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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

6
votes
4answers
27k views

Meaning of “catch you on the flip side”

I received an email from a coworker, and we're not that friendly. Actually, we're not friends at all, just two good colleagues. In his email, he wrote as his last sentence Catch you on the flip ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Are there any current examples of English “Back-Slang”?

Other languages feature words pronounced as their inverse (such as verlan and fika). What are some examples of this in English? The closest example I can think of it Pig Latin.
6
votes
2answers
321 views

Word or expression for guys who slept with the same woman(prostitute)?

Embarrassingly, in Korean, there is a slang word for this kind of relationship between guys. Might be translated as, "the husband of my wife's sister but only by the hole" ? I don't know how can I ...
6
votes
1answer
880 views

Why can a bird be pulled but never caught?

In the UK there is a popular idiomatic saying: To pull a bird. "Bird" is a well known Brit expression for a young woman. In the USA, I think "chick" is more popular. The above expression means ...
6
votes
3answers
660 views

Etymology of 'Pizzazz'

A question from December 2011 asked What is the social context of "pizzazz"?. I'm curious about the word's etymology. I checked some reference books, but they showed very little agreement ...
6
votes
4answers
9k views

Origin of “toffee-nosed”

What's the origin of toffee-nosed (snobbish, disdainful, stuck-up)? Is it related to "toff" (upper-class)?
6
votes
3answers
11k views

Why do we “talk turkey”?

Some customers and I started to talk turkey over a programming requirement the other day, meaning that all parties involved were starting serious negotiations or discussions. Naturally I wondered why ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Etymology of “far out”

Where does the expression far out come from? As in: I had to phone someone so I picked on you / Hey, that's far out so you heard him too! / Switch on the TV we may pick him up on channel two ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Question regarding the usage of “Bang”

Can anyone shed some light on the origin of the use of the word "Bang" to imply a positive adjective? For example, here are three colloquial phrases which use the word bang to lend strength to the ...
6
votes
2answers
487 views

Meaning & Origin of phrase “Step into [him/her]”

I've done a bit of searching for this phrase and found the following: "step into" Idioms & Phrases Involve oneself or intervene, as in He knew he'd be able to step into a job in his ...
6
votes
1answer
241 views

What is the term for giving an action or phenomenon somebody's name, e.g. “Doing a Lord Lucan”?

A friend of mine is keen on taking the glory (or adverse publicity!) when something goes wrong on a job he's working on and he likes to give it his name, e.g., "this is turning into a right Simpson of ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Meaning and origin of British/Australian slang word 'tut'

About twenty years ago I overheard a girl from the north of England laughingly advise a friend to get ready for a night out by telling her to 'slap some tut on your face'. She clearly meant 'put on ...
5
votes
5answers
496 views

Is “denormalized” a word?

I use it all the time since I work with databases, but every time I write it somewhere with spell check I get the squiggly line below it. I've seen other people spell it with an "s" instead of a "z" ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

“It's a-me !” — just an imitation of an Italian accent or something more?

I've seen and heard this at various times: It's a-me! [first name]! (Most of the time, seemingly as a reference to Mario.) I was wondering what the intent was behind the construction "a-me". Is ...
5
votes
8answers
2k views

Can the word “special” have a negative connotation?

I am involved with a group that works with children aged about 7, who've been through some difficult things. One of the sessions focuses on how "every one of you is special". Recently, somebody's ...
5
votes
5answers
7k views

What is the origin of the term “screw” in the case of a prison guard?

The term screw can refer to a prison guard. An example of this is seen in the folk song The Catalpa: So come all you screw warders and jailers Remember Perth regatta day Take care of the rest of your ...
5
votes
6answers
929 views

Odd, but unoffensive slang or idioms [closed]

I'm putting a character in a book who is replacing all typical swear words, exclamations, or name calling with old fashioned or little known words. For instance, exclaiming "Snails" instead of Damn or ...
5
votes
1answer
822 views

What does 'mothercanuckers' mean?

First of all, sorry if it is offensive (I think it somewhat is). I was going through http://bleacherreport.com/articles/424590-the-funniest-promos-and-moments-in-wwe-history#page/20 The Rock ...
5
votes
3answers
681 views

Why do you suck at XYZ?

How bad is the usage of the word suck in English? Is this "bad boy" language or commonly used?
5
votes
5answers
809 views

What would be an English equivalent for the Mexican Spanish word tocayo? [duplicate]

In Mexican Spanish (not sure if other Spanish speaking countries use the word too) we call "tocayo" to those people that share the same name as us (but not necessarily the same last name i.e., Juan ...
5
votes
4answers
706 views

Word for a “Male Mistress”

Is the male version of a mistress, a mastress? It's a term I would use, but I don't know if it is just slang or if it is formal... P.S. I mean a male that sleeps with a married woman (love, not ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is “ass” considered obscene?

Spam filters replace obscene "Ass" for "butt" Meanwhile, in literature, newspaper articles, forum posts, sayings, proverbs, etc. I am encountering many more expressions with ass but not with butt. ...
5
votes
3answers
7k views

Origin of “I can haz”?

I see some domain names have "icanhaz" in them. I think there must be some story behind it. Do you guys know?
5
votes
6answers
17k views

Where does “can't be arsed” come from?

I've only heard it from Kiwis, but I am told it's used in other countries as well: "I can't be arsed" means (IIUC) "I can't be bothered". Where could the expression come from? It's the only ...
5
votes
4answers
4k views

Does “This blows!” (it's bad) derive from “This sucks!”?

The origin of blow = suck, be bad/unpleasant recently came up in comments to this ELL question. I'd always assumed it was a standard slang "meaning reversal" from suck. But a few minutes on Google ...
5
votes
6answers
9k views

Origin of the expression “Get stoned”

My daughter asked me a question in the car the other day, and I didn't have an answer. She asked me about the origin of the expression "get stoned" (i.e. with regards to drug use), and how it might be ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Is “half-a-dozen” an accepted term?

I suspect that the parent term is "half of a dozen" which is just being shortened to half-a-dozen. But I caught myself using half-dozen earlier today and wondered which of the variants are considered ...
5
votes
2answers
394 views

Sing Song - nursery poem definitions

My wife was reading me this poem for our kids' homeschool A city plum is not a plum; A dumb-bell is no bell, though dumb; A statesman's rat is not a rat; A sailor's cat is not a cat; A soldier's ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Is “premises” always plural?

On-premises ... On-premise I see these terms frequently used to describe software systems hosted within a company's datacenter vs. software systems hosted externally by a third party (in the ...
5
votes
2answers
219 views

19th century American English “slang”?

As I was doing a bit of research online I stumbled on this Children's Corner page 311 from the American Farmers' Magazine 1858. And, frankly, there are a lot of words that look totally foreign to me. ...
5
votes
1answer
965 views

Does 'twink' imply a specific sexuality?

I know that twink is a slang term for hot young homosexual guys who do not have facial hair. This word is very common in the gay community (and their adult industry) and recently I've heard a debate ...
5
votes
4answers
227 views

What does “trollpoking” mean?

The edit summary here says: cleaned up a bit, removed the trollpoking. I'm certain removing trollpoking is referring to the removal of: This answer is going to be deleted as off-topic, isn't ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

How did “everloving” become a completely generic intensifier?

Most of the uses of the word everloving I can think of involve either vulgar or violent contexts, so you must excuse the following example: He'd finally crossed my last nerve, so yesterday, me and ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

What are the meaning and possible origin of “word!” and “word up”?

Several times, I have had conversations, all over instant messenger, finish with "word" or "Word up G". As it ends a conversation, I am guessing it is like "goodbye". My question is what is the ...
5
votes
1answer
15k views

Does “way too long” mean “a lot too long” or “slightly too long”? [closed]

Does way too long mean a lot too long, or slightly too long? Does way too stand for a huge or small measure?
5
votes
4answers
173 views

Can we authenticate the claim that “grungy” was used to mean “envious or jealous” in 1920s slang?

A recent question on EL&U asks "Where did the 1920s slang word "grungy" (meaning "envious") originate, if the modern word "grungy" (meaning "dingy") ...
5
votes
3answers
249 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

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," ...
5
votes
3answers
9k views

What does it mean to “pay X on the dollar”?

When I hear money laundry lingo in TV crime-series, people sometimes fence stuff for so and so much "on the dollar". What does it actually mean? And where does the expression originate from?
5
votes
3answers
7k views

Why do we “beat seven bells out of” someone?

To thrash someone within an inch of his life is sometimes referred to has beating seven bells out of him. But why should seven be the number chosen? This source here acknowledges the phrase exists but ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Having some kind of grit

What does the expression, "You have got some kind of grit," mean? Is it sarcastic, like being a bit crazy?
5
votes
4answers
772 views

Why does “I got 'busted' for smoking weed” mean 'caught'?

How did the word 'busted' morph into a synonym for 'caught'? Busted, down on Bourbon Street, Set up, like a bowling pin. Knocked down, it gets to wearin' thin They just won't let you be....
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Where and how is Geil used?

The urban dictionary writes: GEIL (Guy-el) The best colloquial word ever established by the German language. It has slowly assimilated itself into English speaking culture, particularly ...
5
votes
3answers
379 views

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; ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Why do we say a check “bounced”?

A "bounced check" is a check that cannot be processed by the bank because the party who wrote the check has insufficient funds to cover the amount of the check. (To my understanding it is a non-formal ...
5
votes
2answers
423 views

Origin of “to be into [someone] for [a sum of money]”

"He's into me for fifty quid" means "He owes me fifty pounds". It's common enough in the UK, but I'm fairly sure I've heard it in American movies too (bucks or grand there, not quid, obviously), so I ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
122 views

Use of the word “freak” as a slang term to mean stoner or heavy marijuana user

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the word "freak" was used for heavy marijuana smokers (other drugs might be involved as well) in New England boarding schools and as far south as Pennsylvania. My ...
5
votes
2answers
124 views

Why does the word gobs mean a copious amount?

Gobs is a word I've never seen in print; however, I've heard it used in an old moving picture and in an old situation comedy. I'm curious to know the origin of the word gobs as well as when it was ...