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

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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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1answer
49 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
69 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
77 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
49 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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0answers
34 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
78 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
69 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
54 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
40 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
160 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
59 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
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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
97 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
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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
58 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
105 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
164 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
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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
138 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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113 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
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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
71 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
626 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
418 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
102 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
200 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 ...
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Etymology of “shagged [out]” (BrE exhausted, knackered)

I was intrigued by this comment to an earlier ELU post... [shagged out] Meaning 'very tired', presumably originating from having lots of sex but used generally to mean tired for whatever reason ...
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1answer
157 views

What’s so funny about “You are winner”? [closed]

I came across one slang thing: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=You%27re%20Winner! While understand that it is grammatically incorrect and you must say "You are the winner", I don't get ...
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1answer
242 views

“Definite ninety-nine” - UK English meaning

I've been browsing through older lyrics of Judas Priest songs, namely Rocka Rolla, which has the following lines in a verse: Barroom fighter Ten pint a nighter Definite ninety-nine ...
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1answer
62 views

Should I really strive for mastery of my English or only stick with common words? It is confusing to always meet unknown words [closed]

It frustrates me to always find new unknown words, idioms when I read some book. I want to reach level when I understand 95-98% of all info I read - finally I FEEL LIKE KING, FINALLY MASTERED. Now I ...
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4answers
86 views

How prevalent is “I'm game” compared to “I'm in”?

Is it common to say "I'm game" in place of "I'm in" or "Count me in"? Is it used often in American English?
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1answer
43 views

Geek vs Geek Out - beyond computers

I am struggling with new usages of the word "geek" or "geek out". In social media outlets, it's no longer confined to computers or technology, but can be related to other subjects including ...
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1answer
71 views

A slang term derived from another slang term

Is there a word that describes a slang term that was, itself, derived from (or riffs on) another slang term? I was under the impression that the term Snowclone described ths phenomenon, but it seems ...
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1answer
156 views

What's a British equivalent to the more American expression 'Kiss my ass'? [closed]

I have the feeling that 'kiss my ass' isn't as widely used in the UK as it is in the US. I'm looking for a more British sounding equivalent.
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1answer
143 views

Replacement for the annoying habit of saying “I was like”

I am new here, so my first question would be to ask about an annoying habit that I, as well as many other people out there, seem to have... During the telling of a story I will often say this one ...
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3answers
259 views

Origin of “name happened” form: from “s*** happens” via “magic happens”?

There’s a form in current English Then <X> happened or <X> happened, where you transition the name of a thing (a person, a fictitious character, or object), to mean the dramatic ...
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1answer
132 views

Where did we get “buster” as in “Look here, buster”?

Americans, at least, have for some time used buster in speech or dialogue as a generic form of address. It has a range of tonalities, from light to affectionate to grimly confrontational. Listen, ...
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3answers
4k views

What does “balls” mean as a reply word or interjection?

Here’s a question again in Jeffery Archer’s The Prodigal Daughter. Richard (husband of Florentina Kane, the heroine of the novel) finds in The Wall Street Journal that Jake Thomas, chairman of ...
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5answers
1k views

Is there any slang word for somebody who doesn't show up for a date?

Is there any slang word that describes somebody who doesn't show up when you date him?
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3answers
3k views

What word can I use instead of “tomorrow” that is not connected with the idea of the rising sun?

I'm working on a novel while trying to take into account the historical context surrounding it. It begins in 1140 AD, so the characters would use Old English, Latin, Old French, and other similar ...
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3answers
279 views

Where does the slang word “bad” + “ass” (badass) come from?

What is the origin of the word badass? Why a "bad" ass/"bad" + "ass"? What is an ass that is bad and how can an ass that is bad describe a tough person?
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7answers
298 views

What's a word to describe people who blindly follow their government without question?

I want to describe someone who fanatically follows one of the following: Governmental body Political party Country Basically, someone who will agree with their government/party/country regardless ...
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1answer
65 views

What does this person say in this video?

I don't know if this is allowed but I want to know what this Gwyneth Paltrow say in this video at 0:51 to be exact. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZORey6EHF3g or ...
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2answers
88 views

What would “Garth Brooks” refer to in a multiple-choice Poll?

I noticed an online poll about marriage, where the person was curious to know what percentage of the current generation are interested in getting married, and the last option is: Garth Brook! I know ...
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1answer
103 views

How to write/say the opposite of 100+? [closed]

Example: "I probably sent out, 100+ emails today." 100+ one-hundred-plus (?) How would you say or write the opposite? "Because your paper's rating is -100- you are now required to ...