Word connotations

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/13/2011 ( 112 moms have responded )

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How do you feel about the word fag?



What word/s do you think generate the most controversy?



What do you think about these words?



Which words do you think shouldn't be said? Why?

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Sara - posted on 07/13/2011

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You know what's really interesting about the term "faggot" in the context of "a bundle of sticks"? It's that when they used to burn people at the stake in the middle ages for being heretics, witches and homosexuals, they didn't make a huge pyre for homosexuals because they didn't figure they were worth it, so they used faggots because they were just the left over pieces of wood that didn't cost much to burn them. So, that's how the term got to be synonymous with homosexuals. Think about that and whether you find that offensive next time you want to call someone a faggot.

Jodi - posted on 07/13/2011

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So, I'm figuring, given we're not stepping on eggshells and being all politically correct, you are okay with someone calling you a cunt, Nichole? Because it is a word that has maritime meanings that aren't offensive, so I'm guessing if your mum can call other kids piles of sticks, I can call you a word that was used in the 19th century to refer to a space in a ship. It's just as logical. Or would you be offended if I called you a cunt?

Krista - posted on 07/14/2011

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Anyway, I'll take everyones continued arguements that no one really cares to get along and at LEAST agree to disagree. I'm done.

Pfft. I get along with a lot of people here on COM, but if I disagree with them and it's an interesting topic, then why not keep it going?

Besides, like Jodi said, it's really kind of laughable that this whole thread arose because of you leveling an offensive, homophobic epithet at your neighbours, and not only are you annoyed that (most) people are appalled by your insensitivity, but now you're somehow twisting it around to portray those people as being argumentative and not wanting to get along.

Just a tip: you might find that people get along with you a lot better when you're not blithely chirping out some of the most offensive insults in the English language, and then acting like it ain't no big thing.

Jodi - posted on 07/14/2011

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**head ---------> desk**



EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THIS THREAD HAS TOLD YOU YOUR USE OF THIS WORD IS OFFENSIVE (Except your mum of course, and we all know how everone felt about HER views). DOES THAT NOT SCREAM SOMETHING AT YOU ABOUT *YOUR* VIEWS?????



Are you really as stupid as you make out to be? When everyone else is telling you it is offensive......it isn't personal. It's time to have a look at YOURSELF and YOUR bigotry.



Your truce? That wasn't a truce at all. That was your way to tell everyone to fuck off and leave you alone. And sorry, as long as you are going to start threads like this, you really expect that only people who agree with you should comment?



Stop playing the victim Nichole. It's really fucking old.

Krista - posted on 07/14/2011

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Nichole, it's the context AND the word. It's both.

If you had referred to your neighbours as floopywhoopas, you still would have been calling them a name, and obviously in the context of what you were saying, it would have been pretty obvious that floopwhoopa was not meant as a compliment.

But in this case, you deliberately chose a word that has a history of being used in a VERY denigrating, hateful fashion towards homosexuals (or anybody accused of homosexuality), and you used it in a denigrating, hateful fashion.

So your intent was malicious, and you chose an offensive word to go with it.

Certain words come with an inherent amount of offensiveness. Let's say that we can rank it from a scale of 1-10, with one being least offensive and 10 being most offensive.

The word "fag" in and of itself, would probably be considered by most people to be about a 7 or 8.

Now, if the word is spoken as a term of endearment, among people who know each other well and know that the term is meant affectionately, and everything is understood, then the offensiveness of the word "fag" is reduced to 1.

If the word is spoken thoughtlessly by someone who is ignorant but not malicious, then the offensiveness is at its base level of 7 or so.

If the word is spoken with hatred, and a malicious intent, then the offensiveness reaches 10.

Do you see what I'm getting at here? Some words ARE inherently offensive, and yes, "fag" is one of them. But the intent behind the word can either reduce or increase just HOW offensive it is.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

112 Comments

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Shannintipton - posted on 07/14/2011

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Sorry guys. Don't want to play anymore. I am taking my ball and going home. Sorry I guess I don't play fair. Maybe next thread. LOL

Jodi - posted on 07/14/2011

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My apologies Shannin, but Nichole needs to wake up to the rest of the world from her own self-absorbed slumber. If no-one else will tell it like it is, I will.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/14/2011

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But that's the point - not everyone disagrees with my views. Besides, you brought up the point, Jodi, about my views on minorities being personally offensive to you. That was in a different thread and you are dragging that drama into here. Anyway, I'll take everyones continued arguements that no one really cares to get along and at LEAST agree to disagree. I'm done.

♏*PHOENIX*♏ - posted on 07/14/2011

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Words can be the beginning of a physical fight ..if one is not careful

As a black person....LOL



I can say that the term Nigga is used as a term of endearment (many American black rappers do use both nigger and Nigga, but I will bet money that if they are using nigger…its to tell a story…not saying it to another black person..) The term nigger has dark history.. you nichole have NO CLUE, none!!!!! ...and lucky you

Jodi - posted on 07/14/2011

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"It's not my fault you misunderstand my views of minorities. I have no idea what miniorities has to do with THIS thread anyway, so thanks for dragging that into here and making it apparent why you dislike me, personally, so vehemently. "



Okay, I have 2 things to say here:



1. If it appears EVERYONE are the ones doing the misunderstanding, it isn't everyone else who has the problem. It must be in the delivery. You were wrong to use the term fags as you did, end of story. You can argue that until you are blue in the face, but everyone being on your back has nothing to do with THEIR misunderstanding.



2. Seriously? Pray tell HOW we can dislike you personally? We don't even KNOW you personally, so that isn't even possible. We disagree with you, vehemently, on a number of things. But disliking someone personally is entirely different. That's just playing the "poor me" card.

Brie - posted on 07/14/2011

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I don't use the word fag.. thats just me...
I don't like when women are called cunts and men are called pricks.. don't ask me why but i think that is the worst insult for men and women..
I absolutely loathe the word nigger and cringed as i typed it...
other words that i don't like or use are
gringo
dune coon
queer
retard/retarded
right now thats all i can think of but i know there are a few more.. yes i hear these a lot where i live

Krista - posted on 07/14/2011

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No one uses the term nigger now a days? No one? It's totally inappropriate for EVERYONE, to use it at ALL? Really? Because I'm pretty sure there are some rappers out there still putting it in songs..... and people oh -gasp- still saying it. Why? Because no word ITS SELF is bad. Period.

My example applies here as well. The term "nigger" IS actually offensive -- probably about a 9, let's say.

Now, under certain very specific circumstances, the offensiveness can be reduced to a 3 or so. It's still offensive...there are many people who just do not want to hear it under ANY circumstances. But, it is less offensive than it would be otherwise.

If it's uttered by some ignorant old grandpa who still clings to his old ways but doesn't bear any particular ill-will towards black people, then it's back up to an 8 or a 9.

But if it's uttered with hatred and malice? 10. Big time.

So when you say that no word in itself is bad, I think you're very, very mistaken in that.

But heck, if you don't believe me, go out into public and start repeating the word "nigger", with a completely neutral tone of voice and facial expression. If, as you say, NO words are bad, then you should get absolutely no reaction at all from people.

Get back to us and let us know how that goes for you, okay?

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/14/2011

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The point isn't that I used ANY word negatively to most of you in here. The point is that I used the word fag negatively. Which isn't the point of this debate. Replace the word fag with any other word, the context was negative. Period. It's not the word fag that is offensive, it's the context. It doesn't matter WHAT is put there then, whether it's bitch, ass, or floopywhoopa. It's intent would be negative.



No one uses the term nigger now a days? No one? It's totally inappropriate for EVERYONE, to use it at ALL? Really? Because I'm pretty sure there are some rappers out there still putting it in songs..... and people oh -gasp- still saying it. Why? Because no word ITS SELF is bad. Period.



It's not my fault you misunderstand my views of minorities. I have no idea what miniorities has to do with THIS thread anyway, so thanks for dragging that into here and making it apparent why you dislike me, personally, so vehemently.



Soooooooo... let me offer this to all of you who seem to dislike me personally.

Is anyone willing to agree to disagree?

Is anyone willing to call it a truce right here, without arguing anymore?

I'll ignore your threads you start, you ignore mine in order to keep the drama at bay.

I'm very willing to do this in order to move past this unnecessary drama.

Who is up for it? I am.

Jodi - posted on 07/14/2011

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And leave behind the "we hate Nichole" bullshit. This isn't about hating or liking you at all. This is about your attitude towards minorities. And this is NOT the first time.

Jodi - posted on 07/14/2011

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To be honest, it just makes me sick that ANYONE in this day and age can try to justify the use of these words as Nichole has. Nichole, if you were my 93 year old grandmother, I could forgive you for perhaps living under a rock for the last 20-30 years and truly not understanding the connotations of the words you are using. But you don't have that excuse.

I applaud Krista's post. She's right. Do you really think we are THAT stupid?

Krista - posted on 07/14/2011

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An excellent point, Sara. When people use descriptors, especially negative ones like "fag" or "nigger", it verbally makes those people "the other" and hence, dehumanizes them -- which makes it easier for people to treat them as less than human. I'm willing to wager that the men who raped and murdered Brandon Teena did not call him "Brandon" while they were doing this -- that would have acknowledged him as a human being.

Sara - posted on 07/14/2011

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Do you think the men that beat and tortured Matthew Shepard to death called him a fag or faggot as they were doing it? Just wondering...was that ok to do?



What about Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church? Is the way he uses "queer" and "fag" appropriate?



I would say not to both of the above scenarios, and I wonder why is it ok to use those words in a negative way to describe someone that bothers you (as Nichole described her neighbors) but many would view it not ok to call someone names in anger? To me, there's no difference...they're hurtful words. And I think assigning derogatory words like that to describe people that are different lends itself to treating those people as being less than human and therefore, it's easier to abuse them. Words matter.

Krista - posted on 07/14/2011

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Because it was feminine music and a bunch of guys - it's strange and unusual so I was highlighting that fact by pointing it out.

It does not mean I was calling them gay. Just that what they were doing was strange and overall, they are being idiots.


You must really think we're stupid.

So, you're denigrating your neighbours for listening to "feminine" music, telling them to be real men, and calling them fags, but you actually, seriously, expect us to believe that you weren't referring to their sexuality or calling them gay? That you were just referring to them as being idiots?

Just stop, okay? Only an utter fool would swallow that heap of crap.

Jenni - posted on 07/14/2011

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Basically Nichole, if you had used the word to refer to a bundle of sticks or a pack of smokes. The word wouldn't be inheirently bad. If you had used it in the context of "That's so gay" (the mainstream use) or called them fags for the same reason. Then recanted and explained it off as ignorance, that you didn't realize it was insulting to use. But the thing is; you didn't.



You used it to put down your neighbours for listening to feminine music and because they were 3 guys who lived together as you said in additional posts to that thread. You used 'fag' in a negative context implying they were gay because of those things and them being 'gay' was your insult towards them.



So the context in which it was used leads me (and other readers) to believe that you see being gay as a negative. Thus, referring to your neighbours as being gay for the tendencies they have.



I'm not sure I understand why the strong campaign for the word either. Why is it so important to you to be able to use a word that has the potential to hurt others by its sheer utterance. There are many words I don't use for that reason. Because I have class, manners and would not use a word that has the potential to hurt others.



Words I do not use: fag, nigger, negro, coloured, goof, religious curses, wetback, slut, etc. I'm sure there's more.... if I'm not sure how someone will take the word I use, I opt not to use it. Because I care about how those words effect others.

Jodi - posted on 07/14/2011

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Okay, let's replace the term "fags" in the context with which you used it with the term "niggers". Do you think THAT is acceptable? Using a word that has a certain negative meaning in this day and age and using it to be derogatory between someone, anyone, whether black or white?

Or let's use the word "nigger" just in general conversation, because, of course, according to you no word is negative on it's own. Is it acceptable for me just to use the term nigger in general conversation? I would actually dispute that it is in any way appropriate to use the word at ALL.

In the context of modern usage, "fag" and "poofter" are two words which ALSO are inappropriate to use in even general conversation when referring to ANYONE, whether gay or straight. It's just poor form and shows lack of any empathy, and in fact, I would consider a person to be socially inept should they believe it was acceptable.

Jodi - posted on 07/14/2011

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"Yes, I used a term in a derogatory context to complain about my neighbor.

But I do not see the term fag as being inherently a bad word. Nor any other word being inherently bad."

But you USED it in a negative context in order to be derogatory toward someone.

Amber - posted on 07/14/2011

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I said that the words didn't start as hateful, not that they aren't hateful now.



*Edited to add*

By that, I mean that the word had an original meaning that wasn't hateful. But through years of use in an incorrect way, it now has a meaning that is hateful. Does that make sense?

So, the word isn't hateful; the current meaning of the word is hateful.

Elizabeth - posted on 07/13/2011

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Feen, what I mean by try again was to Amber when she asked how many times she needed to repeat something. Obviously the way she had presented her perspective wasn't sinking through so I was legitimately asking her to try again in a different way. I didn't have the right words to ask that right then and I was concerned that I too might be accused of trying to start something and was trying to head it of at the pass. Emotions are sometimes hard to read in the written word.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/13/2011

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If the word isn't hateful how does it have a negative meaning?

Amber - posted on 07/13/2011

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I agree that the word itself isn't hateful, I stated that before. But because of extensive use in a negative context, this word now DOES have a negative meaning attached to it.

It may not have started negative, but it now is.
As somebody else explained earlier, the word is used to describe gays because the wood used to burn them was called faggot. That wood was chosen because they weren't "worthy" of the other wood.

I'm too tired to find research right now, but I would draw the conclusion that it started to become mainstreamed which is why some believe that it only means idiot. It's the same way that "gay" or "retarded" were starting to be used to mean stupid or bad in statements like "Well that's gay".

As it started to become mainstreamed, people spoke out about how hurtful it was and so the meaning didn't catch on a large level.
It doesn't make it okay.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/13/2011

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Yes, I used a term in a derogatory context to complain about my neighbor.



But I do not see the term fag as being inherently a bad word. Nor any other word being inherently bad.

Amber - posted on 07/13/2011

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Elizabeth, they aren't saying it as an insult. That does make it different. I still think that the use of the word has spiraled so far out of control that it's not a good idea, but if it is a term of endearment then so be it.

Elizabeth - posted on 07/13/2011

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Okay, maybe you need to try again, and don't start saying I'm trying to start shit because that's not my purpose. I'm stubborn as hell, but I'm open minded and am trying to understand. I can be swayed.

Currently, I don't understand how a word can be hateful. I don't understand how a word can be bad either. I understand that a word can be used in a hateful way. I understand how a word can be taken by the masses to be hateful, but I do not understand how the word itself is hateful. Therefore I do not understand why it should be eliminated. Once again, I do feel that respect should be given to not use words that are offensive around people who are offended or hurt by them and I have derogatory words to use about people that are unique and personally wouldn't use fag or nigger, they don't ever pop up in my brain.

Charlie - posted on 07/13/2011

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In regards to the post that started all this then you admit that it was a heinous use of the word ?

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/13/2011

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Feen, that's the whole point. It's not the word, the way it is used. It's what I've been saying the whole time.

Charlie - posted on 07/13/2011

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Elizabeth it is ( as people have said over and over) about intent , when someone uses the word as a means to bring someone down with malice, when the word is used to target negatively it is a whole world different than using it as a term of endearment.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/13/2011

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There is no word in existance that has absolutely no value.

Elizabeth - posted on 07/13/2011

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I know a few people with melanin enhanced skin who grew up in an area where the term nigger had no negative connotation and was simply a descriptive word like blonde or brunette and they are annoyed at the censoring. (when I grew up it was negro and black or nigger was derogetory) My one friend prefers the word fag to describe his orientation. These are people who are in the position to be offended by a word, but actually prefer the word. Do they not have any say?

Charlie - posted on 07/13/2011

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Always , you will always have to repeat it Amber because if people didnt understand your first post then they are never going to get it.

Amber - posted on 07/13/2011

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I have no problem with negative words, although I do think name calling is pointless and try not to travel that path myself.
The problem is with words that are hateful; words that have no value. How many times do I have to repeat that?

Elizabeth - posted on 07/13/2011

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But since her intent was to use a negative word, why should she be censored as to what negative word she is allowed to use, or is it your intent that no one utter a negative word ever?

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/13/2011

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Because it was feminine music and a bunch of guys - it's strange and unusual so I was highlighting that fact by pointing it out.

It does not mean I was calling them gay. Just that what they were doing was strange and overall, they are being idiots.

Amber - posted on 07/13/2011

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I've already explained why not over and over again. Because the word has become inherently negative and serves no useful purpose in language.

Amber - posted on 07/13/2011

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Yes, you did discuss those things in a previous paragraph. But, that was not how the word was used, IMO. Why purposefully point out that it was feminine, then say they were supposed to be men, before calling them fags if not to infer sexuality?

Elizabeth - posted on 07/13/2011

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I LOVE the word queer. (I wish there was an underline button.)

As to the question about why Nichole used the term she did, I throw the question back to you. Why not? Why is calling them say a douche bag any different than a fag? Is it not the same meaning for her. I suppose I should also ask Nichole that. What say you Nichole.

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/13/2011

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I was complaining about him smashing metal at 7 in the morning and blaring music which in my opinion is a very odd plathora of a mixture. It was just a general convenient derogatory word.

I also grew up using the term fag in the same way I grew up using the term queer. Queer means strange. So if I refer to someone acting queer, I am not associating any gay judgement to them, I simply mean strange.

Amber - posted on 07/13/2011

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The word "red" has VALUE to it. That is the difference. What other word would you use to describe that color, other than "red"? The word has use.

In the OP for the other conversation, it was about problems with her neighbor. BUT the word did not come into play to describe an idiot, though that was suggested later.

It described "feminine" music, stated that they were all supposed to be "MEN", then inferred that they were "FAGS" (I capitalized those two words, because she did in her post. Gotta love a photographic memory.)

I find it odd that only those two words word be caps locked, after a description of perceived feminine behavior, but we are to assume that was not the intent.

If it was just about them being idiots, why approach the term in this specific manner?

Elizabeth - posted on 07/13/2011

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Thank you Amber. That is the way to debate. Use logic to sway someone not attack. I want to mull over what you just said before I respond.

Elizabeth - posted on 07/13/2011

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Words are merely symbols for a thought. Different people perceive different words differently and attach different emotions to them. The innocuous word red brings up thoughts of sensuality for some and of anger for others. I'm am sure that there are also a few people who associate red with abuse because that was a prevalent color when they were being abused. Should we eliminate the word and the color red or just show respect when we are around those that have a problem with that word?

Nichole, if I remember right from another thread, you are having problems with your neighbor that have nothing to do with his orientation correct. Was your use of the word fag a negative word because of his personality and your issues with him and it was a convenient derogatory word or was it a derogatory word used to attack his sexual orientation.

Amber - posted on 07/13/2011

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For MOST words, intent is enough. But when you get a word that has been used so extremely, it is no longer enough to judge by intent. The meaning of the word has changed to carry that negative judgement with it.

That is why we hate speech and slurs are NOT covered as free speech under law. They are considered "fighting words" or "obscenities".
The induce people to anger and fighting at the mere utterance of the word. They could also be considered to have no social, scientific, artistic, or literary value.

Elizabeth - posted on 07/13/2011

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Okay so I was interested in this conversation at the beginning. It seemed like there was a legitimate debate about the meaning and intent of words and wether or not offensive words should be banned from the vocabulary.

Now I find that it has desinigrated into "Burn Nichole at the Stake" for having an opinion different than yours. I don't get this thing about Nichole starting shit. Where the hell did that come from.

Rape. That's a word that I find offensive other than when used to describe the crime itself. I especially hate it when it is used as a joke. I DO ask people not to use it that way around ME, but I don't truly believe it should be banned from use because I find it offensive. I just ask that you show some respect for my situation.

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