The Current
Sad State
of Bitchen

A recent survey of the Major Internet Search Engines reveals that of around 4000 sites that use "bitchen" only 11% are spelling it properly.

This statistic is, unfortunately, representative of the sad state of spelling bitchen in America.

New Hope
A recent Turning Point episode featured the lone endeavors of Cody, a big-kahuna- turned-priest, touring parts of surf-deprived central North America trying to help, in his small way, the underpriviledged to "Spell Surfing Slang."

His SSS program touched thousands of kids helping them not only with bitchen, but also with gnarly,tubular, andrad. ("You'd be surprised how many get that one wrong," he adds.)

the word bitchen
they're spelling it wrong

Etymological Evidence Discovered
1862 Document Uses "Bitchen"

Captain Richard W. Burt of the 76th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, corresponded with a newspaper editor of the Newark True American as a civil war correspondent. In writing from Memphis,Tennesee on June 3, 1862, he describes the Overton Hotel as "a very large and bitchen building."

       In the fifth line of the second paragraph, we can clearly see that the sixth letter is an e as compared to the i in "building."

       Not only is the spelling significant, but the entire notion of of the word being used in North American text nearly a hundred years before its next appearance should also be granted significance.

Update Feb 1, 1998

In today's "Sunday" section of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the following quote appears:

           The word "bitchen" has its roots, I thought, in Southern California beaches 35 years ago. Teen surfer dudes liked "bitchen" because it made parents scowl. It sounded like an indelicate term for complaining or, worse, a gender-specific expletive. But "bitchen" was always intended to mean exactly what it sounds like: a superior superlative. Only "gnarly" is better, and it took 20 years to think of it.

           Astonishingly, the first etymological citation of "bitchen" comes from the Sixties, all right -- 1862, to be exact, in a newspaper report filed by a Civil War soldier. He declared a Memphis hotel a "bitchen building." Ric Johnson's, "the electronic magazine of bitchen things," uncorks this gem. He even posts a picture of the actual 136-year-old document. Now, that's . . . kewl.

       The article, by David J. Swift, "Where it's at is @" ran in the weekly entertainment section included in the Midwest newspaper.

Update Feb 2, 1998

Okay. We admit it. It's fake.

       Here's the original letter. Add a typeface called "Texas Hero", some parchement, a lighter,and a healthy dose of cold coffee, and you too can have a fake artifact!  We kept intending to put up a disclaimer, but never got around to it.  It's an interesting exercise in "hey, if it's in print, it must be true!"

The etymology of "bitchen."

This page owned and maintained by "Bitchen" Ric Johnson
Java Developer, World Traveler, Last of the Big-Time Spenders