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

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

The word fleek is all over Twitter. The @lovihatibot Twitterbot routinely finds it in searches for "I love the word [X]" and "I hate the word [X]", in fact it's the third most hated word over the ...
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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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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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Where does the word “*ag” 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's “nutty” about fruit and cake?

Funnily enough, food is often used metaphorically to describe someone's eccentricity or level of sanity. We have nuts Slang. a foolish, silly, or eccentric person. an insane person; psychotic....
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How did the word “copacetic” come into use?

I once heard the late John Ciardi (NPR's "A Word in Your Ear") try to explain that the 1920s idiom, "copacetic" (meaning completely satisfactory), entered into the African-American vocabulary in ...
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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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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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English term for aggressive street seller?

Is there an English term for the type of street seller who aggressively sells his products? The type who yell after you and may follow you as you walk down the street?
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Is there a slang word or phrase for someone who is always playing dirty tricks or unpleasant practical jokes on his friends and acquaintances?

context: He will surreptitiously introduce a frog into your handbag. You leave your car keys on a desk, he sees it and hides it somewhere. He may offer you M&M type candies that will leave your ...
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Can the term “jack/jerk off” be used for female masturbation?

I apologize for this potentially obscene question. Can the terms jack off or jerk off be used for female masturbation? If not (which is my intuition), what would be the not too poetic vulgar slang ...
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How to describe Homer Simpson's 'idunno' sound

In The Simpsons Homer makes a closed mouth sound made up of three rising and falling tones, resembling (and meaning the same as) 'idunno' said without opening the mouth. I hear it being used from ...
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Origin of the phrase “for the win”?

Just curious as to where "for the win" (commonly abbreviated FTW) originated?
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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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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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“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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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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What does “ratchet” 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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Origin of “the wrong end of the stick”

If someone has the wrong end of the stick it means they've misunderstood something. If they've got the shitty end of the stick it means they've got a bad deal in some bargain or share-out. This doesn'...
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Use of “deadpool” as a verb

I recently came across this term while examining a set of properties in a JSON feed relating to a startup company: ... "deadpooled_year": null, "deadpooled_month": null, "deadpooled_day": null, "...
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What is the etymology of “fanboi”?

In a recent Daring Fireball post, John Gruber wondered about the origin of "fanboi" as a spelling of "fanboy". I tried searching for this, but couldn't find anything definitive. Harry McCracken has ...
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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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How to spell “the youzhe” as in the abbreviation of “the usual”

The usual is a common reply to what will you order? or what are you up to?. It is often abbreviated, in Canada, to the first syllable of usual, as in the youzhe. How would you spell this abbreviation? ...
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What does “thot” mean and when was it first used?

The word thot is all over Twitter. The @lovihatibot Twitterbot routinely finds it in searches for "I love the word [X]" and "I hate the word [X]", in fact it's the most hated word and third most ...
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Origin of the word “spraunce”

I was recently talking to someone who said a restaurant was spraunce, meaning it was well-presented and high-quality (that being the sense I was familiar with). We briefly discussed the fact that he ...
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Does “show” for “put in an appearance; arrive” sound any more or less informal/slack than “show up” in modern day English?

Is there a difference in register between saying: He failed to show for his appointment When will the bus show? -and- He failed to show up for his appointment When will the bus ...
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Yikes! Where did it come from?

(humorous, slang) Expressing fear. (humorous, slang) Expressing empathy with unpleasant or undesirable circumstances. [Wiktionary] Yikes! Where did it come from? OED says "Origin unknown,...
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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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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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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 ...
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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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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 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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“bucking for” .. like Klinger

In the culturally referrent 1970s USA TV show "MASH", about the Korean war, character Corporal Klinger acts "crazy", specifically wearing female clothing, ... because he is bucking for a section 8 ...
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Etymology of “to be like” meaning “to say”

It seems that "to be like" is an informal phrase for "to say". E.g. She was so angry, she was like "I'm breaking up with you", and I was like "I'm sorry", and she was like "Go away". Is this a ...
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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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What is the meaning of the term “herbert” in British slang?

In the song Get Out of My House by The Business, the chorus is: Out, out get out of my house, you'd better take your sheepskin too no son of mine's going round as a hippie or a scruffy little ...
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Colloquial definition of “douchebag”

Obviously "douchebag" has a literal meaning - however if we see someone wearing sunglasses indoors, we would call them a douchebag. I'm trying to explain this to a friend. How do you verbalize this ...
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What does “five O” mean (and why)?

I've heard quite a few times the term "five O" (eg in the US TV show "the Wire"). It seems to mean "police" (inferred from the context), and I'm curious to know where the expression comes from, and ...
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Do any non-transitive (in a mathematical sense) slang terms exist?

Are there any words that are slang for another word which is itself a slang term for something else, but the secondary slang term is not slang for the original word? That is, given words Y and Z, ...
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Did British chef Jamie Oliver redefine “pukka” in 1999?

Recently I've been watching cooking programmes: MasterChef Italia (addictive), MasterChef USA (awful), followed swiftly by Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares, and then onto Jamie Oliver's acclaimed The ...
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What is the origin of the slang term “book” meaning “leave” or “hurry”?

This verb is used in expressions such as “I’ll see you later – gotta book now”. Dictionary.com has: Slang. b. to leave; depart: I’m bored with this party, let’s book.¹ Anybody know the ...
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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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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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What are some slang words for “police” in countries besides the US?

In the US we have a number of slang terms that are commonly used to refer to the police: cops pigs five-O fuzz buzzkill (referring to their presence messing up the enjoyment of drugs) I am curious ...
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Is using “all” instead of “all used up” a regional thing?

My inlaws from Central Pennsylvania will say, "The milk is all" instead of "The milk is all gone". Another very common example, "Can you bring me some cookies?" "Sorry, the cookies are all". Anyone ...
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Why do Aussies use “cactus” to mean “dead,” “useless,” or “broken”?

This bloody washing machine is cactus! Glossaries / dictionaries of Australian slang (like this one, and this one) list cactus as meaning "dead, useless, or broken." How did this usage come about?
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How would a phrase such as “Does the pope sh*t in the woods” be classified? The closest I can get is “intentional malapropism”.

How would phrases such as "Does the pope sh*t in the woods? Does a bear wear a funny hat?" be classified? The closest I can get is "intentional malapropism". Thanks for your help.
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Connotations of using “boy” by upper-class liberal Britons in beginning of 20th century

Could someone provide (ideally documented) evidence for the following details of the possible meanings/connotations of the word "boy" as used by a start-of-20th-century upper-class British person of ...
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Origin and meaning of the American 1960s slang phrase, “bread is”

I am trying to answer a question from a library patron who remembers the entire phrase, "bread is" that she and her friends used in the 1960s. She accepts that "bread" was used for money or "dough," ...