After I'd seen and heard others referring to Bill Clinton as the potential "first laddie," just talking about the term with family and friends wasn't enough. (But then again, that's why this blog is about words and languages.)
I looked up "laddie" in my copy of "The Concise Scots Dictionary" (Crescent Books, originally published in 1911; my edition, 1988). The definition of laddie is: noun) "a boy; a term of affection for a boy or youth; a male sweetheart."
That's a word worth defending, especially on "this side of the pond" (i.e., the Atlantic Ocean). "Affection" and "sweetheart" are loaded words when it comes to Bill Clinton. Our national memory isn't very long sometimes, but I think we need to consider the idea of Bill Clinton being back in the White House -- this time with nothing official to do.
So if he does get there, what would we call him?
"First gentleman" would be the equally respectful term to "first lady." But can anyone who remembers the impeachment scandal consider calling Bill Clinton any sort of gentleman?
If I must do so, I will settle for calling him "first spouse."
I'm not going to spoil the word "laddie."
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