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

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“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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65 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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55 views

so mainstream or too mainstream [on hold]

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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572 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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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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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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68 views

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
125 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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“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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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
66 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
31 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
62 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
133 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
66 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
217 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
119 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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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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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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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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2answers
111 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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4answers
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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
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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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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
84 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 ...
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1answer
395 views

Does 'twink' imply a specific sexuality?

I know that twink is a slang term for hot young homosexual guys who do not have facial hair. This word is very common in the gay community (and their adult industry) and recently I've heard a debate ...
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Meaning of “black on black” in Nickelback's “Animals”

The song "Animals" by Nickelback starts with the following lines: I, I'm driving black on black Just got my license back I got this feeling in my veins This train is coming off the ...
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1answer
847 views

Meaning of “get a serious reaming”

As a non-native reader, I stumbled upon the meaning of "get a serious reaming" and it seemed to be an idiomatic expression for being punished. At least the first Google matches seem to suggest this. ...
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Can we authenticate the claim that “grungy” was used to mean “envious or jealous” in 1920s slang?

A recent question on EL&U asks "Where did the 1920s slang word "grungy" (meaning "envious") originate, if the modern word "grungy" (meaning "dingy") ...
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119 views

What is the origin of “pretty” as slang for “somewhat”?

We now often hear phrases like: That's pretty interesting. The word "pretty" here is used to say "somewhat," "considerably/rather," or something along those lines (if a little stronger). ...
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43 views

“handy” instead of “mobile phone” (non-Germans) [duplicate]

Does anybody (non-German) ever use the word handy instead of mobile-phone in English?
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Difference between two question formats?

I have seen people using following two formats to form a question: 1) Why do people lie? 2) Why people lie? The difference is, in the first one, there is an explicit use of do whereas the ...
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usage and meaning of “à la mode” [duplicate]

I found a writing in an old book which was: "Apple pie à la mode". I was wondering what is the meaning of that?
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lexy - definition

I have just encountered this word on a news entitled " 'Unfriend' or 'Defriend?' Facebook Fans Debate", and here is the sentence: "No, unfriend is definitely more lexy," wrote another commenter. ...
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When did beast become a verb?

In recent times, people have started using the word beast as a verb (i.e., beast it, you've got to beast harder). Is there any information about when this trend started and how it came about?
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40 views

If someone is “playing horse with you” why are they either teasing, ridiculing, or perhaps flirting with you?

Why does a horse and the activity of "playing horse" describe one who is teasing, ridiculing, or even flirting? The survey of College Words and Phrases by Eugene H. Babbitt published in 1900 lists the ...
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1answer
81 views

Why does owl-eyed mean intoxicated?

The Survey of College Words and Phrases by Eugene H. Babbitt published in 1900 lists the word owl-eyed to mean intoxicated. Any ideas as to why an owl-eyed person is an intoxicated person?
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110 views

“That's the Mulligatawny”

In Orwell's A Clergyman's Daughter, Dorothy ends up travelling with a bunch of other homeless youths, one of whom is a cockney called Nobby. He uses the word "Mulligatawny" as a slang word, but I've ...
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How nutty are the terms “nut case”, “health nut” and “sports nut”?

If someone is nuts about something/someone it means they are a very enthusiastic— sometimes bordering on obsessive—devotee of that particular thing or person. To be nuts is a colloquial term meaning ...
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1answer
59 views

Meaning of “kick out the last jam of the set”

I can't clearly get this phrase. Is it related to the "kick out the jams"? Or "jam" means the song/jazz improvisation, so what does "kick out" mean in that case? The context is "they are kicking out ...
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The meaning of “minking it”

There's a line in the musical Guys and Dolls: When you see a Joe saving half of his dough, You can bet he'll be minking it for some doll. My initial instinct is that this is a ...
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Why does the word gobs mean a copious amount?

Gobs is a word I've never seen in print; however, I've heard it used in an old moving picture and in an old situation comedy. I'm curious to know the origin of the word gobs as well as when it was ...
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137 views

Opt for, to be up for (and to be down for)

What's the difference between I opt for the party and I'm up for the party? And, to make it more complex, I'm down for the party. But I'm especially interested in the first two.
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Origin of louse for the following: louse around--to idle and louse up--to ruin?

I understand louse being singular for lice; however, I'm uncertain as to why louse around means to idle and louse up means to ruin. Any ideas?
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Why is a ragtail an annoying person?

I've heard an annoying person referred to as a ragtail and I've found a reference to the word below; however, I'm uncertain of the etymology. I'm curious to know why a ragtail is an annoying person. ...
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Origin of an ethnic slur

The American Heritage Dictionary states that the origins of "sheeny," a pejorative slang word for a Jew, are unknown. As a Jew, I am interested in finding out where and when this word developed. Any ...
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A slang word for people who live in “fantasy land”

Lately I've been searching for a current slang term, used in the US, describing people who live in a fantasy land, or prefer to live in a bubble. After googling quite a lot, I realized that it's ...
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1answer
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Origin of the word Waddy and how it came to mean “unappealing, unattractive.”

From the first decade of the 20th century and up till the 1940s, the word waddy was a popular word meaning unappealing and unattractive. Can anyone help me better understand this word and it's origin? ...
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Where did the 1920s slang word “grungy” (meaning “envious”) originate, if the modern word “grungy” (meaning “dingy”) doesn't appear until 1965?

I've heard grungy used to mean envious in old motion pictures and books. Here is one reference, and there are several more on the internet. However, when I researched the etymology of the word grungy ...
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What football position does this phrase refer to: “He plays back for Dartmouth”?

What football position does someone refer to when saying "He plays back for Dartmouth"? (I read it in a novel, which takes place in 1931) Edit (more context) A conversation during the game between ...