Tagged Questions

Slang is a type of language that consists of words, and phrases, that are regarded as very informal.

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Meaning of “barrer” (noun) in W. Henley's poem “'Liza”

I don't understand the meaning in which the count noun word "barrer" is used in William Henley's poem 'Liza (the italics are the author's): ’Liza’s old man’s perhaps a little shady, ’Liza’s old ...
3
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2answers
31 views

Deciphering of William Henley's “Bus-Driver”: put 'a bit on'?

This beautiful sonnet, "Bus-Driver" by William Henley, is studded with idioms, some of which are hard to understand. I've bolded one part (of the two) I don't understand: He’s called The General ...
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3answers
47 views

What is the origin of a 'racket', meaning a scam or swindle?

According to the OED the term apparently began in Britain, but became equally used on both sides of the Atlantic. It means a dishonest or fraudulent line of business, a method of swindling for ...
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0answers
52 views

What slang connotations can “bill” have in British English? [on hold]

I'm from the south of England, studying in the north, and my syntax lecturer is American. She was writing an example sentence that used the name "John", and a few people started giggling; she cottons ...
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3answers
187 views

Is there a pejorative/offensive slang word or phrase for a man who suffers from erectile dysfunction?

Erectile Dysfunction is defined as the consistent or recurrent inability to acquire or sustain an erection of sufficient rigidity and duration for sexual intercourse. Clinic 45 I'm a ...
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1answer
175 views

Why is food crazy?

Funnily enough, food is often used metaphorically to describe someone's eccentricity or level of sanity. We have nuts Slang. a foolish, silly, or eccentric person. an insane person; ...
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0answers
90 views

“One half” vs “a half”

I'm working on a copy editing project and in the copy they use ...only nine and one-half kilometres long... I have decided the hyphen is wrong. However one half sounds awkward to me. Is that ...
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1answer
18 views

what does “tilt north” mean?

I ran into this slang occasionally. Does this mean something (normally a number, e.g. KPI, index etc) is growing? slowly or fast? where does this slang come from?
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1answer
137 views

Formal Version of “Getting Around”

I am writing an essay about The Catcher in the Rye, and need to mention Stradlater's ability to get with basically any girl he wants. It can be said that he "gets around" (sorry for lack of a better ...
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6answers
168 views

Is there a phrase or slang word for a man who is always chatting women up?

He can be rich or poor, educated or not, vulgar or polite, handsome or not, but what characterizes this guy is his way with words and his garrulousness. More importante, he is notorious for making a ...
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2answers
99 views

Is it acceptable to say curse words if they are the title of a work? [closed]

I'm not entirely sure this is the correct place for this question. It seems more like a question of professionalism, or more accurately, not pissing of those who dislike "curse words." It's not ...
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2answers
109 views

Is “fresher” really a “proper” English word?

I see a lot of folks on Stackoverflow using fresher when describing themselves as beginners at any given topic. I have never really heard of "fresher" as a synonym for beginner. I know "freshman" as ...
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4answers
2k views

Etymology of a “pegged CPU”

There's a slightly obscure, slang meaning in tech circles of the word "pegged" as it relates to a computer's CPU. When it is fully utilised for a duration (at least several seconds), you can say that ...
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2answers
123 views

Word or expression for guys who slept with the same woman(prostitute)?

Embarrassingly, in Korean, there is a slang word for this kind of relationship between guys. Might be translated as, "the husband of my wife's sister but only by the hole" ? I don't know how can I ...
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4answers
127 views

Why is taking a side street called a “rat run”?

I stumbled upon this expression for the first time while doing some research for an answer, and I have to admit I love it! An explanation of rat running/ a rat run is as follows "Rat running/ A ...
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3answers
424 views

Can I use TL;DR in a formal email? [closed]

I've seen the internet slang TL;DR many times in the internet, and as I can see people used it pretty much in the present day. Can I use it in a formal email to a client?
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3answers
192 views

How to explain “Cool” to a Briton

I was recently having a conversation with a friend from England. During the conversation I described someone as being cool, but he seemed confused by the term and asked me what I meant. I couldn't ...
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14answers
2k views

Word or phrase for a woman who shows up at events in gaudy outfits, garish make-up, and excessive jewelry?

Such person is usually - but not necessarily - upper-middle class. I'm looking for a noun or a noun-phrase but the words I've found so far (unpolished, inelegant, gauche, etc.) are adjectives and/or ...
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1answer
87 views

Meaning of “Let's big out”

"Let's big out". What does it mean? It is a sentence I have to translate with no context. Thank you in advance!
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3answers
106 views

What is the origin of “have a gander”? (When meaning “look”.)

The phrase "have a gander" meaning "have a look" is common in the UK. (Also can be "have a goosey gander" or just "have a goosey".) What is the origin/meaning of this phrase? I always assumed that it ...
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2answers
84 views

What was Princeton 6 in Jamaican English?

I got an Old Raggae album and started listening to "Bam Bam" by Sister Nancy (youtube) After listening several times, I could start making out the English words (lyrics): A me seh one thing Nancy ...
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12answers
6k views

Is there a slang word or idiom for someone who borrows money from friends or relatives and never (or rarely) pays them back? [duplicate]

My question doesn't refer to bank loans or credit card accounts. Nor does it refer to getting things out of other people's generosity. It is specifically about money; a slang word or idiom for a ...
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2answers
87 views

Pejorative word for excellent pupil

I need a pejorative word for a pupil, who is always having excellent grades at school. He or she would have little or no interest in any of the subjects, nor great understanding, achieving their marks ...
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2answers
119 views

Is “Drop the big hammer” American slang?

In a trailer for the movie "Black Hat", one person says "The guy we're working with will drop the big hammer and not think twice about it" Is this some sort of American slang, possibly for a ...
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Why does the use of language change so much over time? [closed]

In our day and age we text and use different language than people in the past. Why do we change so much to adapt a new style of language?
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3answers
84 views

Is there a specific word or name that refers to someone who studies a lot but is not intelligent

I have heard this word in other languages. It refers (in the bad sense) to those persons who are really hard working, study a lot, memorize, but in fact do not have the intelligence knack. They are ...
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1answer
92 views

Where did the slang word “basic” come from?

How did the word basic come to be used as slang for "the majority" or "the conformed." Where was it's first usage as such a word? Is it a new internet frenzy or has this word been used as slang ...
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3answers
93 views

Where and when did the phrase “turkey of the year” originate? [closed]

Was it meant to be an objurgation, an insult, a jocose remark, or something else? And does it have the same meaning today as it had then?" Definitions of “turkey” (when used to refer to a person) ...
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1answer
86 views

What does it mean to be “t-boned” by something?

Someone at work today said that "the marketing department might t-bone us with a request for this". What does that mean?
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1answer
72 views

South African Slang “Nu”

Any idea what Nu means when someone uses it as a nickname for someone else in South Africa?
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2answers
1k views

When did people start “boinking”?

Is "boinking" an onomatopoeic and/or a blend word? I would have said so, I believe the word boink refers to the sound of the mattress springs squeaking under the weight of a couple making love. A ...
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0answers
43 views

Is there a proper name for saying something like “stack'em”?

Is there a proper name for saying something like stack'em instead of stack them or any other "'em" in place of "them"? Is it slang or something to do with dialect? UPDATE It is a ...
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2answers
161 views

Is it mere slang to use the verb 'stick' in place of 'versus', as in 'Us three 'stick' you four'?

When I was a child (well over a half-century ago) in Norfolk, we would, when playing football talk of 'Team A stick Team B. When arranging sides informally we would say 'Us three stick the rest of ...
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0answers
22 views

“Jesus is a coming” - what's the exact grammatical role of the “a” before the gerund? [duplicate]

I've noticed that in the common use of English, namely in songs, there is also an extra redundant(?) "a" before a gerund, such as in a gospel song I heard Jesus is a coming (this particular ...
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2answers
68 views

“Baby blues” - metonomy or synechdoche?

I understand the basic difference between metonymy and synecdoche (thanks in part to this question) but got stumped on "baby blues" as another way of saying eyes. Am I right that it is synecdoche as ...
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2answers
2k views

BrEng: “pull your finger out”, “cock up” and “stuff it” What do they mean?

In the British sitcom, The Thin Blue Line, Detective Grim makes three intelligently crafted sentences, which are given below. What do they mean? It's my arse on the line, so you better pull your ...
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1answer
128 views

What does it mean to call somebody “mom?”

I've heard many people use the word mom both in workplace and on TV. These are a few examples: In Insanity (the home exercise program) the leader of the program calls one of the participants "mom." ...
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4answers
1k views

Usage of “fanny” as verb

I am not a native English speaker, hence please bear with me. I understand that fanny means mess around and waste time. Can someone suggest how I might make a sentence which uses fanny, as an ...
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1answer
63 views

Is “Goldbrick” commonly used in American English?

I came across the slang term "Goldbrick" in the American WWII cartoon Private Snafu The Goldbrick (Warning: possibly sexist at the start, and possibly racist near the end). I'd never heard the word ...
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4answers
156 views

Why is a young surfer called a “grommet” or a “grom”?

Why is a young surfer called a "grommet" or a "grom"? This page suggests that "a possible etymology for the word may be from the Portuguese term 'grumete', meaning the lowest ranking person on board ...
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3answers
178 views

Why does “smashing” mean “very good”?

Smashing is a BrE slang which means "very good" or "impressive". Most folks might know this already, due to its use as a catch phrase by various BrE characters in media. However, from the usual ...
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6answers
2k views

How did “stuck-up” get to mean “snob”?

I was inclined to believe that the expression "stuck-up", meaning staying aloof from others because one thinks one is superior, had its origins with somebody's nose stuck (up) in the air and yet, ...
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3answers
163 views

Is “cry” an intransitive verb, or can it be transitive? - as in “Cry me a river”

When I look up the word, it should be an intransitive verb (no object). However, I'm still curious about the title "Cry me a river". Can I say that "I cried a bucket"?
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2answers
126 views

“The feds” has a negative connotation? Who exactly are they anyway?

In the US media, news reporters enjoy saying "the feds" with authority, but this using of a slang term without an agreed upon definition frustrates me. Let me elaborate. Speaking as a native speaker, ...
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4answers
96 views

Is there a slang word for “electronic cigarettes” (e-cigarettes)?

An electronic cigarette (e-cig or e-cigarette), personal vaporizer (PV) or electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) is a battery-powered vaporizer which simulates tobacco smoking by producing an ...
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2answers
78 views

so mainstream or too mainstream [closed]

Should I say "something is so mainstream" or "too mainstream". They are both grammatically correct but which one is more common to use?
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5answers
677 views

What's the US slang term for “following someone in a car”?

I heard this somewhere on YouTube and I wish I could recall where exactly. The person was recording himself from a dash-cam while driving, and when he noticed that a cop was following him, he said ...
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2answers
420 views

How would a phrase such as “Does the pope sh*t in the woods” be classified? The closest I can get is “intentional malapropism”.

How would phrases such as "Does the pope sh*t in the woods? Does a bear wear a funny hat?" be classified? The closest I can get is "intentional malapropism". Thanks for your help.
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0answers
125 views

The antonym of Schadenfreude is “fribbly” - the joy in other people's joy. What is the origin of this new meaning?

For many years the word fribbly has been used, in various communities as the antonym of Schadenfreude. Rather than harm-joy or "pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others". Fribbly is "Joy-Joy" ...
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0answers
337 views

Inoffensive exclamatory word to express surprise [closed]

Is there an inoffensive (possibly slang) term that can be used to express surprise in the "WTF" sense? For example, this term would be appropriate upon seeing that the stock market has fallen several ...