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Trash-talk is a form of insult usually found in sports events, although it is not exclusive to just sports or similarly characterized events.[1] It is often used to intimidate the opposition, but can also be used in a humorous spirit. Trash-talk is often characterized by use of hyperbole or figurative language, such as, "Your team can't run! You run like honey on ice!" Puns and other wordplay are commonly used.

Trash-talk was commonly used by the heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali in the 1960s and 70s. In 1963, Ali even released a popular full-length record album consisting largely of trash-talk poetry. It was entitled I Am the Greatest!, a phrase that became his signature line. Since then, it has become common for boxers, wrestlers, and many other sports competitors to use trash-talk.[2] However, in amateur sports ranks, trash talking is generally frowned upon as unsportsmanlike conduct (especially in youth leagues). UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor is a more recent example of a prominent trash-talker, while former UFC fighter Chael Sonnen is considered by some to be the greatest trash talker in UFC history.[3] Although the practice of trying to distract opponents by verbal abuse is common to virtually all sports, other sports sometimes have their own terminology for verbal abuse: for example, cricket calls it sledging and in ice hockey it is called chirping. The Wealdstone Raider, a notorious fan hailing from Wealdstone, is known for trash-talking the opposition and opposition's fans.

Trash-talk has become a debatable term especially in North American sports, with the greatest trash talkers being acknowledged for both their trash talking skills as much as their athletic and mental abilities.[4]

Smack talk[edit]

Smack talk is a slang term seen in chat channels in chat room, blog, and massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) conversations. The term came about in the early 1990s. It generally refers to the use of threatening or intentionally inflammatory language. Smack talk can also be used with bullying, whether that be face-to-face interaction, or cyber-bullying.

Smack talk is also a slang term used in sports. It refers to inflammatory comments made by a person or team in order to insult, anger, annoy or be boisterous towards your opponents. Although it began as a term used by sports fans and athletes, it has spread to all areas of culture where competition takes place. In the United States, it is synonymous with "trash talk".

The social interaction within MMOGs has been observed to be quite active and often leads to long-term social relationships.[5] MMOG groups, such as "teams", "guilds" or "corporations", are composed of groups of people who often initially have no other social contact or interactions with each other.[6] As a result, their conversations contain a subtext of discovery of language skills, social values, and intentions. One of the first indicators of these is the use or offense taken by the usage of smack talk. For the purpose of setting a social context or to comply with MMOG end user license agreement[7] restrictions, MMOG groups may establish bylaws, traditions, or rules (formal or informal) that either permit, discourage, or prohibit the use of smack talk in their conversations and postings.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "trash talk - Definition of trash talk in English by Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries - English.
  2. ^ Jackson, Derrick Z. (February 2, 2010). "The kings of trash talk". Boston Globe, Globe Newspaper Company. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  3. ^ "Sherdog's Top 10: Trash Talkers - Number 1". Sherdog. Retrieved 2017-10-09.
  4. ^ Dimengo, Nick. "The 25 Biggest Trash-Talkers in Sports History". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2019-03-31.
  5. ^ Social interactions in massively multiplayer online role-playing gamers, CyberPsychology and Behavior, Volume 10, pp. 575-583, H. Cole and Griffiths, MD., 2007
  6. ^ Study: Want to Make a Friend for Life? Play an MMORPG, James Brightman, August 15, 2007
  7. ^ "Blizzard Entertainment:Blizzard Legal Documentation".

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