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

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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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86 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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1answer
118 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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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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2answers
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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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215 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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4answers
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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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2answers
143 views

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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50 views

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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177 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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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 ...
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54 views

Rag and Razz--slang for teasing/ridiculing--which came first and what's the etymology of the words?

Hopefully everyone understands to razz and to rag as meaning to tease/ridicule on account of I don't have anything specific to reference. I'm curious to know which word came first and why both ...
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Why does “mash me a fin” mean loan me/give me five dollars?

I've heard mash me a fin used before and understood it to mean "loan me five dollars"; however, I don't understand why mash me a fin means loan me five dollars. The only example I could find of it was ...
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221 views

What is the origin of “breaking bad”?

Wiktionary gives the meaning of "break bad" but does not mention about the origin: 1. (colloquial, of an event or of one's fortunes) To go wrong; to go downhill. 2. (colloquial, chiefly ...
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397 views

First use of the slang term “Scrub”?

The slang term "scrub", when referred to a person, can mean several things. It seems like the original usage as an adjective is someone who is not good at something - video games, sports, etc. I am ...
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6answers
174 views

Phrase to means “something a hipster would like”

I've been trying to come up with a phrase that means "something a hipster would like" in the modern context. Cool and hip seem kind of dated, so what would be a good recommendation for a more modern ...
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110 views

Phonetically, “lanapeel,” what is this word? (marine animal)

My fiancée, who speaks what might best be described as a “distinctly rural” dialect of American English (she sounds like she grew up near Larry the Cable Guy), has related stories to me of a marine ...
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Can the term “G-Man” be used to describe a Government official who is not an FBI agent?

Earlier today I was doing Merl Reagle's crossword and one of the clues was "Fraud fighting Fed." The answer turned out to be "T-Man," being short for "Treasury Man." So, this got me thinking... ...
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Pronunciation of subreddit names

I'm unsure of how to pronounce subreddit names in casual conversation without preface. I read /r/funny mentally as "R funny", but this doesn't always work in conversation, especially with acronym ...
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7answers
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How to define someone who does not like/want to get a job or do anything in life?

In Portuguese, my natural language, we have a lot of words to define this kind of people, like mandrião, calaceiro, calaça, indolente, malandro, etc. We have also lighter words like preguiçoso that is ...
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Word up, and where it came from [duplicate]

I'm aware of English's unpredictable nature in wording, but this phrase got me thinking. What is the origination of the phrase word up... a lot of times shortened to just word! I understand the ...
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4answers
138 views

How to translate “to eat their own face off”?

I'm trying to translate an interview with Scottish musician (from Mogwai) Barry Burns and I stumbled upon one sentence which I can't understand. If Rave Tapes, comes from reminiscing of 90’s dance ...
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8answers
283 views

What is a heterosexual term for “cruising”?

Cruising, the act of going out and about looking for a sexual partner, is generally only used in a gay context in the US. What is a term with the same basic meaning but without the homosexual ...
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5answers
364 views

F for intoxication [closed]

Is there a word that starts with "F" that is related to intoxication? I have racked my brain all over the state of mindlessness for this, but have yet to come up with a good answer.
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68 views

May I use the word “miscreant” in my thesis? [closed]

I am writing my thesis. May I use the word miscreant to refer to people who create viruses to spread them on the Internet? Or is it a slang term that I must avoid?
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62 views

How to pronounce “arch” in Linuxese?

Tech stands for technique or technology. But how should one pronounce tech? Is it as /tɛk/ as in technical or /tɛtʃ/ as in tetchy? Similarly, arch stands for architect or architecture. How do you ...
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2answers
111 views

Does hunx have an origin?

I was reading Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now. A character calls an old man, "an old hunx" during an argument. I was wondering if Trollope was writing in an accent or if hunx was an old slang ...
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Is there a less colloquial word (noun or adjective) to describe an “attention whore”?

It could be a noun or an adjective, and either could describe a person or an action. For example: "Did you hear Eric's wedding toast? He wouldn't shut up!" "I know, he was being a complete _______"
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Is there a male equivalent of 'bitch'?

While I know you can attribute 'bitch' to a male, I feel there is a sense of femininity. I was wondering if there is a colloquial equivalent that describes someone with the qualities of a 'bitch' ...
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3answers
302 views

Meaning of “garn” in My Fair Lady

At the beginning of the My Fair Lady movie, there is a monologue of prof. Higgins like this: Hear a Yorkshireman, or worse Hear a Cornishman converse I'd rather hear a choir singing flat Chickens ...
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4answers
960 views

An expression to say that someone is talking without thinking

What idiom can be used define a the situation where someone is telling something without thinking? Possibly a slang definition. Is "Don't say bullshit" a possible answer?
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3answers
210 views

What does the slang term “Joe Gland” mean?

In the 1985 novel Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle I came across the following paragraph: They took out identification cards. Clybourne glanced at them, but Jenny thought he looked at ...
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Slang names for souteneur

What are some common slang names for the souteneur - the illicit "manager" for prostitutes? I'm fairly sure there are a few, but I can't find any in the common online resources and I need it for a ...
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“Try me”: Too Sexually Suggestive and “Slangy” for Retail Marketing?

Is the expression “Try Me” inappropriately sexually suggestive and “slangy” for use in retail marketing? A client wants an expression for use on a sticker for an electronic device in a retail store ...
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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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4answers
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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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110 views

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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1answer
1k views

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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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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391 views

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 ...