plumber’s mate, you lousy little bastard


plumber’s mate, you lousy little bastard
   This particular vocative expression is unlikely to be heard very often, but it is interesting in that the fact of a man’s doing a fairly humble job is used against him as an insult.
   The example above occurs in Monica Dickens’s Thursday Afternoons, and we are told that the man to whom the vocative is addressed is incensed. ‘He took all epithets literally. That the accusation of being verminous, illegitimate and not even a plumber in his own right should have been heard by Miss Parkinson was too much.’ One may compare the carpenter in The God-Seeker, by Sinclair Lewis, who is ‘you psalm-singing chiselpusher’ to a girl who also calls him ‘you Biblepounding hypocrite’.
   See also clerk.

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

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