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

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Why “shrink” (of a psychiatrist)?

I know it originates from "head shrinking", but it doesn't help me a lot to understand the etymology. Why are psychiatrists called that? Is it like "my head is swollen [from anguish, misery, stress, ...
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5answers
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How to spell [ʒʊʒd] and what does it mean?

I heard this strange word in American Dad over a year ago and it's been bugging me ever since. Not only do I have no idea how it's spelt, I have no idea how it could possibly be spelt. My only guesses ...
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10answers
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Is it offensive to call a redhead a “ginger”?

So I just re-watched this great comedy by Tim Minchin, and here are the questions: How bad/offensive is the g-word really (other than being an anagram of the n-word)? What are alternatives? Is ...
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7answers
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Is “Canuck” offensive?

I was criticized the other day for using this word. It never occurred to me that it was offensive, but Wikipedia says it "may" be derogatory. Given Vancouver's hockey team, I tend to think it's ...
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Are the acronyms FYI, BTW, LOL, WTF now considered “normal” words?

Are these "words" moving out of the elitist slang stage and into popular usage? It is hard for me to tell, because in the techie culture I work in they are ubiquitous. However, I've tried them out ...
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2answers
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Where did the slang usages of “cool” come from?

I see and hear two general slang usages of cool - one meaning great (illustrated by a and b below), and one meaning acceptable/okay (illustrated by c and d). The following are Dictionary.com's four ...
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3answers
442 views

Is there a name for the kind of sounds commonly found in profanities?

Fuck. Shit. Bitch. Cunt. I remember reading somewhere -- a very long time ago -- that these "hard" sounds are virtually necessary in profanities. The explanation I roughly remember is that because ...
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8answers
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Why do we “get cold feet”?

A sudden loss of nerve when embarked on a venture is called cold feet. Does anyone know why that should be? An etymology is suggested at englishdaily626. If your 'feet' are 'cold', you can't walk ...
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Etymology of “div”

Acting like a div yesterday:- a stupid or foolish person I started to wonder how this term of abuse came about. Urban Dictionary has a quaint tale:- Actually originates from prison slang in ...
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7answers
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Is it true that “tuppence” refers to a woman's vagina in British English slang? If so, why?

I was looking up a definition online, as I often do, in this case the British slang word tuppence; I got the standard "a slang reference to a coin denomination" definition from Wikipedia, but stumbled ...
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2answers
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How did the slang meaning of “flog” come about?

I've searched multiple dictionaries and Etymonline but the only origin for "flog" that I can find is: 1670s, slang, perhaps a schoolboy shortening of L. flagellare "flagellate." This clearly ...
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1answer
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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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3answers
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Is “embiggen” considered a formal or slang word?

If my memory serves me correctly, I first encountered the word embiggen a year or so ago. I thought it seemed odd, but in context, the meaning was quite obvious. Since that time I've seen this word ...
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1answer
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Does “awe” have a colloquial meaning (similar to “awesome”)?

The meaning of awe is given in dictionaries as "an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime" (this definition is from ...
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6answers
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In what contexts would one use the slang word “minging” in British English?

I was watching a Youtube video on English accents, and in the middle of a Yorkshire one, I think, the author of the video used the word "minging", in what seemed to be an insult. So I have two ...
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6answers
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Where does “can't be arsed” come from?

I've only heard it from Kiwis, but I am told it's used in other countries as well: "I can't be arsed" means (IIUC) "I can't be bothered". Where could the expression come from? It's the only ...
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1answer
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Where did the word “quim” come from?

Both the OED and Etymonline offer no clue as to origin of the slang term quim, meaning minge. The OED’s earliest citations are from the 18th, which isn’t quite as old as Adam, but has certainly been ...
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3answers
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How old is the word “prolly”?

Prolly is given this definition at Wiktionary: Clipped pronunciation of probably. I was reading an interesting article today that claimed prolly dates from 1947 and that surprised me. ...
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12answers
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What is a feminine version of “dude”?

OK . . . another one similar to "What is a feminine version of 'guys'?" "Dude" is masculine; what is the feminine version? The usage I'm thinking of is that "dude" nowadays is used primarily as a ...
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4answers
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Where does the word “jism” come from?

Another word of mysterious origins of jism, in the sense of spunk. The OED mentions it is sometimes spelled jizz, and may even be the precursor word to jazz. But neither the OED nor Etymonline ...
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12answers
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What is the origin of the slang term “book” meaning “leave” or “hurry”?

This verb is used in expressions such as “I’ll see you later – gotta book now”. Dictionary.com has: Slang. b. to leave; depart: I’m bored with this party, let’s book.¹ Anybody know the ...
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4answers
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Are Pounds Sterling referred to as squid (in addition to quid)

Commonly pounds are called quid, but I've come across references to pounds as squid Is that a typo or actually a common usage? Example from Football forums: It is believed they have ...
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2answers
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Would sir like something for the weekend?

"Something for the weekend" is a euphemism heard in barber shops, when the above phrase is used to enquire of a customer whether he would like a packet of condoms. Does anyone know how this phrase ...
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2answers
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'Ours' meaning 'our home' - where is it used outside the UK, if anywhere?

In expressions like: Let's go back to ours and have some food. There's a party at ours on Friday. There's a bottle of brandy at yours, isn't there? 'ours' and 'yours' are synonyms for ...
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4answers
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Why is “bloody” considered obscene in the UK but not in the US?

Why is the word bloody considered obscene in the UK but not so in the US?
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Where does the phrase “in good nick” come from?

The term "in good nick" meaning "in a good condition" came up in conversation and I realised I had no idea where it came from. Searching online seems surprisingly fruitless- there are several roots ...
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2answers
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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 ...
7
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1answer
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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
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How offensive is it to call someone a “slag” in British English? (NSFW)

One more colorful slang term I gleaned from the British movie I recently watched is slag. In the movie, it was used in curses like, "Fuck-ing dogs! Slags." "Right slag, that one." Now I know via ...
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1answer
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Why would you write “ain't”? Isn't it a contraction only used in spoken English?

I often hear in English conversation or movies the contraction "ain't" (for "isn't"), but I am more surprised to see it in writing (and I am not referring to a novel, where I can understand its usage: ...
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2answers
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Is it derogatory or offensive to call a detective a dick?

The word dick is generally considered offensive and is marked so in dictionaries. But there is also a meaning of detective that it carries. I usually find no derog indication for this meaning. Is it ...
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3answers
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Origin and scope of “cruft”

I just had to look up "cruft" (jargon for software or hardware that is of poor quality), as used in a comment to an earlier question. But I can't find any details of etymology, and I don't know how ...
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5answers
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How to spell “the youzhe” as in the abbreviation of “the usual”

The usual is a common reply to what will you order? or what are you up to?. It is often abbreviated, in Canada, to the first syllable of usual, as in the youzhe. How would you spell this abbreviation? ...
6
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1answer
791 views

What is the origin of the idiom “Hong Kong dog”?

Does anybody know the origin of the idiom "Hong Kong dog"? EDIT: I'm more interested in how the idiom came into being rather than when it first appeared in mainstream media. Something like the guess ...
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5answers
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“Fixing to” at the beginning of a sentence

Use of fixing to at the beginning of a sentence is prevalent in the southern states of Amerca. Is this the right usage? And is this only a southern US thing? Examples: Fixing to call her. ...
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2answers
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Origin of Doobie (joint, marijuana cigarette)

OED says: doobie: a marijuana cigarette Origin unknown. A relationship with dobby has been suggested. dobby/dobbie: A silly old man, a dotard, a booby. Dialectal. First citations: ...
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2answers
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Origin of “to be into [someone] for [a sum of money]”

"He's into me for fifty quid" means "He owes me fifty pounds". It's common enough in the UK, but I'm fairly sure I've heard it in American movies too (bucks or grand there, not quid, obviously), so I ...
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2answers
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Is “premises” always plural?

On-premises ... On-premise I see these terms frequently used to describe software systems hosted within a company's datacenter vs. software systems hosted externally by a third party (in the ...
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3answers
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Origin of “I can haz”?

I see some domain names have "icanhaz" in them. I think there must be some story behind it. Do you guys know?
5
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1answer
798 views

What does 'mothercanuckers' mean?

First of all, sorry if it is offensive (I think it somewhat is). I was going through http://bleacherreport.com/articles/424590-the-funniest-promos-and-moments-in-wwe-history#page/20 The Rock ...
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3answers
669 views

Why do you suck at XYZ?

How bad is the usage of the word suck in English? Is this "bad boy" language or commonly used?
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1answer
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Does “way too long” mean “a lot too long” or “slightly too long”? [closed]

Does way too long mean a lot too long, or slightly too long? Does way too stand for a huge or small measure?
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5answers
479 views

Is “denormalized” a word?

I use it all the time since I work with databases, but every time I write it somewhere with spell check I get the squiggly line below it. I've seen other people spell it with an "s" instead of a "z" ...
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2answers
262 views

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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When did informal use of the word “like” become prevalent? [duplicate]

When and why did the word "like" come to be used to introduce an action, or even as a meaningless filler word, e.g. "He was like, [action or quote]."
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1answer
377 views

Origin of “not for quids” phrase

At various times I've supposed the informal Australian phrase “not for quids” (which apparently is analogous to “not at any price”) derives from quid, which refers to sovereigns, or guineas. At ...
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4answers
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What's a word that can mean both “good” and “bad”? [closed]

I've recently read about a word that was defined both as "shockingly good" and "shockingly bad", but I can't seem to recall the word. Does anyone know what it is? As far as I can recall, it was a ...
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3answers
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Where did the phrase “shut up” as an expression of disbelief or amazement originate?

I recently heard shut up used according to this definition in Urban dictionary. shut·up (shuht-up) --interjection 1. An expression of disbelief. 2. Amazement; astonishment. I've only ...
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2answers
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Is “could've” or “should've” standard English?

As the title says — is "could've" or "should've" standard English or is it slang and should correctly be spelled "could have" and "should have"?
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3answers
145 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 ...