An article came to the copy desk with a phrase about nattily
dressed people. And a couple of copy editors came to me wanting to change it to smartly dressed. Why? I asked. Natty is a perfectly innocuous word, usually applied, with some condescension, to people who wear bow ties.
No, they said; it means gross and dirty. Huh? I shrewdly asked.
And indeed, it seems that natty is a term that means different things to different generations. McIntyre was invited to visit urbandictionary.com, where among the many (different) defintinions, he found this:
Something gross, low-class or unclean. Originally meaning neat in apperance, the word natty ironically became its an antonym for itself over time, thanks in large part to its adoption by Rastafarian slang.
McIntyre is editing for a wide audience. Maybe a lot of people still recognize natty as having mostly positive connotations, but if the term is evolving and some people -- indeed, of some of the paper's younger editors -- react negatively to the term, then ok. He changed it.