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Another favorite Carlinism of mine was his comment about flight attendants instructing him to “get on the plane” to which he’d reply “Fuck you! Let the daredevils get ON the plane … I’m getting IN the plane.”
Responding to alexkelly’s original question, I sense a slight difference in meaning. “Are you up for it?” would imply “Are you available or interested?” and “Are you down for it?” would imply “Have you already signed up or RSVPed or however committed?”
But like Ron, I’m not sure there’s a specific term that applies to this apparently contradictory use of “down” and “up.” There’s so many examples of words being turned around like this (for example, “bad” meaning “good”) that it seems there should be a term for it. However, this might just be another example of language evolving as dictated by common use.
I can understand how “are you down for this?” would sound to some people like “have you signed up for it?” (ie “is your name down on the list for it?”). But when I hear it, I think of ’60s and ’70s hippie-speak (or maybe it was a little after the hippies) meaning “are you willing to do this?”, “can you commit to this?” or even “will you follow through on this?”—in other words very close to “are you up for this?”.
I have not heard “down for it”; rather “down with it.” I don’t believe it was in use back in my hippie days. I think it’s more connected to the rap/hip-hop era.
I don’t know if there’s a term for these seeming opposites.
This reminds me, and I may have asked before, please forgive me, but my wife, among others, tends to say “I’m fine with that” where I would say “That’s fine with me.” I think the former is part of the same package as “down with it,” something my wife picked up from the kids while working as a school secretary. Anybody know more than I do about when or where this change may have come about?
Apologies if this constitutes a hijacking.
Oh, “down with that” … yeah, maybe that’s what I heard back in the ’70s. If so, then I probably took the later “down for that” to be a variant of “down with that” and then forgot the difference.
I’m a northern transplant to NC, and my impression is that I first heard “I’m fine with that” here in the South. I agree, I equate it to “that’s fine with me”. If there’s a difference in connotation, “That’s fine with me” means I have no objection and “I’m fine with that” means I have no resentment against it either. But really they’re about the same.
Good for No:
Want a drink?
alexhkelly, more up down over Here.
Bob Bridges said
Hm, I never thought of that. But it reminds me that in the US if we ask that and he says “thank you” he means “yes, thank you”; in the UK “thank you” means “no, thank you”. Or so I’m told. Of course body language can modify that, but that’s the default.
I never knew about the national difference. I have heard it used both ways in the U.S. with, as you say, body language and tone making the difference.
Uber-Australian Sloth, Uber-Norwegian Bear, and Stephen Hawking discuss Cosmology on long distance phones.
UA Sloth- Us think the earth sits on the back of a giant turtle.
UN Bear- O ya? Then what does the giant turtle sit on?
UA Sloth- Easy, mate, it’s just turtles all the way up.
UN Bear- Ya ya… makes sense, ‘cept it’s got to be all the way DOWN.
UA Sloth- Sorry, mate, the way us see it, all the way up.
Hawking- Now now friends Don’t you know the earth is round No tur tles.
UA Sloth- That so? What does it sit on then?
UN Bear- Ya? There’ve got to be something ya?
Hawking- No tur tles just At las ses all the way.