the dozens


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the dozens

An informal spoken-word contest in which one trades insults with someone else about each other and each other's family members, especially their mothers, typically in front of a group. The insults are not meant to be taken seriously. Exclusive to African-American communities. Primarily heard in US. You want to shoot the dozens, son? We'll keep it light, unlike yo' mama, who's pushin' a ton! Playing the dozens is a tradition in this hood.
See also: dozen

the dozens

verb
See also: dozen
References in classic literature ?
But the whole community was thrilled by the size of the stakes, and each one of the dozen correspondents in the field sent out a sensational article.
In the midst of them, the hangman, ever busy and ever worse than useless, was in constant requisition; now, stringing up long rows of miscellaneous criminals; now, hanging a housebreaker on Saturday who had been taken on Tuesday; now, burning people in the hand at Newgate by the dozen, and now burning pamphlets at the door of Westminster Hall; to-day, taking the life of an atrocious murderer, and to-morrow of a wretched pilferer who had robbed a farmer's boy of sixpence.
At intervals during the night a rifle would bark close above their heads, and one of the dozen sentries which they now had posted would tumble to the ground.
On Wednesday, the doughnut chain is once again celebrating its "Day of the Dozens" holiday, in honor of 12/12 AKA Dec.
The "Day of the Dozens" offer is limited to two per customer.
Talking 'Bout Your Mama: The Dozens, Snaps, and the Deep Roots of Rap.
This work explores one of the most potent sources of rap: the viciously funny, outrageously inventive insult game known as "the dozens." Hence, the traces the tradition of African American street rhyming and verbal combat that has ruled urban neighborhoods since the early 1900s (a basic building block of African-American culture) as he goes back to the dozens' roots, looking at mother-insulting and verbal combat from Greenland to the sources of the Niger, and shows its breadth of influence in the seminal writings of Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston; the comedy of Richard Pryor and George Carlin; the humor of the blues; the hip language and competitive jamming of jazz; and in its ultimate evolution into the improvisatory battling of rap.
The Dozens: A History of Ray's Mama Elijah Wald, Oxford University Press, 2012.
"Yo' mama" jokes are probably the most potent signifier of the competitive insult ritual known as the dozens. And yet the dozens is a slippery genre that has eluded close understanding since John Dollard first cast a scholarly eye on the practice in 1939.
Wald's book is both a history and historiography of the dozens. It is structured chronologically, with each short chapter devoted to a specific manifestation of dozens performance.
Chapters 3 and 4 are devoted to the earliest known musical expressions of the dozens and cover vaudeville and the blues, respectively.
Wald finds resonances of the lyrics in folklore, a traditional spiritual and a parodic spiritual, an antebellum minstrel song, and a British nursery rhyme, demonstrating that "the dozens was always part of a larger world of signifying, arguing, teasing, joking, and versifying" (61).
Military Way are just a few of the dozens of management theory books lining the business shelves of most bookstores (see box, facing page).
When the game was transported to America, it became known as the dozens. The dozens and other ritualized insults--called joning, capping or sounding--are an inventive but transparent kind of satire called invective.
Both Baraka's Beat and Black Arts poems make amazing use of the dozens, joning and literary satiric techniques.