As ever, when the URL for adding a post drops off Firefox's autocomplete, one realises that it's been too long since the last one.
Via the current issue of the rather spiffy World Wide Words newsletter, comes news that Professor Scott Kiesling at the University of Pittsburgh has conducted a study into the use of the word dude. His findings?
Kiesling says in the fall edition of American Speech that the word derives its power from something he calls cool solidarity — an effortless kinship that's not too intimate.
Cool solidarity is especially important to young men who are under social pressure to be close with other young men, but not enough to be suspected as gay.
Something over which to mull in the lab, methinks.