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

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Origin of “toffee-nosed”

What's the origin of toffee-nosed (snobbish, disdainful, stuck-up)? Is it related to "toff" (upper-class)?
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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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4answers
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Where does the phrase “No skin off my teeth/nose” come from?

The phrase "it's no skin off my nose/teeth" is generally used to mean that something isn't much of a risk/concern. But where does it come from? Specifically with respect to teeth. What is tooth skin?
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2answers
590 views

What is the origin of “oh noodles!”

Noodles are tasty. I like them, but why are they also used as an exclamation of dismay in the following? Oh Noodles!
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4answers
2k views

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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4answers
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Are the terms “welsh” or “welch” (as in reneging on a bet) derogatory toward the Welsh people?

From the casual research I've done, it's assumed to be offensive (like "gyp" for Gypsies), but I've not found anything definitive. I'm also curious when it first entered the language with this ...
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3answers
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Why the opposite meanings of the word “bollocks”?

The phrases the dog’s bollocks, the bee’s bollocks, and golden bollocks are used to mean something or someone excellent, fine, or well thought of. But if one were to say a load of bollocks, or ...
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7answers
692 views

A term for products whose “secret” features are well-known (but not publicized)

What do you call those household items whose selling features are purportedly practical, functional and ‘innocent’ but instead are often bought for completely different, and sometimes ‘naughty’ ...
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3answers
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Where does the word “wankers” come from?

The term wanker is derived from the verb wank in the sense of to masturbate. However, neither the OED nor Etymonline can trace it further back than that: both claim it is of “obscure origin”, which ...
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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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4answers
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Origin of current slang usage of the word 'sick' to mean 'great'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How and why have some words changed to a complete opposite? How did 'sick' come to mean 'awesome' or 'really good / cool' in modern U.S. slang? I'm interested in origins ...
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1answer
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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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4answers
761 views

What do you call someone who is addicted to a Q&A website?

I was looking for a term for someone who is addicted to a Q&A website but I came up with general terms like nethead, cybernaut, netizen, internet addict etc. You can think of adjectives like ...
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9answers
4k views

What could be the equivalent term in British or Australian English to the American English word “hillbilly”?

In Wikipedia, “hillbilly” is defined as: … a term referring to certain people who dwell in rural, mountainous areas of the United States, primarily Appalachia but also the Ozarks. Owing to its ...
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4answers
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What is the meaning and etymology of 'scut' from 'scut work'?

What is the origin of scut in scut work? According to Merriam-Webster, scut work: routine and often menial labor Probably from medical argot, scut meaning 'junior intern' First known use: circa 1962 ...
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1answer
312 views

What is the term for giving an action or phenomenon somebody's name, e.g. “Doing a Lord Lucan”?

A friend of mine is keen on taking the glory (or adverse publicity!) when something goes wrong on a job he's working on and he likes to give it his name, e.g., "this is turning into a right Simpson of ...
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4answers
255 views

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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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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1answer
71 views

Do lexicographers have a formal term for Insta-cant

With twitter and social media, it is possible for new cant to appear suddenly and spread widely in weeks or days, often via internet-memes, only to fall out of use just as quickly. Do lexicographers ...
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1answer
1k views

What do you call people who like word puzzles?

What is the term for, or the name for, a person who enjoys solving word puzzles, crosswords, etc.?
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1answer
978 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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1answer
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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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3answers
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The math problem is too difficult for `X` to work out

There are four options: everybody, somebody, anybody and nobody. Which one should be used in X place ?
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2answers
1k views

What does it mean when someone calls himself “non sequitur”?

Coming from my answer to question Is there a better noun form of “unreasonable” than “unreasonableness?” What does it mean when someone calls himself "non sequitur"? Examples: "I AM NON ...
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6answers
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What is meant by “don't piss on my boots and tell me it's raining”?

I have heard a couple of times recently the phrase "don't piss on my boots and tell me it's raining", usually in the context of a heated argument so I've hesitated to ask speaker what exactly he meant ...
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4answers
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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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4answers
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Is there a parallel to defenestration — for buses?

We often see defenestrate used in a somewhat jocular, mock-intellectual way for throwing someone or something out of a window. Is there, or could we imagine, a similar word for "throwing (someone) ...
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27answers
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Derogatory term for a corporate employee

I’m looking for a derogatory term for a person who works in a big, international business. In Polish we have a few informal words for that, like korpoludek (“corpo little guy”) and korpoczłowiek ...
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7answers
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Why are you a plonker?

The idiom, plonk (something/someone) down means to slap something down; to plop something down to sit or lie down on something in a careless or noisy way to leave someone somewhere to do ...
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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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5answers
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What do you call a Q&A user who posts a question but never checks back?

I have searched for a term that describes users who post questions and then disappear without trace. These users will post and write their questions in a great flurry, sometimes ignoring the basic ...
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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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1answer
441 views

'Not feeling clever' - how far does this extend?

The other day, when my wife was unwell, I happened to mention to a relative in Norfolk that she wasn't 'feeling too clever'. He instantly knew what I meant. But it made me wonder how far this idiom ...
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13answers
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Is there a slang word or idiom for someone who borrows money from friends or relatives and never (or rarely) pays them back?

Edit - 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 and the putative duplicate ...
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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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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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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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4answers
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Meaning of Jo's dialog in Chapter 16 of Bleak House

A portion of chapter 16 of Dickens' Bleak House is shown below. Jo attends closely while the words are being spoken; [...] and nods his ragged head. "I'm fly," says Jo. "But fen larks, you ...
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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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3answers
552 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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2answers
35k views

Are “way better” and “way more” correct?

"Way better" and "way more" are popular expressions, but they both seem incorrect to me. "Far better", "far more", "much better", and "much more" all seem correct. Is this true? If so, why?
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4answers
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Alternative to the idiomatic phrase “highway robbery”

I was wondering whether there were any other alternatives to the phrase "highway robbery". I am trying to say the same thing in a light-hearted, but not too casual way.
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9answers
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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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9answers
8k views

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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Term for words like “Hanky-Panky” [duplicate]

Is there a name for these kind of doubled words? For example: hanky-panky flim-flam hoity-toity boo-hoo zig-zag Note that some rhyme and others do not.
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4answers
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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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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
1k views

Guidelines for the use of the slang term “cise”

I heard an unfamiliar regional slang word used thusly: I'm gonna go cise (rhymes with ice) me a sandwich and then I'll be back. When I questioned the user, the speaker insisted it has been ...
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5answers
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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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6answers
4k views

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 ...