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Obviously "douchebag" has a literal meaning - however if we see someone wearing sunglasses indoors, we would call them a douchebag. I'm trying to explain this to a friend. How do you verbalize this meaning of the word?

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5  
This website may help illustrate. –  KitFox Jul 8 '11 at 20:29
    
Darn it, Kit, I was going to direct him to the exact same website! –  The Raven Jul 8 '11 at 20:34
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7 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

For the usage you're thinking of, I would suggest a definition like "someone who acts self-consciously cool, hip, or sexually desirable in a highly noticeable and aggressive way." Self-consciousness is an important part of the definition: he knows he's doing it and is trying a little too hard. In my experience there's also a definite social-class element to it as well (what one might call an "overgrown frat boy vibe").

Like many slang expressions, though, douchebag is probably better defined by example than through any formal attempt at definition.

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+1 After reading everyone's contributions, I think yours is the most accurate. I'll try to summarize the definition concisely: Someone who puts forth an obviously superficial effort to impress others –  Anson Kao Jul 9 '11 at 16:25
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"Douchebag" as an epithet was originally coined in the Eastern Seaboard area as a general pejorative term for a woman. The male-oriented counterpart term in that sense is "scumbag", a reference to a used condom and nowadays a fairly mild epithet.

The term has evolved over the years and crossed genders, much like the word "bitch" used to be used to refer to women only (replacing the archaic but similar term "shrew") but is now applied to men. The former gender-specific nature of the word is likely exactly why such words cross genders; not only is the word still derogatory, but doubly so as the speaker implies the subject is unmanly.

The term in its most popular use is a furtherance of general metaphors equating a person with something disgusting, such as someone being called "pond scum", a "turd" or an "asshole". The inference is that the subject is socially repulsive in general. "Douchebag" specifically will generally conjure up the image of a totally self-centered, probably well-to-do, but socially and sexually immature person; refer to phenry's "overgrown frat boy".

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While an impressive explanation of the origins of the colloquialism (+1), I was asking for a definition –  Anson Kao Jul 9 '11 at 16:18
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In its original context, the term "douchebag" refers to a form of "birth control" or actually a preventive measure taken AFTER the (f)act (that is, after the sperm has been spilled).

In a figurative sense, a douchebag refers to an impulsive person who lacks self-control, and who drinks, parties, or"dates" in excess, and therefore has to be "cleaned up" afterward.

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I quickly found two urbandictionary definitions that I think are good starters:

-a self-promoting asshole who contributes nothing to the world. Tool. Loser

-Guy who gets the girl but doesn't deserve her

Douchebag can often just mean "a jerk", a general insult. I think it does have connotations of the type of guy that hits on a lot of girls, and while he projects sexual charisma, is very conscious of his image. A douchebag is certainly self-promoting and selfish. Almost certainly has little respect for women.

I think there are a lot of characteristics you could list because "douchebag" is a type of person.

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A word to describe an individual who has shown themself to be very brainless in one way or another, thus comparing them to the cleansing product for vaginas.

Source: Urban Dictionary (10649 up, 1233 down).

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Basically, tell him the man is being a smarta**e, and that he is as "worthless as a douchebag", because douchebags don't cost that much.

"Smarta**e" is someone who thinks he is really good.

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Smartaleck? What is that word? –  KitFox Jul 8 '11 at 20:32
    
@Kit Smartarse. –  Harold Cavendish Jul 8 '11 at 20:33
    
@Kit arse? or asse? –  paradd0x Jul 8 '11 at 20:34
    
@Thiago M. Arse in British English, ass in American English. –  Harold Cavendish Jul 8 '11 at 20:35
    
@Harrold Had to add the e to ass in order to make it work with what @HamandBacon wrote. :) –  paradd0x Jul 8 '11 at 20:36
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The kind of guy who thinks so highly of himself while having nothing to show for it. A showy but empty egoist. A bum with no class. A low rent, typical jerk-ff who lives up to nothing but his own pathetic ways. A gun wielding coward who thinks he is bad@$$. The guy who works as a manager at McDonald's and thinks his sh-t doesn't stink while hitting on his underaged females coworkers.

The simplest explanation I have is that the douchebag is a bad person, but may have one or two redeeming qualities. They need improvement.

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