English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'd like to know more about how 'ends' came to mean 'hometown' in current London slang. I have heard it used to mean money, which is an extension of mainstream use - means to an end, for one's own ends etc. Can anyone enlighten me?

Also, is there are decent source of general etymological information on current slang words? I know a lot come from Caribbean words and American hip-hop but a central source would be great.

share|improve this question
Do you have some example use? A sentence you've heard or read? – Matt E. Эллен Jun 21 '12 at 12:42
I would hazard a guess that it's related to football, related to home end and away end. – Matt E. Эллен Jun 21 '12 at 12:44
It could do, but London has had a West End and an East End for a very long time. – Andrew Leach Jun 21 '12 at 16:32

The London slang ends probably came from Jamaican slang, where it seems to have been more generic or local.

The London Slang Dictionary Project ("written by teenagers for their peers and for their teachers") includes:

Ends - Area, neighbourhood

From ends — one who is “from the streets” and so knows what’s going on.

The second highest definition in Urban Dictionary is the London one:

your 'ends' is your area

"what ends you from?"

by §håÐðw May 21, 2004

A similar meaning can be found in this Jamaican Slang Glossary:

Ends- A place. Mi a go pon one ends still.
(I am going to one place).

And in Backayard Magazine's patois guide:

ends, colloq. home, familiar place.

Another Urban Dictionary definition includes both London and Jamaican meanings:

Jamaican word for street corner
London word for dodgy area

Mi pon di ends (Quote from Dwayne of the Verne)

Rah, SE22? You on the ends bruv (quote from Andrew of SE5)

West Norwood? Wha yah wanna move there to, thats verging on the ends man (quoute from Philly of SW16)

Related words: hood ghetto yard briccie peckz

by bombskwad - detonating warfare wiv lyrics Sep 22, 2006

The W?Dictionary of Jamaican Dialect i.e. Patois says:

Ends: (n.) Hang out spot/area, place to chill,
(v.) ends out: the act of hanging out

Finally, Talk Jamaican says:

ends : destination, home (pon de ends = at home)

Some of these Jamaican definitions say ends is a destination, so the place at the end of a journey.

share|improve this answer

I’ve not heard it, but ‘Chambers Slang Dictionary’ (recommended) gives singular end, in the sense of ‘an area of a city’ as a UK black/teen term, dating from the 1990s. I suppose it may have come from references to the end of a town (‘Which end of town are you from?’), or it may be associated in some way with the area behind the goals of a football pitch reserved for supporters of the home and away teams.

share|improve this answer

protected by RegDwigнt Feb 6 '14 at 13:21

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.