I would like to thank SE for paying me my assassin's wages, which have now arrived. Apparently, they had to be repacked for security reasons, so I got lots of extra yellow tape on my box.

Though I would have really liked a TeX SE mug :-).

I just discovered that gmail had an urgent-sounding message from SE waiting in one of those tabs it uses for the endless stream of offers CVS pharmacy keeps sending me. (No idea who they are or why they think I'm in such a dire state of health, if not wealth, but that's a different matter.)

The message was sent last month, but I'm surprised nobody tried to contact me again since, according to the subject line I'm (was?) killing TeX SE. Rather alarmed, I thought I'd better read it, even if a bit tardily. Much to my astonishment, they seem to want to send me a T-shirt.

Hence the question. Is TeX SE really dying? Or, by now, dead? If so, am I really its murderer?

Or is this a convoluted scam by a member of Nigeria's royalty, hoping to blackmail me if I give them my size details?

Note that I wrote this only half in jest. I inferred the intended meaning, although I am not at all familiar with it. In light of Alan's answer, I consulted OED:

Draft additions June 2015 Categories

» trans. colloq. (orig. U.S.). To do or perform (something) impressively or conclusively. Also: spec. to do extremely well at (an examination subject). Frequently in to kill it. Cf. nail v. 6d.

  • 1899 Werner's Mag. Jan. 376/2 Kill, to do easily.
  • 1906 Dial. Notes 3ii. 143 Kill, to pass an examination perfectly. ‘I killed math.’
  • 1968 C. Baker et al. College Undergraduate Slang Study 147 Kill it, do well on an exam.
  • 1982 Campus Slang (Univ. N. Carolina, Chapel Hill) Spring 5 Kill, to do something extremely well: She killed that song.
  • 2001 Snowboard U.K. Sept. 43 Hamish McKnight was killing it on a Burton Junkyard snowskate, pulling off big indys and even getting close to 360 flips over the first box in the boardercross.
  • 2011 T. Rayburn Pulse (2012) xiv. Matt said you totally killed the interview.
  • 2012 P. Coughter Art of Pitch ii. 48 You have to go out there and kill it, make them love us right now, and inspire the team.

Frankly, if the SE crachach are going to communicate with an international audience like this, then I think they should throw in a copy of Webster's along with that T-shirt. An informal style is one thing, but some kind of mutually intelligible vocabulary is still required.

  • 5
    CVS? Aren't we all using git now? :)
    – Alan Munn
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 1:00
  • 18
    Also, I think this question requires a MWE, or at least the exact text of the email.
    – Alan Munn
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 1:02
  • 1
    @AlanMunn I prefer subversion, but the point is presumably generalisable.
    – cfr
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 1:26
  • 4
    Do I have to post a followup question about the meaning of 'crachach'?
    – Alan Munn
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 2:05
  • 1
    @AlanMunn The gentry, the toffs, the mine and land-owners. Pejorative. Orig. Welsh. Used in Welsh English, at least in the South East. OED has yet to catch up, however. (Seems odd. I'd expect it to be in as dialect. Maybe they don't think of it as part of English or something. Seems weird.)
    – cfr
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 2:37
  • @AlanMunn Search 'gentry' at geiriaduracademi.org.
    – cfr
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 2:39
  • Isn't using such a word a case of the pot calling the kettle du? :)
    – Alan Munn
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 2:40
  • @AlanMunn Because it is not international English or because it is pejorative? For the former: that was kind of the point. For the latter: taffy to the crachach?
    – cfr
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 2:43
  • Taffy. Welsh person. Pejorative.
    – cfr
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 2:44
  • 7
    You say "like this", but you're hardly revealing anything about the content of the e-mail, so I don't see how it's possible for us to discuss an e-mail you've received that we don't know anything about.
    – Sverre
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 11:25
  • 5
    @Sverre Fair point, I suppose. The email is one sent to users that reach 100 000 reputation points (which you may have gleaned), with the subject "TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange — You're killing it." Hence, there are about 20 users on this site that might know what's being referred to. Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 11:10
  • Despite working in Cardiff I've never come across crachach (for which my dictionary gives simply snobs) But there aren't many Welsh speakers in the building. I am however familiar with this use of kill, though it feels wrong in writing.
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 15:34
  • 1
    @ChrisH Just guessing, but it is probably more usage in the valleys than in Cardiff. At least, I've not heard it in Cardiff English - only in Welsh. But I'm not sure about this. Certainly, it is in, say, Merthyr English, but I'm assuming it is unlikely to be quite that specific. (But who knows?)
    – cfr
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 16:15
  • 1
    @ChrisH I had to guess a couple of times to get 'gentry' as the English. It is marked as pejorative, but 'gentry' doesn't really capture its use in English, at least, and I'm not sure it does in Welsh either.
    – cfr
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 16:17
  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it can no longer be reproduced.
    – Werner Mod
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 16:41

2 Answers 2


kill, verb, transitive.

  1. to cause to become dead. He killed the duck.
  2. to turn off. He killed the lights.
  3. to emphatically succeed in something. The comedian killed it last night.

One supposes that you are killing TeX.SE in the sense of (3). So to answer your questions, No, No, No, and No.


No ducks were harmed in the creation of this dictionary entry.

  • 1
    Never heard of usage (3). I lived in the States for about 10 years and I'm still not familiar with this usage. I just checked OED and it is a draft addition dated June 2015, marked as colloquial U.S. usage. This is a ridiculous way to communicate with an audience of international users. Am I supposed to monitor OED for the latest draft additions from U.S. colloquial usage?
    – cfr
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 1:33
  • 1
    @cfr Well, as Margaret Atwood observed of the Canada/US border: it's the world's longest one-way mirror. We see them but they see only themselves.
    – Alan Munn
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 1:47
  • Not Canadian usage either, then?
    – cfr
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 1:52
  • @cfr No, it is Canadian usage as well, since Canadian English and American English are more similar to each other than to any other variety of English. But the comment stands more generally.
    – Alan Munn
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 1:54
  • Only your first three negatives can follow 'So ...'. Or does the fourth depend on the additional assumption that purported members of the Nigerian royal family would stick to international English?
    – cfr
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 1:54
  • @cfr Why can't my last negative answer your last Yes/No question? I suspect I'm falling into some logician's trap here...
    – Alan Munn
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 1:57
  • 2
    You can, but not in the scope of the 'so' as it cannot (presumably) follow from the fact that there's a plausible sense of 'kill' that the message is not a scam. At least, that was the thought. I took the first three to fall properly within the scope of the 'so' because, once you fix the meaning on (3), those negatives follow straight away. But you need something further to get that the message isn't a scam, don't you?
    – cfr
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 2:31
  • @cfr Hmm. I see the point, I guess, but since TeX.SE is known independently to send people t-shirts, that fact, along with the fact that (3) is the meaning intended would surely mean that it also follows that it's not a scam. I guess that's the 'something further'.
    – Alan Munn
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 2:37
  • Especially since it is a something further which you knew which I didn't. Since when do they send people T-shirts? I vaguely remember people saying they had something when the site graduated or something like that. (Not sure what, but sounds vaguely familiar when you say it.) But I thought that was some special one-off promotional thingy and not an ongoing attempt to clothe their (apparently mainly male) users.
    – cfr
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 2:50
  • 1
    @cfr TeX Stack Exchange swag for top users
    – Alan Munn
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 2:54
  • So why are they sending me one now? And I'm not sure that's not a scam. either. I tried following the 'sharpie' link as I have no idea what one is, and it showed me a picture of a Panda straddling a green rubbery-looking thing in what looks like somebody's back garden.
    – cfr
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 3:03
  • @cfr Did you maybe participate in tex.meta.stackexchange.com/a/7329/36296? Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 11:58
  • @samcarter No. ...
    – cfr
    Commented Aug 30, 2017 at 22:44
  • 2
    I'm trying to avoid the temptation to avoid answering "yes and yes" Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 11:26
  • Oh no! They've killed Kenny!
    – cgnieder
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 8:25



  • 1
    Sherlock Holmes duck! :)
    – CarLaTeX
    Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 6:56
  • 5
    Where's the tikzducks version?
    – TeXnician
    Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 8:32
  • 3
    @CarLaTeX: surprisingly, that's a penguin, namely Pennington, one of my favourite characters in the Paper Mario videogame series. :) Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 10:01
  • @PauloCereda Oh yes, it's clearly a penguin! Sorry but I don't play videogames. Except for Candy Crash when I'm phoning with my logorroic cousin! :):):)
    – CarLaTeX
    Commented Sep 2, 2017 at 10:10
  • 1
    Sie haben gerufen, Meister?
    – Johannes_B
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 6:38
  • @Johannes: Hola Señor Penguino! :) Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 9:34
  • hi Paulo. Paulo, was the umlaut eliminated for pingüim in Portuguese? according to en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ping%C3%BCim it was. :/
    – doed
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 22:43
  • @doed: Hello! Sorry for the delay, I lost the ping. Yes, the umlaut was dropped from Portuguese, sadly. :( We had a recent spelling reform that gave us a period of adaptation from 2009 to 2015, so I cannot write pingüim anymore, let alone sentences like "O pingüim bilíngüe eloqüente foi seqüestrado por sagüis delinqüentes durante sua visita freqüente ao museu." I want my trema back! Commented Sep 27, 2017 at 17:09

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