|Slang City Mail|
|April 7, 2005|
Slang of the
Week: necklace (verb)
The kind of television violence Buckman describes on The Shield may make some people wish for the good old days when movie gangsters simply shot their victims and dumped them in the river to “sleep with the fishes.”
But necklacing did not originate with American gangsters. It started as a punishment for police informers in apartheid South Africa in the 1980s. In 1986, while political leader Nelson Mandela was still in prison, his then wife Winnie famously said, “Together, hand in hand, with that stick of matches, with our necklace, we shall liberate this country.”
However, one of the most famous uses of this word in recent years was metaphorical. “And in some ways the fear is that you will be necklaced here, you will have a flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck,” complained news anchor Dan Rather had in 2002 about the pressure American journalists are under to avoid asking politicians tough questions.