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

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How did 'arching' come into use as a verb meaning 'to thwart'?

I have seen the word 'arch' used as a verb in the context of a villain causing trouble for a hero, or a hero thwarting a villain. It is also used when a villain is actively trying to become a hero's ...
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3answers
77 views

“perhapsy” as a slang term for “perhaps”

I've recently heard somebody answered "Yes, perhapsy." Or could it be "perhapsee"? Could this be used as a slang term for "perhaps"? It happened in NYC area a few weeks ago.
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1answer
764 views

Where does the word “minge” come from?

The slang term minge in the sense of quim dates from the beginning of the 20th century. However, neither the OED nor Etymonline has any idea where it came from. Here are two of the OED’s citations: ...
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3answers
13k views

What is the origin of “call a spade a spade” and does it have racial connotations?

Now that we know how to punctuate the phrase “call a spade a spade” I am curious where it originated and what the original meaning was. Also, the term “spade” can have negative racial connotations ...
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1answer
142 views

I find that this monologue is very hard to understand [closed]

This is monologue from Caddyshack movie, which's become pretty famous internet mem. And some points of his speech are hard for understanding for me. So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way ...
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2answers
392 views

Where do “shenanigans” come from?

Shenanigans, or shenanigan, also with several variant spellings, can be dated to 1855 USA in both the OED and Etymonline, but the OED simply says "Origin obscure" and Etymonline throws a few guesses ...
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1answer
112 views

Why don't we teach slang in schools? [closed]

The English language is always evolving, and current day slang will soon become mainstream, just as much our current vocabulary originated as slang. If so, then why is it is writing/speaking slang ...
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5answers
4k views

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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2answers
564 views

What's a “right old roarer” in British English?

I was reading an Amazon review just now, and came across someone (Tchaikovsky) being described as a right old roarer. I'm guessing this is familiar slang to Brits, but I'm not getting good search ...
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1answer
215 views

Come on, don’t be such a nimrod!

According to the OED, the word English Nimrod is derived from the Hebrew, where in Genesis 10:8–9 he is described as ‘a mighty one in the earth’ and ‘a mighty hunter before the Lord’. It is ...
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1answer
452 views

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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2answers
209 views

Is the phrase “I feel you” too colloquial?

Does the phrase "I feel you" sound too slangy and somewhat horrible to a British person? Is it ok to use it as a synonym of "I understand what you feel/say" in an informal, casual conversation?
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1answer
2k views

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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5answers
1k views

Do Brits understand rhyming slang or are they sometimes puzzled by it too?

Most people know that rhyming slang is a colorful addition to British English, where someone says something that is not the intended word but rhymes with it. For example, He was brown bread. ...
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3answers
938 views

How did “snookered” become a slang word for “to cheat or to steal”?

In this question we discussed the etymology of the word "snooker" as a noun, based on a game played on a pool table. But dictionary.com references a form of the word, "snookered" as a slang verb that ...
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2answers
100 views

Is “Where is your mother at?” grammatical? [duplicate]

When querying: Where is your mother at? Is that considered to be proper English language usage? Alternatively, you could just state more simply: Where is your mother? Is adding the ...
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5answers
114 views

A phrase for 'a free, informal space for learning'

What could be a short phrase for 'a free and informal space for learning?'
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4answers
2k views

Why is the movie named “Hot Fuzz”?

"Hot Fuzz" is a british comedy-action-thriller movie from 2007, "fuzz" being a derogatory slang term for police. Is there any additional pun or play of words in the use of "Hot"? Or is it simply ...
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4answers
3k views

How long has the f-word been in use as an abusive term?

When was the f-word 'invented'? Who invented it? Has it always had the derogatory meaning that it does today. Is it a recent invention?
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1answer
323 views

Where does the word “spliff” come from?

Neither the OED and Etymonline has any answer to the etymology of the word. The latter does suggest it may have an origin in the Caribbean, but offers nothing better. The first citation is from ...
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10answers
5k views

What's the origin of “yo”?

I have some friends, and they say “Yo!” when I call them. I haven”t heard this response until quite recently (somehow), and I thought it was some word coined by rappers in their songs, and was adopted ...
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2answers
609 views

What does “rachet” mean and when was it first used?

The word ratchet is all over Twitter. Some real examples from just now: "All these ghetto ass ratchet ass girls at mchi are wearing these Santa hats, and they all claim to be Santa..." "I was ...
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1answer
120 views

Where does “noogie” come from?

The OED says noogie means a "hard poke or grind with the knuckles, esp. on a person's head" with a first quotation from 1968. They say it was popularised by Saturday Night Live in the late 1970s but ...
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4answers
1k views

Is “jux” a real word?

Urbandictionary.com says it means: To rob. Verb. Present tense of juxt. It has 342 votes but I can't find any evidence of actual usage on a google or COCA search.
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6answers
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“Don't got” — how common is it in American usage?

I often hear the usage "don't got" in American English as spoken on TV programmes. Recently I was watching season four of "Prison Break" and one character, an Asian computer wizard, repeatedly used ...
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1answer
266 views

Distinguish contraction of “ain't”

I know the contraction of am not, is not, are not, has not, have not, do not, does not, and did not can be represented as ain't. How can I understand correctly which contraction the speaker meant?
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1answer
1k views

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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3answers
609 views

Is “ain’t” slang, or is it colloquial instead?

Does using the word ain’t in a song make it slang, whereas using it in a speech make it colloquial?
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5answers
3k views

Why do they call a murder a “red ball” case?

Not being a native speaker, I wonder why they call a murder a "red ball" case ("redball" or "red-ball") in certain TV-shows and films. Specifically this expression is often heard in TV-shows like The ...
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7answers
2k views

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
2k views

“Screwed” vs. “nailed”: why is the slang so different?

While the two names nail and screw have similar shapes and functions, why do the verbs differ so much? Someone has screwed something sounds like they have ruined something to me, while someone has ...
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4answers
4k views

What does “country fellows” actually mean?

I searched on Internet for country fellows, but I couldn't find definition. What is the origin and the real meaning of country fellows?
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1answer
1k views

Origin of “tootsie” or “tootsy” (foot)

I was just sitting thinking I had cold tootsies meaning my toes or feet! This got me wondering, where on earth does the word tootsie/tootsy come from? I did Google this and got definitions ...
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1answer
1k views

“I dig my auntie” — what does this mean [closed]

My baby has a t-shirt with "I dig my auntie" on it. What does this mean?
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8answers
2k views

Origin of “hating on”

What is the origin of the slang phrase hating on? Google Trends suggests that the phrase did not enter the lexicon until early 2009. I'm curious where the phrase originated. As Stefano Palazzo ...
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6answers
3k views

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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3answers
4k views

If the English language is always evolving, why do we need to learn and follow grammatical rules?

Since language evolves over time — the best example I can think of is slang where it mostly doesn't follow grammar rules — why is there a need to preserve grammar or stress that proper ...
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5answers
2k views

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
171 views

“'Hello', says he. 'Hello', says I” — is this correct?

I'm reading a novel in which once in a while a character says something like "I are", "He do", and similar stuff. I understand the author is just reproducing the way people talk on the streets. ...
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2answers
691 views

Etymology of 'vape'

"Vaping" is apparently the practice of smoking one of 'em newfangled e-cigarettes. Where does the word come from and when was it first used?
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1answer
141 views

Is “chill” out of place to say to someone after a not so particularly good exam?

I am not a native speaker of English. Now, this was the conversation: A: How was today's exam? B: It was just okay. A: Well, you've got 2 more, right? You'll do well in those. Now when ...
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3answers
5k views

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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8answers
7k views

Why are people from Sunderland called “mackems”?

In the north-east of England, if nowhere else, people from Sunderland are called "mackems". Does anyone know why this should be? Wikipedia suggests a number of possibilities. Are any of these correct? ...
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1answer
455 views

What does it mean “I am not around”? [closed]

When I asked my friend, "would you like to come to the party tomorrow?" he answered, "thanks, but I am not around" does it mean he is not in the NYC or just not around the hood??
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0answers
44 views

Why does the placing of a y-sound at the end of a name or surname express a friendly or laddish affection [duplicate]

Why does calling someone Jimmy, rather than Jim; Lizzie, rather than Liz, Charlie, rather than Charles, Jonesey, rather than Jones, Smithy, Giggsey, Broady etc express friendly, and sometimes ...
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2answers
530 views

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
394 views

Cut the lights on

This expression is commonly used in the southern United States from Oklahoma to Virginia, and is patently illogical, and yet fails to inspire any consternation or lack of semantic connection. On a ...
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5answers
36k views

What is the origin and history of the word “motherf---er”?

I'm not a native English speaker, but I would like to know how and why people started using mother fucker. Today it seems it has lost its meaning because people use it all the time, but was there a ...
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2answers
930 views

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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2answers
1k views

What is the origin of “pan” as a slang term for “face”?

I was think of posting a picture of my ugly pan here instead of the gravatar, when I started to wonder, why is it my ugly pan? The slang term pan meaning face occurs chiefly in phrases such as ugly ...