Some of my favorite English language slang comes from, of all places, England. I’m especially fond of those four letter words which constitute simple declaratory judgments about some of the Queen’s most unappealing subjects. Prat is one of those words.
The simple definition of prat is fool. We’ve already learned from this Wednesday’s Word series how many synonyms there are for fool: goober, dingleberry and nincompoop being just a few. But a prat has definitive characteristics that makes him a specific kind of fool. A prat is arrogant. A prat is smug. A prat’s head is swelled with conceit. A prat may be the dumbest guy in the room, but he thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room. I use guy since I’ve never heard a woman referred to as a prat. Maybe one of my small handful of English readers can weigh in on that.
There are some other definitions of prat. Wiktionary says it is slang for “a buttock, or the buttocks; a person’s bottom.” If that’s not clear, free dictionary.com elaborates “the fleshy part of the human body that you sit on.” In Scotland, apparently, a prat can be “a cunning or mischievous trick; a prank, a joke.” And the Wiktionary also claims it is a slang term for female genitals. Now I grew up in a lower middle class community where there were innumerable, mostly crude, words used in reference to various female body parts. But I never heard this one.
So let’s get back to the definition that reflects how most Brits use the term. As always, I turned to the crowd-sourced Urban Dictionary to look for some real context around this definition. Here’s what I found:
Basically someone who’s a major idiot, or is delusional and dumb. Acts against logic and thinks he’s self-righteous. AKA: Major dumbass.
A self-aggrandizing, pompous f**k. Someone who is full of themselves and, almost invariably, stupid as well. With a hint of ‘deluded.’
An overly pretentious person. Someone who is so obviously into themselves that others notice and they fail to realize it.
Offering the kind of insight you can usually only get from a spelling bee moderator, the Oxford Dictionary used prat is a couple sentences:
He looked a right prat in that pink suit.
You’ve made me spill my drink, you prat!
So having read all this and given some thought to the concept of merging stupidity with arrogance, I couldn’t stop myself from asking Siri this question: “Is Trump a prat?”
Perhaps worried that it could result in Matt Goetz descending on Cupertino, I didn’t get a straight answer. But she did offer up a suggestion for me to make up my own mind by delivering this link from Vanity Fair: Trump’s Limo Driver of 25 Years Confirms He is an Unrepentant Asshole.