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A terrible admission

Erm, cough, I watched part of 'I'm a celebrity' etc the other day - shameful, I know, but a bit of brain in a jar entertainment has its place every once in a while. Anyway, something of note that does not seem to have been remarked upon elsewhere:

One of the contestants - Joe Swash - moaning about something or other said this,'It's a bit sheeny, isn't it?'. Or words to that effect, but he definitely used 'sheeny',as I reacted at the time. It is not the best known of unfortunate words, but this is what it means, definition taken from here:

sheeny (shiInI) Also sheny, sheney, sheeney, -ie. [Of obscure origin]

1. n. A derogatory word for a Jew.

2. n. A pawnbroker [derived from racial stereotype of definition 1]

3. adj. Deceitful, dubious, fraudulent (describing people).

I doubt that the contestant would have got away with the 'n' word or 'it's a bit Jewish' and given that the programme makers bleep some of the stronger swear words, I would think that the word got through because the editors did not know the word and could not be bothered to check.

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Anonymous Geoff said... 8:56 pm

I've never heard this word before, but as I have lived en ultramar en el campo de Gibraltar for many years, is it current English slang that the producers should have picked up, or is it archaic or maybe distinctively regional?

And shame on you for watching in the first place!  

Anonymous Kev G said... 8:34 am

I only know one literary reference to the term and that comes from Anthony Powell's "Agents and Patients" (1936).

We are two very funny men,
The funniest you have seen,
And one is Mr Gallagher
And one is Mr Sheen.

I would guess that it fell from fashion during or after the war.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 8:47 am

Geoff - Considered opinion seems to date it to the 19th century, and I will concede it is not a well known word. I suspect usage may have been retained in parts of London if not elsewhere. My excuse for spotting is that I have hairtrigger sensitivity when it comes to anti-semitism, even if I am not of the House of Judah myself. Further, I do not think the actor said it with any malicious intent or was anything other than careless.

Kev - Can't say I know that reference.  

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