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

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Why does the phrase “to take the rag off” mean to excel in the classroom?

A Collection of College Words and Customs (1851) by Benjamin Homer Hall defines to take the rag off as "to excel; to compose much better than one's classmates." I understand the phrase is quite old; ...
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What is the origin of the slang term “get out of here” to mean “you're kidding”?

What is the origin (first recorded use) of the slang term "get out of here" to mean "you're kidding" rather than "go away" ?
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British slang: larl

I've seen this word a couple of times in twitter and I've not gotten a clear definition. A friend of mine wrote a mock British text that went like this "al av ya mum ya larl cunt" so that might give ...
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Why do the words ducky and jake mean fine or satisfactory?

Even the Merriam-Webster dictionary acknowledges both ducky and jake as acceptable terms meaning fine or satisfactory and it dates the word ducky back to 1897 and jake to 1914. Does anyone know how ...
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How prevalent is this reversal of “yes” and “no”? [duplicate]

Example: Aren't you going to the store? Where I am from, the correct answer indicating I am going to the store is yes. The contraction "not" is ignored. Is this sort of confusion prevalent ...
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What does “what for” mean and where did it come from?"

There is a fight scene in one of my favorite movies in which the main character says "Give them what for!" I've hear this term many times before (usually from old south-eastern Americans,) but no ...
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I don't understande the usage of “either” in this sentence

"I couldn't sleep last night. I bet you guys couldn't either". Does the second sentence mean "I bet you too, guys"? Is it correct to use "either" like that or is it just slang?
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Is it all right to pronounce “bitchin'” with the “g” at the end?

I am wondering if, in situations of special emphasis, the implied "ing" ("ɪŋ") at the end of "bitchin'" may be pronounced instead of "in'" ("ɪn"). Example of contrast: "That is a bitchin' ride." ...
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Do all four-letter-words have four letters?

Two vulgar words I know have five letters but I've been told they are considered four-letter-words in spite of it. The explanation I got was that in such cases vulgarity matters more than the number ...
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What is the origin of “scrilla”?

scrilla (uncountable) (slang, African American Vernacular) money scrilling: making money. I'd buy a car, but I don't have any scrilla! That car is worth mad scrilla. So what is the ...
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The meaning of nailed in the conversation

From the below conversation what is the meaning of nailed: Summer: Tristan, stop. Tristan: You are making me chase around the party. Summer: Just trying to have fun. Tristan: You ...
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Source of the term Munter (unattractive person)

I'm a rock climber and I live in the UK (both of these will become relevant soon). In the UK (typically southern England) it's common to call an unattractive person a Munter. What a Munter Now ...
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Usage, prevalence of “rooster sauce” and “cock sauce”

Sriracha sauce is a kind of chili sauce named for Si Racha, Thailand, but in the United States many people call it “rooster sauce” or “cock sauce” after the prominent rooster logo on a popular brand ...
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Use 'Two dollar word' or 'Ten dollar word' or other? [duplicate]

We commonly use the phrase "two dollar word" in our company, but recently I have seen "ten dollar word" and "four dollar word" being used. Which is the most common one, and therefore which should we ...
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How did the words “petting” and “necking” come to mean kissing with passion?

I'm sure most of you have heard "necking" to mean kissing with passion; however, before "necking" the popular word among American youth was "petting". From Flappers to Rappers: The Study of American ...
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If something is considered the best why is it said to be “the berries”?

According to From Flappers to Rappers: A Study of American Youth Slang by Dr. Thomas Dalzell, "the berries" was a 1920s widely used slang term among American youth to describe something wonderful or ...
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Why was someone considered mentally unbalanced or crazy called a “crackpot”?

I believe "crackpot" dates back to the last decade of the nineteenth century; however, I'm curious to know why "crackpot" was used to describe someone mentally unbalanced or crazy. Any thoughts?
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If you're “balled up” why are you confused?

I believe the expression 'balled up' dates back to the first decade of the twentieth century and I believe it means 'confused' but I'm all balled up as to why it means 'confused'. The only ...
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Degree objective [closed]

I want to know the meaning of "degree objective".
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How to describe Homer Simpson's 'idunno' sound

In The Simpsons Homer makes a closed mouth sound made up of three rising and falling tones, resembling (and meaning the same as) 'idunno' said without opening the mouth. I hear it being used from ...
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Is a tin-ear one who dislikes music or one who dislikes new popular music? Why?

I know folks who couldn't hear well used to use a tin-ear to help but I don't understand the connection between a tin-ear and a dislike of music or of new popular music.
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Why does the word “joed” mean weary, tired, exhausted, fatigued, etc.?

The word "joed" is a word I use frequently to describe my feeling tired or exhausted. As a child, I used to hear my grandfather say "I feel joed" before he would sit down for a respite or turn in; ...
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Why does to “take a powder” mean to run away or to leave?

From Flappers to Rappers: American youth slang by Dr. Thomas Dalzell cites "take a powder" as a 1930s expression meaning to run away or to leave. Does anyone have any ideas why taking a powder would ...
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Why does to “cheek it” mean to bluff?

From Flappers to Rappers: American Youth Slang by Dr. Thomas Dalzell cites the 1930s expression "cheek it" as meaning to bluff. I don't quite understand why and I'm hoping someone on here may help me ...
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Where did “I lost it” come from?

People on Reddit often comment "I lost it" while quoting the funniest part of a joke to highlight how funny that part is. As I don't speak English much, I am not sure if this is Reddit-specific, but I ...
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Old slang words for a kiss--cherry smashes and honey cooler--why?

Cherry smashes are defined as feeble kisses and a honey cooler is simply a kiss. Cherry smashes was slang from the 1920s and a honey cooler was slang from the 1930s. Any ideas why feeble kisses would ...
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Is an excessively shy person a “gussie”?

I'm sure most of us are familiar with a shrinking violet as being an excessively shy person; however, while reading from Flappers to Rappers: History of American Youth Slang Dr. Dalzell defines a ...
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Need clarification about some metaphors/slangs used by a girl I met online [closed]

Hi I was talking to this girl online and she uses lots of metaphors and slangs out of which few of them just gone over my head so I would appreciate if you guys could help me out understanding the ...
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If someone is feeling despondent are they “in the bushes”?

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the expression "down in the dumps" which I believe dates back to the late 18th century; however, From Flappers to Rappers: A Study of American Youth Slang cites ...
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46 views

Why does “to wire” mean to trick?

A Collection of College Words & Customs written by Benjamin Homer Hall in 1856 defines a "wire" as a trick and I'm curious to know if it is of any relation to a magician using invisible wire to ...
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How does the word “gas” relate to cheating and deception?

According to A Collection of College Words & Customs by Benjamin Homer Hall, written in 1856 I believe, gas is defined as cheating or deceiving someone. Any ideas why that may be?
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Why were “skin” and “niggle” slang words meaning to hurry?

I've read in a book From Flappers to Rappers: The Study of American Youth Slang two words used commonly within the same decade 1900-1910 meaning to hurry were "skin" and "niggle". I'm puzzled as to ...
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Meaning of “put it down”

What does "put it down" mean in Brandy's song? I tried googling it, but all I got was the song's lyrics.
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Why does “all to the mustard” mean excellent?

While reading P.G. Wodehouse's The Inimitable Jeeves I came across a fascinating expression of "all to the mustard!" It is defined as meaning excellent. Why? Can anyone please help me understand this ...
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Priscilla--a girl who prefers to stay home? Who could this term be resultant of?

From Flappers to Rappers, a book of American youth slang, records "Priscilla" as a 1920s slang word for a girl who prefers to stay home. I'm curious to know why they've chosen that name. Is there any ...
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Is a blushing violet the opposite of a shrinking violet?

I understand that "shrinking violet" is used to describe an excessively shy individual. Recently, I encountered the similar-sounding phrase "blushing violet", but the definition given was the very ...
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Why does pine feather period signify the period in a woman's life when she blossoms?

In a book titled From Flappers to Rappers it lists youth slang from the 1920s and one of the terms it lists is pine feather period. Pine feather period is defined as a period in a woman's life when ...
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what is the word for someone not trying their best or performing badly on purpose?

It sounds like a street slang, but both webster and urban dictionary gave the same definition. Can't remember what the word/phrase for it is - like when someone plays bad at first to hustle someone ...
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Can I call my close friends “Old Sport” nowadays?

I wonder, can I call my close friends "Old Sport" nowadays? What about my close female friends?
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Meaning and origin of British/Australian slang word 'tut'

About twenty years ago I overheard a girl from the north of England laughingly advise a friend to get ready for a night out by telling her to 'slap some tut on your face'. She clearly meant 'put on ...
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Terminology for a “group selfie”

A selfie is a kind of casual self-portrait. People often take selfies that include a significant other or multiple friends, and I’m curious whether there is any established terminology or slang for ...
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Is there a pejorative term or phrase that lesbians use to refer to straight women?

Is there a pejorative term or phrase that lesbians use to refer to straight women? There seems to be a wealth of terms (both offensive and inoffensive) that are used in the other direction. I ask ...
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What is an alternative word for “downvote”

I am curious about what another way to describe the negative action of "downvoting" could be. Is there another word out there that could be used as a replacement?
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Did the slang term “The Bomb” meaning “Very Cool” come from the American Jazz scene?

Searching Google for the history of the slang term "the bomb" (as in "That song is the bomb") yields a number of results in 40s/50s jazz glossaries, but they tend to at best give an artificial example ...
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What does “I had every last one of them” mean?

I heard this quote from a Channel 4 sitcom the IT crowd I'm gonna go, I may not come back but I want to say this. That accounts team, I had every last one of them. It is said by Douglas ...
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What is the military term for calling attention to yourself, in a negative way?

There is a military term or idiom, which I cannot recall exactly, that essentially means calling negative attention to yourself. For example, you are doing something you know you shouldn't be doing. ...
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Is “Missus” used as a word in American English?

In the book "Geisha", Liza Dalby writes the following about schools for wearing kimonos (for Japanese people): The text of one school calls for an elderly lady to wear her kimono "with dignity"; a ...
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Who invented “dooblidoo”?

The word dooblidoo is used by several different youtube channels as a different word for the youtube description bar. I've seen it used by the vlogbrothers and by PBS Idea Cahnnel. Who was first to ...
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What do you call someone who is obsessed with video games?

A slang word which means someone addicted to playing video or computer games. A gameholic? It can't be nerd or geek because those expressions denote the person may indeed be eccentric, a loner, and ...
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Translation of slang *pass*

I have a movie (The wolf of wall street) I'm translating (subtitling) with the dialog below, and I really don't have a clue what this pass is about. I'd appreciate a help understanding it. -I'm ...