I used this word on another platform yesterday, and it raised some puzzled eyebrows. Finally, one of my readers asked, somewhat sheepishly, what it meant. This left me at a bit of a loss. You can find definitions in various online dictionaries, and consensus across the sources is a stupid or worthless person. Yes. And no. It misses out the subtle nuances, and misses the point that it can simply mean a curmudgeon.
The nuances are interesting for the simple reason that the meaning is shaded according to whom you are applying the term. Let’s assume I call you a stupid git. How I mean it depends on my tone of voice. If I sound mildly exasperated, then it becomes a term of affection, and simply means you’re being a bit silly or dense. However, a sharper delivery means you have truly done or said something of unfathomable stupidity.
This is where it gets complicated. If I, during our conversation, refer to a third party as a stupid git, it in invariably meant in a pejorative sense. I really do hold them in very low esteem.
Things are similarly complicated for grumpy old git. In this sense, git means somebody dissatisfied or in a state of irritation. This is a charge that is often levelled at me by my friends and acquaintances, it’s meant as a term of endearment, and we have a good laugh about it. A couple of weeks ago, a troll accused me of the same thing, and it was clearly intended to be an insult. My response? Of course I’m grumpy when there are idiots like you out there wasting my time.