A recent article of mine uses the compound word “pert near”. What’s the deal there?
It was my article on whistling (I can’t whistle) in which I asked whether there’s “anything you can’t do … even though pert near everyone else you know can”.
Of course, “pert near” is a slang expression meaning “pretty nearly” or “darn close to”. Perhaps even “virtually” – as in “virtually everyone else you know”.
There’s always debate among language mavens as to whether slang words are “real” words. This word, at this time, isn’t in Oxford or Merriam-Webster, or even in the exceptionally comprehensive Wiktionary.com.
The only source I’ve found that includes “pert near” is UrbanDictionary.com.
Like Wiktionary (a WikiMedia project, sibling to the fabulous and better-known Wikipedia), Urban Dictionary is a “crowd-sourced” reference. That is, it relies on reader input. Unlike Wiktionary, which aspires to high standards, Urban Dictionary takes pride in having no standards at all.
By that I mean it will take pert near any or all reader contributions, letting other readers vote them up or down. This often results in a cacophony of mutually exclusive definitions and spellings – an online brawl. Yet there’s insight to be gleaned from that. Especially if the word in question exists only in the outer fringes and badlands of modern speech.
That seems to be the case here. Urban Dictionary has several entries for the word, spelling it variously as “pert near”, “pertnear”, and “pert’ near”. I really prefer the hyphenated “pert-near”, but decided, after tallying all votes, to go with the spaced two-word version.
The fourth “definition” (if we can call it that), submitted by a user calling themself “ORRMER”, reads: “If this word is used then you have located a hillbilly redneck.”
That hardly seems fair. A hillbilly I am, of course – but a redneck? Only on alternate Tuesdays. ORRMER provides the following usage example: “I’m pert near to pushing that goat through that fence.”
This inept word choice demonstrates ORRMER’s utter lack of fluency in hillbilly-redneck rhetoric. Correct usage is (of course): “I’m pert near to pushing this here goat through that there fence.”
For whatever it’s worth (hint: not much), there’s a website named Pertnear.com. Pertnear is a “social media marketing” firm touting its ability to bring thousands of fans to your Facebook business page.
Its fees range from $1,000 to $100,000 per month (depending, I suppose, on how many Facebook fans you want). This is stated in Pertnear’s front-page article titled “Command Your Audience, Grow Your Brand”.
The article’s lead sentence features this commanding display of branding grammar: “… the more loyal fans you have, the more number of sales opportunities you have.”
Speaking of more number, that same opening paragraph ends with a link that reads “Read More »»” – implying there’s more to read. Alas, there is no “more”. Clicking the link leads back to the same page you’re already on.
Since websites change, I’ve saved screenshots as mementoes of Pertnear’s glory days.
(This article is part of my series on words that are #worth1000pictures.)