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'Inbred' - is it a bad thing to be? Options
Posted: Monday, September 25, 2017 5:39:41 PM

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I saw this news piece on SkyNews today where a U.K. MP (Angela Rayner) criticized her colleagues by saying "MP's think northerners are 'inbred'".
I checked Farlex for the word, and all it mentions is 'breeding practices' or "ingrained" culture.
I wondered if the U.K.'s 'northerners' tendentially have sex only among themselves or are in anyway famous for it?
Is it perhaps a new insulting slang, also not in the Thesaurus?
The comments seem to indicate it could mean something like "stuck-up" or cold or rude. 'Closed to outsiders' would seem logical.
Can anyone elaborate, please? Thank you.

Posted: Monday, September 25, 2017 6:21:43 PM

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To be inbred is to be the product of inbreeding.

This has long been considered to be an insult in Britsh English, as inbreeding can lead to all sorts of birth defects that are detrimental to a persons development and health.

Northerners are not particularly considered to be famous for it in Britain, (although it's considered Normal for NorfolkWhistle ).

There is more a general atmosphere in parts of Northern England of post-industrial decline and decay the heavy industries have gone unemployment and crime is rife.

I lack the imagination for a witty signature.
Posted: Monday, September 25, 2017 6:54:09 PM

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Thank you Sarrriesfan.
So, "inbred" may mean "bearing birth defect"?
Or, at the very blandest, the result of an incestuous relation?
Posted: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 12:37:38 AM
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ChuckGary wrote:
Thank you Sarrriesfan.
So, "inbred" may mean "bearing birth defect"?
Or, at the very blandest, the result of an incestuous relation?

Sarriesfan may well yet respond to your question here, but let me add something. "Inbred" doesn't necessarily have to mean 'bearing a birth defect,' it can mean a number of ways as Sarriesfan points out. There is the original meaning having to do with persons who are closely related who have a relationship (whether just sexual or actual marriage); the offspring of that relationship may have actual harmful birth defects due to dominant genes being passed on (ie closely related people's offspring would more likely receive matching copies of defective genes than two totally unrelated people's offspring). Or the offspring may show no ill effects if both parents' DNA are relatively free of harmful genes. Also, offspring may just inherit nondominant characteristics like blonde or red hair and blue or green eyes (recessive genes), both of which may not occur frequently in offspring of a parent with brown hair/brown eyes who reproduces with a parent who is blonde or red-haired with blue or green eyes. The vast majority of people would not call blonde/red hair of blue/green eyes "a birth defect" as they do occur naturally but occur less frequently in our populations due to how genetics operate (noted exceptions in certain countries and regions where they predominate due to historic genetic patterns).

The metaphorical or insulting meaning of "inbred" can be meant as an insult or at least a tease: if a person has a problem of some kind (e.g. stuttering, slow thinking, unimaginative, memory lapse, clumsiness etc) some people might use the term 'inbred' to insult them or tease them or make good-natured fun of that person's little flaws. Using 'inbred' as an insult is not something I'd personally recommend, but I wouldn't recommend insulting people anyway.

As for "at the very blandest, the result of an incestuous relationship" assumes, wrongly, that all biological inbreeding is due to actual incest. Inbreeding and incest are not synonyms. Different countries/states have different legal definitions for incest, with it usually being limited to sexual relations with a parent or sibling, or forced sexual relations with uncles/aunts/cousins/grandparents. Modern genetic science (which doesn't necessarily match legal statutes in all countries/states) shows that there is actually much less chance of passing on defective/harmful genes between persons who are first, second, or third degree cousins than once thought...and so a sexual relationship between first or second cousins shouldn't be presumed to produce harmful genetic defects.

Possibly way more info than you wanted, but wanted to clarify for readers.
Posted: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 4:32:57 AM

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Ms Rayner was stating (maybe exaggerating a little) the attitude of people in the south-east of England towards northerners.

"They think that we're sort of a bit Luddite, and dare I say it, inbred.
"They genuinely think we're all a bit weird with three eyes and that we're downwind from Sellafield so we clearly haven't got an opinion that's worth listening to and that somehow, that we just don't understand what's good for us."

These are rather "British" derogatory terms.
"Luddite" is someone who hates and tries to destroy machinery, new technology etc. It is someone 'stuck in the past'.
"Downwind of Sellafield" is a new one. Sellafield is a nuclear fuel reclamation and nuclear arms decommissioning site.
To live downwind of there implies radiation damage and mutation.
"Inbred" is more general, but here it implies some sort of 'damage' - whether mental or physical.

Oddly, it is the very top of the aristocracy who normally have the reputation of being inbred (marrying cousins etc).
The high incidence of haemophilia amongst the royal families of Europe was blamed on this (The Czar or Russia, Kaiser of Germany and King of England in 1912 were cousins - one of the Czar's children was haemophiliac).

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Posted: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 4:58:33 AM
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What it comes down to, despite the actual meaning of the word, is that to call someone an "inbred" is just a nasty, insulting way to call someone an idiot or an imbecile. The person saying it doesn't really think the other person's parents were closely related: they just want to say the most insulting thing they can.

(Similarly: when people are called a "son of a bitch" it doesn't mean the person saying it is insulting someone's mother, it's just a nasty thing to call someone).
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