Wednesday’s Word: bogart

If you were a college student in 1969 there’s a good chance you saw the movie Easy Rider at least once. Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda riding through the South on their choppers were the Marlboro Men of the counter culture.

And if you were moseying or truckin’ across campus at the time you may well have had the music of Easy Rider recycling in your head, including the song “Don’t Bogart Me” by a group called the Fraternity of Man (who are remembered for very little else). The song is best known for the first line of its chorus: “Don’t bogart that joint, my friend.” Lest you aren’t familiar with the term bogart, the next line of the song “pass it over to me” makes the meaning pretty clear.

This was my introduction to the word bogart, an antonym to the word share. Or, to use it is a sentence:

“Jeff Bezos, don’t bogart the world’s wealth.”

“Don’t bogart that search traffic, Google”

or

“Rich countries, don’t bogart those COVID vaccine doses.”

Up until the time I walked out of the movie theater humming that Fraternity of Man tune, my only encounter with the word bogart involved the famous actor Humphrey Bogart. Turns out there is a connection between the guy who played Rick Blaine in Casablanca and selfish behavior involving a joint. Bogart was known to dangle a cigarette out of the side of his mouth without actually pulling on it. While surely few would want to share that cigarette, this is the behavior that came to be christened “bogarting.” The actor Bogart, by the way, died of esophageal cancer.

Humphrey Bogart

Frustratingly, spellcheck refuses to accept bogart as a word. Merriam-Webster knows better. The meaning is pretty straightforward: “to consume without sharing,” adding the variations bogarts, bogarting and bogarted. The Urban Dictionary definition is a little more expansive: “to knowingly and covertly attempt to consume a larger share of the communal weed than is proper, at the expense of one’s homeboys/girls.” Living as I do in a state that recently legalized recreational marijuana, I’m expecting my homeboys/girls to bring the verb bogart back into fashion.

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8 Responses to Wednesday’s Word: bogart

  1. Haha…great post. The English major in me thinks you could do a whole series on the vocabulary of weed culture.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That song was the shizzle! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I use the word “bogart” probably more often than I should … it’s sort of so post-hip it’s un-hip. But, it’s a perfect word in so many non-weed situations, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Henry Lewis says:

    Hang in there Ken. I fight with spellcheck a lot too.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Phil Strawn says:

    I watched Easy Rider a few months back, the first time since 1969. Back in 69, it was all we talked about, the cool hippie biker movie with a bunch of rednecks thrown in to make the south look bad. Of course, in that time of long hair and pot, any road trip through Mississippi or Louisiana would earn you an ass kicking. I know this from my own experience. The movie has not aged well, or perhaps it’s because I was 18 when I saw it, and a lot of life has happened since then. Fonda was his utter-cool philosophical self to Hoppers off the rails mad man. A buddy of mine was so affected by the movie, he traveled to New Mexico and lived in a commune with a hippie chick named Stardust. As far as I know, he is still there, or dead.

    Liked by 1 person

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