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

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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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1answer
64 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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2answers
309 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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1answer
118 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
141 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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1answer
661 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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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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217 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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1answer
118 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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1answer
123 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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1answer
125 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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8answers
657 views

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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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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4answers
218 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
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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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5answers
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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
80 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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1answer
116 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
131 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
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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
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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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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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5answers
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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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3answers
114 views

“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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1answer
143 views

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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3answers
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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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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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2answers
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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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1answer
190 views

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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1answer
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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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2answers
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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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711 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 ...
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760 views

Use 'Two dollar word' or 'Ten dollar word' or other? [duplicate]

We commonly use the phrase "two dollar word" in our company, but recently I have seen "ten dollar word" and "four dollar word" being used. Which is the most common one, and therefore which should we ...
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1answer
4k views

How did the words “petting” and “necking” come to mean kissing with passion?

I'm sure most of you have heard "necking" to mean kissing with passion; however, before "necking" the popular word among American youth was "petting". From Flappers to Rappers: The Study of American ...
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218 views

If something is considered the best why is it said to be “the berries”?

According to From Flappers to Rappers: A Study of American Youth Slang by Dr. Thomas Dalzell, "the berries" was a 1920s widely used slang term among American youth to describe something wonderful or ...
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3answers
228 views

Why was someone considered mentally unbalanced or crazy called a “crackpot”?

I believe "crackpot" dates back to the last decade of the nineteenth century; however, I'm curious to know why "crackpot" was used to describe someone mentally unbalanced or crazy. Any thoughts?
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If you're “balled up” why are you confused?

I believe the expression 'balled up' dates back to the first decade of the twentieth century and I believe it means 'confused' but I'm all balled up as to why it means 'confused'. The only ...
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4answers
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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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Is a tin-ear one who dislikes music or one who dislikes new popular music? Why?

I know folks who couldn't hear well used to use a tin-ear to help but I don't understand the connection between a tin-ear and a dislike of music or of new popular music.
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Why does the word “joed” mean weary, tired, exhausted, fatigued, etc.?

The word "joed" is a word I use frequently to describe my feeling tired or exhausted. As a child, I used to hear my grandfather say "I feel joed" before he would sit down for a respite or turn in; ...
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5answers
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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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2answers
130 views

Why does to “cheek it” mean to bluff?

From Flappers to Rappers: American Youth Slang by Dr. Thomas Dalzell cites the 1930s expression "cheek it" as meaning to bluff. I don't quite understand why and I'm hoping someone on here may help me ...