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Hey, jagoff! Keep Pittsburghese out of politics

| Tuesday, May 22, 2018, 9:00 p.m.
Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, seen here April 14, 2016, won the five-way Democratic Party primary race for lieutenant governor Tuesday, beating incumbent Mike Stack.
Matt Rourke/AP
Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, seen here April 14, 2016, won the five-way Democratic Party primary race for lieutenant governor Tuesday, beating incumbent Mike Stack.

The word “jagoff” is as Southwestern Pennsylvania as “Yinzer,” “nebby” or, for that matter, “nebby Yinzer.”

But the state Republican Party considers the regional term to be profane.

The issue surfaced last week after the party blurred out the word in a photo it tweeted of a T-shirt that John Fetterman, the Democratic Party's nominee for lieutenant governor, sold during his campaign. The shirt said “Trump is a jagoff.”

The tweet described the shirt's wording as a “profanity-laced attack” on President Trump. A link to a donation page followed the text.

Was it an attack? Of course. Was it profane? Not at all.

Whether you find the shirt offensive or funny, let's be clear: Jagoff is not profanity. It's nothing more than an artful insult around here.

Eighty percent of readers who voted last week in a Trib poll agree.

The Oxford English Dictionary officially defined the word in 2016: “Jagoff, noun: (chiefly in Western Pennsylvania) a stupid, irritating or contemptible person.”

Did the tweet come from a staffer from the eastern part of the state unfamiliar with the local lexicon?

Or did it come from someone who wanted to rile up the faithful into making a donation for something as silly as this?

Actor Michael Keaton, who hails from Pittsburgh, used the unique colloquialism in the 1982 movie “Night Shift.” Many people liken a jagoff to a jerk, that parkway tail-gater or person blocking the aisle with a horizontally-positioned shopping cart at Jynt Igl (Giant Eagle).

Mark Cuban, the Pittsburgh-raised billionaire who owns the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, agrees. He also called Trump a jagoff while stumping for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

So, criticize Fetterman for using the shirt as a political prop if you like. Heck, call him a “jagoff.”

But, when it comes to politics, keep your hands off our Pittsburghese, n'at.

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