CBS 3 Did a Report on the Word “Jawn” Last Night

CBS 3 teased a report on the word the entire night — and that jawn did not disappoint.

CBS 3 - jawn report

The Grammy Awards were on CBS last night, but in Philadelphia the real prize was what was on the local news afterward. The station promoted it throughout the evening: As part of Nicole Brewer‘s new Good Question series, she explored the existential question that’s been bothering all Philadelphians for centuries: “What is jawn?”

The report went on pretty early in the broadcast, which started late because the Grammys went over. The news opened with weather (naturally), then reported on the LSD busts at Villanova and the norovirus outbreak at Ursinus. After a Grammys recap, Brewer’s report on jawn was next.

CBS 3 hasn’t put the segment online, but here’s a short recap: Brewer went out on the streets to ask Philadelphians what “jawn” means. As we all know, it’s most likely a corruption of “joint” and can basically mean any object, person or place. Brewer talks to a Penn linguistics Ph.D candidate who explains that the move from “jawn” to mean a cool thing (as in “That’s the Joint”) to mean anything is called semantic bleaching. Neat!

side-jawn

Also, Brewer discussed the idea of a “side jawn.” Yes, this is someone you sleep with who isn’t your primary partner.

While jawn can mean anything, it can still be used incorrectly — or at least in a way that sounds ridiculous. When Brewer asks Philadelphians to use the word in a sentence, the two white dudes she interviews come up with “it’s raining like a jawn outside” and “my pockets are full of jawn.” Fortunately, the black woman she interviews gives a proper usage of it in a sentence: “Did you see that jawn right there?” We knew it.

CBS 3 shook up its newsroom over the summer. People like Chris May, Kathy Orr and Beasley Reece all departed in one day, while longtime staffers like Carol Erickson and Pat Ciarrocchi left the station. The station appears to be trying to get younger and hipper in an attempt to reach more viewers. The “Good Question” segment, which Brewer began doing in late January, is one of those segments. It seems to have worked a little, if online chatter is any indication.

Despite reports to the contrary, “jawn” is not dead despite its extended appearance in Creed last year. I base this on anecdotal evidence, but it’s pretty strong: All of my girlfriend’s students at a middle school in Chester use it frequently.

People are trying, but that jawn can’t be killed.

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  • http://CRZ.net/ CRZ

    You have WCCO – sorry, “CBS Minnesota” – to blame for “Good Question” – looks like it’s finally infested other CBS O&Os. (It’s also a fixture on KPIX)

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    • CreightonRabs

      And that’s a bad thing how, exactly? It’s better than the tabloid trash that masquerades as news on 6-TMZ Action News.

      • Drjjsmythe927

        I don’t thing sooooooo!!

  • jd_steel

    ONE NEVER PLURALIZES JAWN…WTF….THAT’S REPORTING?!?!?

    • SUB

      Well actually those jawns can mesmerize you. LOL

      Having said that, those two guys in the vine were probably the worst examples of jawn usage I’ve ever heard.

      • jd_steel

        Jawn was initially a term reserved for a thing or a concept that is outstanding. Something badass, something game changing. A particular thing….”Yo, that’s my jawn!!” “Yo, that’s the jawn.” Then the bastardization hit. Pretty soon potato chips were “jawns” “Yo, pass me them jawns, yo…” Jawns is an altogether ‘nuther word…. Just a lazy noun substitute….No longer is the item or concept special…. So I contend, cunning linguist that I am, that Jawn & Jawns indeed have two separate, yet intersecting connotations…..

        • SUB

          I upvoted your comment because I can respect a fellow cunning linguist.

          Hey, call me lazy if you want to but whether I’m talking about more than one WRX, a fine pair of legs or even potato chips, if those jawns are tight, it’s out of my hands – those jawns are tight.

          • jd_steel

            My ’03 WRX….. I miss her….She was da jawn, yo !!

        • MainFragger

          I think that you have it a little backward.. When someone asks you to pass them jawns…they are asking you to pass something that is awesome or cool. It is in fact, so special, that rather than call it what it really is, you’d just rather call it cool or jawn.. But thats just my white boy take on how I’ve heard black people use it.

    • kadomony

      yes you do. jawns is perfectly acceptable

    • JakeValentine

      You can’t make a plural out of a made up word?!? You can do whatever the heck you want with it. It isn’t a real word!!!

      • jd_steel

        Jawn was initially a term reserved for a thing or a concept that is outstanding. Something badass, something game changing. A particular thing….”Yo, that’s my jawn!!” “Yo, that’s the jawn.” Then the bastardization hit. Pretty soon potato chips were “jawns” “Yo, pass me them jawns, yo…” Jawns is an altogether ‘nuther word…. Just a lazy noun substitute….No longer is the item or concept special…. So I contend, cunning linguist that I am, that Jawn & Jawns indeed have two separate, yet intersecting connotations…..

        AND….it’s quite real in my world….vernacular rules !!

        • Drjjsmythe927

          It’s “Black people language”!!

      • calcoolus

        Lol, who says it’s not a “real word”? Just because some blanco lexicographer didn’t put it into a book? You’re not the arbiter of how that word is to be used. Sit down. All the romance languages started out as colloquial versions of Latin.

      • SUB

        #jawnisreal

        • Stormy

          And has been since the early 70s.

      • Aaron

        Name one word that wasn’t “made up”. Good luck.

      • MainFragger

        You know, for a long time, people made a similar argument about the word isn’t. And grammar nazis would probably tear you a new one for multiple exclamations and punctuations.

        • jd_steel

          Effff the Grammar Nazis. I can write perfect King’s English if I choose, and I choose not to since the 7th grade….19neveryoumind…..

    • Stormy

      Right. Those who coopt our culture always try to change it to suit themselves. There has NEVER been a plural to jawn.

  • Jay

    Huss is also a Philly term for a negative :

    That jawn is huss

    • Aaron

      You either:

      1) are referring to “suss” (as in suspect), not “huss”

      or

      2) you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about (are you from Philly?)

      • Stormy

        He doesn’t know what he’s talking about and obviously not from Philly. Back in the day (70s) it was used exclusively by Black people and we said jawnt. Younger people have now dropped the t so it became jawn. As usual, Black culture is coopted and used improperly.

    • TONEY B

      Wrong Fam, Hus-ONLY MEANS short for “hustler”-same as “Fam” Expample;
      Yo, Wut up Hus or Was up Fam. If many of you wigs need more help, google a site called “Urban Dictionary” that should help you out a lot.

  • Misty Shakleford

    Jawn is deeply entrenched in South Jersey as well. I first heard it when we moved to Ft. Dix in 83.

  • KowalskiTG

    Jawn will never die!!!
    Now do a segment on “Bol”

  • Keb0

    jawn is a 30 mg pain pill where I’m from

  • Steve Harris

    A jawn has evolved to also be an opiate 30s and dope bags are jawns

  • Steve Harris

    Such as do u have any jawns

  • capos and e chords

    Jawn is or was primarily, used in the phila, black culture , now starting to creep in the white culture in the last few years, Similar to the usage of the word baby mommy , or my baby daddy, has been incorporated into the white culture, Most white folk had no idea what a baby mommy truly is, the white culture is using it as it is owned by them. ,and of course the word Jawn, baby mommy, baby daddy ,and even the term a blunt is very new to the caucasians, as is the different meanings.Another example was the word hey Jilm. now used in the older white cuture meaning hey man.Or just a salutation.That Hey Jilm kinda got lost though in the caucasion world , Another example is sup?Meaning of course whats up/? shortened from whats up? to Sup?

  • Drjjsmythe927

    It’s a Black thang!! Black Jawn matters!!