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

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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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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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2answers
73 views

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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6answers
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Is 'learn' the new 'teach'?

With seemingly increasing frequency I come across a phrase using 'learn' when I think it should be 'teach'. The classic example is 'that will learn them!', as in "Shoot all criminals - that will ...
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2answers
5k views

Origin of “for the birds” (Trivial; worthless; only of interest to gullible people.)

I really have looked, but the best I can come up with is this To say that something is "for the birds" is to call it horse manure. Dating from the days of horse-drawn traffic, the expression is ...
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5answers
715 views

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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8answers
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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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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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4answers
173 views

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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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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1answer
189 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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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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2answers
71 views

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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5answers
510 views

Is there a female or gender-neutral equivalent to the colloquial “man”?

I don't know how to define the usage of man I'm talking about*, so I'll do it with examples: Hey, man, what's up? C'mon, man, don't make me do this. Is there a female or gender-neutral ...
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1answer
48 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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1answer
76 views

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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4answers
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The meaning of mingle

If a girl tells you that she is single and ready to mingle, does mingle here mean that she is ready to “hook up”? ¹ 1. That is, to have casual sexual intercourse.
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6answers
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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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3answers
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What is the origin of “rock” meaning “utilize”?

Urban Dictionary example: "you can have the bed, I'll rock the couch" Earliest example I can think of: RUN D.M.C. "It's Tricky" -- "It's tricky to rock a rhyme . . . " Now it seems ...
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1answer
107 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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4answers
616 views

Boogie - Negative connotation?

I work in a company which has a product called "Boogie" (for reasons that the original owner knows). The product has been called that way for years in our French Canadian environment. Our few English ...
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1answer
78 views

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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3answers
4k views

Why are spies called “spooks”?

In many books, I've seen the word 'spook' used to mean some kind of spy. Definition 5 on dictionary.reference.com confirms this usage, but is not very helpful about the origin. Does anyone know how ...
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1answer
65 views

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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4answers
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Why do we say “[expletive] ALL” for “nothing”?

Damn all, Bugger all, Sod all etc., etc. What does all mean here? How did the expression originate? Was there a single original term (expletive or not) preceding all in this usage? At the risk of ...
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3answers
4k views

Origin of the phrase “for the win”?

Just curious as to where "for the win" (commonly abbreviated FTW) originated?
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3answers
980 views

Meaning of “do over”

A colleague and I are having a disagreement over the slang meaning and usage of "do over" Does it mean (a) beat somebody up or does it have a sexual meaning of (b) screw someone i.e. hump someone ...
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5answers
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Police in general as “feds”

There are many slang terms for the police, and one which has recently been in the news in the UK is "the feds", as in if you see a brother... SALUT! if you see a fed... SHOOT! Cassell's ...
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2answers
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Full of (piss|pith) and vinegar

Re: the expression: "Full of (piss|pith) and vinegar" Are both correct/acceptable? Is one preferred?
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2answers
3k views

What is swag? And where does it come from?

I'd just like to know where it comes from. This is a word that I've heard all my life but it has always been a special kind of curtain. I was baffled when kids started calling each other curtains so I ...
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4answers
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Is calling a homosexual person “gay” offensive?

My native language is German but I’ve been watching a lot of TV in English. During a conversation about the English language, a question about the term gay came up. Is calling a homosexual person gay ...
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2answers
144 views

Is the colloquial Australian term 'festy' actually a word?

Usage: "I would not like to eat that pie as it looks all festy since you dropped it on the ground." Is the colloquial Australian term 'festy' actually a word? Also, is it used elsewhere in the world? ...
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3answers
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what is the word for someone not trying their best or performing badly on purpose?

It sounds like a street slang, but both webster and urban dictionary gave the same definition. Can't remember what the word/phrase for it is - like when someone plays bad at first to hustle someone ...
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3answers
261 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
119 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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0answers
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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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8answers
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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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3answers
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What do you call the main telephone number?

I understand that someone's work phone might have an extension. What do you call the main number of that office, which would normally be answered by an operator or a computer voice system? Would it ...
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7answers
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What's the origin of “throwing someone under the bus”?

What's the origin of the phrase "to throw someone under the bus" or "so-and-so threw me under the bus?" (in the sense of betrayal)? It seems like a very specific phrase not to come from some specific ...
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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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1answer
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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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1answer
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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
107 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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4answers
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Origin of “in a pig's eye”

This Wikipedia article says that "in a pig's eye" is rhyming slang for "lie", but I'm not convinced. The article also claims "in a pig's bottom" exists as a variant - but I doubt that's ever had any ...
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13answers
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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
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Origin of “son of a gun”

Growing up there was a friend of my family who would often use son of a gun as a slang term. For example, And that son of a gun has a 300hp motor in it. Like any father, my Dad wanted to raise ...
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3answers
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What is the origin of the phrase “There goes the neighborhood” and does it have racial connotations?

I understood the meaning of the phrase to be relatively benign and mostly used facetiously. Can it be viewed as offensive in contemporary conversation?
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4answers
773 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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5answers
3k views

Why is “bombshell” used to describe attractive women?

Bombshell is a term used to describe very attractive women, similar to the term "sex symbol". The phrase was notably used as the title of a 1930's film, which incidentally lead to its lead actress ...
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3answers
199 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 ...