http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=wankfest). While 100% from the US of A, Mr Snob also generally uses “autumn” rather than “fall”. I don’t know if that makes him a kind of one man NOOB hub, but he does frequently reference British comedy shows of the 1980s and 1990s, which may be the source of his NOOBs.

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