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

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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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What is the etymology of “todger”?

What is the etymology of "todger"? My Concise OED is rather vague: ORIGIN 1950s: of unknown origin (also tadger) "Tadger" is just listed as a "Variant spelling of TODGER" Other references ...
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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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Etymology of “ruggit”?

I did something stupid yesterday. "What a ruggit", I said to myself, meaning a stupid person. It occurred to me I hadn't heard the word for a while, so I looked it up, and found this source here ...
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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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Why is money called “rhino”?

I was going to the hole-in-the-wall to get some rhino the other day, when I started to wonder why cash is so-called. I hit the books. Farmer & Henley gives no etymology. Partridge says Origin ...
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“Bash” vs. “party”

Our management team ask us to join a pizza/beer bash, which is essentially nothing but a pizza lunch held for all employees. My concept of the word bash still remained somewhere near the name of the ...
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What is the difference, if any, between 'porn' and 'porno'?

I had never thought of a potential difference between 'porn' and 'porno' until I encountered the following dialogue from Family Guy Season 9 Episode 9(thanks to FumbleFingers for reminding me the ...
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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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Reflexive love: where does “love me some …” come from?

It seems trendy to use a reflexive-like construction with love or hate plus some, like this: You know I love me some cheese! I hate me some cold and the temperature is dropping. Where did this ...
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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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Why are Australian redheads often called 'bluey'?

From Wikipedia's article on Virgin Australia: Virgin Australia was launched as Virgin Blue in August 2000, with two Boeing 737–400 aircraft, one leased from then-sister airline Virgin Express. ...
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What exactly does it mean to “mug somebody off” in British English?

I tried looking this up at the Urban Dictionary, but it gave only one net-upvoted definition, and that definition wasn't even clear. The background for my question is coming my watching from a movie ...
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What connotation does “to fork one's repo” have?

In a recent news item, an employee was fired partly for making jokes about "big dongle" and "forking repos", which were alleged to be inappropriate sexual jokes. The employee admitted the dongle joke ...
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Do Americans “gee things up”, or is it just a British usage?

As a Brit, I've always thought to "gee things up" (often followed by "a bit") was a relatively well-known Americanism - probably because I assume most figurative usages relating to horses come from ...
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Why are pounds sterling called “knicker”?

I asked the price of an article the other day, and was told that it cost 120 knicker. This is a slang term for pounds sterling that always appears in the singular. I have failed find any reason why ...
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Where does the word “sh**” come from?

Once upon a time in America, particularly during the 1970s, if you asked an American whether they ‘fancied a shag’, they might well have thought of this: And therefore declined the offer for fear ...
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What phrase is “you betcha” a descendant of?

"You bet you"? That's the closest I could think of. Or is it "you bet yourself", with the "self" omitted so it's quicker to say? Or is it something else altogether?
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Why does one “stand there like a lemon”?

I was standing around like a lemon the other day (meaning, standing doing nothing when I ought to have been a little more active) when it occurred to me to wonder, why does one stand there like a ...
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Origin of “cracked the shits”

I heard someone use the expression "he cracked the shits" today which is universally recognised (at least in Australia) to mean "lost his temper". It struck me that it is a strange expression and the ...
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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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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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Etymology of “catch a bosso”

Reading Look to the Lady, by Margery Allingham, I came across the apparent slang "catch a bosso," used by Lugg, the Cockney manservant, at the beginning of Chapter 6: As soon as I caught a bosso ...
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Long lived slang

Every year new slang words enter the popular lexicon but which ones actually 'stick'? Every since I can remember, 'cool' has been an acceptable word whereas 'groovy' passed out of usage in the 70s. Is ...
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Did the slang term “The Bomb” meaning “Very Cool” come from the American Jazz scene?

Searching Google for the history of the slang term "the bomb" (as in "That song is the bomb") yields a number of results in 40s/50s jazz glossaries, but they tend to at best give an artificial example ...
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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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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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How serious an insult is “wanker” in British English? [NSFW]

In the spirit of this question, "How profane is it to call someone a 'slag' in British English", how insulting is "wanker" in British English on the spectrum of profanities and vulgarities? What's ...
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Non-sexual meaning of “to have a hard-on for someone”

What does it mean to "have a hard-on for someone" in a non-sexual sense? I've heard it used in contexts that make it seem like the subject is acting aggressive or belligerent toward "someone". Is that ...
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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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Why is 'hell' considered a curse word?

Given the Wikipedia's list of profanities, you will see that it's somehow detached from the rest of curse words. The most commonly recognized profanities usually describe a body part, person or an ...
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meaning and usage of 'teh'

“I wouldn’ say no teh a bit o’ yer birthday cake, neither.” “He usually gets me ter do important stuff fer him.”                —Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Hagrid’s ...
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What does the phrase “it’s like Groundhog Day every day” mean, and where does it originate?

Some background first: I was reading about the futility that has become the Cleveland Cavaliers’ NBA season after Lebron James’s departure in the newspaper of the Plains Dealer, when I came across ...
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A polite substitution for “lamer”

Is there a polite word that can be used to designate someone who didn't really understand what he or she was doing? Or, in general, someone who is intentionally ignorant of how things work. A "lamer" ...
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“Kebabs, fruit machines, and brasses” — what do these slang words mean?

More from the British movie The Football Factory. In the following dialogue, the main character, a Cockney English speaker played by actor Danny Dyer, waxes philosophical about why he enjoys being a ...
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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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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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Is “wtf” an abbreviation or a euphemism?

In the English language we have a lot of euphemisms for profanities that take the form of abbreviations; for instance, people may say the f-word or the s-word if they don't want to say fuck and shit. ...
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“My pigs are killing me!”

How has the word "pigs" come to be used as slang for feet? As in the phrase: My pigs are killing me! It seems to me that "pigs" and "feet" have very little in common. I'm not sure how common ...
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Is it correct to put “bros” before “hos” or before “hoes”?

I'm wondering about the pluralisation of "ho" (as in slang for prostitute) in the phrase "Bros before ho(e)s". To me, hos makes sense because it's consistent with bros. Hoes could also refer to a ...
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Meaning and origin of “That dog don't hunt”

Is That dog don't hunt an American slang expression? What does it mean exactly and where does it originate? If possible, please give some examples.
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“Muppet” in American English

I see an event is being organised in Washington, DC, called the Million Muppet March. In British English (at least) a muppet has no very positive a connotation:- muppet (ˈmʌpɪt) — n slang ...
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Why is 'shucks' (as in 'aw, shucks') used with an '-s' ending?

I understand that 'shucks' is a slang that is: used especially to express mild disappointment or embarrassment and this definition is listed separately from 'shuck' (the verb/noun) in ...
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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 ...
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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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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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What is “chopsing the ref”?

Adam Jones, the Wales and Lions prop, was reported as saying about his policy regarding the referee before yesterday's match:- You have to get the ref on the right side of you. You don't want to ...
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Why does to “take a powder” mean to run away or to leave?

From Flappers to Rappers: American youth slang by Dr. Thomas Dalzell cites "take a powder" as a 1930s expression meaning to run away or to leave. Does anyone have any ideas why taking a powder would ...
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“Machine” as a 1920s American term for “car”

I've recently been reading some of the short stories of Dashiell Hammett featuring the Continental Op. These stories were written in the 1920s and are about a detective investigating crime in and ...
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Why is a black eye called a “shiner”?

I saw a photograph of Chris Robshaw, the Harlequins captain, in the paper yesterday sporting a magnificent shiner, and naturally started to wonder where the term originated. Consulting Etymonline ...