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

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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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?
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What does the punctuation “//” mean?

What does the punctuation "//" mean? For example: I think I owe myself a THWACK. //ashamed ... //run ... //head down I heard this is related to the comment in the programming ...
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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. ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Is there a derogatory word for “mobile phone” (cellphone) similar to “idiot box” for a television?

My father called our TV "the idiot box". Implying either that it had idiots on it, was targeted at idiots, or you were an idiot if you watched it too much. Is there any similar term in use but ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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") ...
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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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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," ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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....
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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What's a useful replacement idiom for “money shot?”

I'm afraid I have been somewhat innocently causing offense by using the term "money shot" in its general, non-pornographic sense. My coworkers either have dirty minds or lack awareness of the other ...
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Origin of “tootsie” or “tootsy” (foot)

I was just sitting thinking I had cold tootsies meaning my toes or feet! This got me wondering, where on earth does the word tootsie/tootsy come from? I did Google this and got definitions ...
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Origin of Doobie (joint, marijuana cigarette)

OED says: doobie: a marijuana cigarette Origin unknown. A relationship with dobby has been suggested. dobby/dobbie: A silly old man, a dotard, a booby. Dialectal. First citations: ...
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that's some good sh*t

I found a web site called http://shitformakingwebsites.com/ to find excellent-quality materials for work. I started wondering why "sh*t" can be used so positively here. I have a similar question ...
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Does “awe” have a colloquial meaning (similar to “awesome”)?

The meaning of awe is given in dictionaries as "an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime" (this definition is from ...
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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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Who invented “dooblidoo”?

The word dooblidoo is used by several different youtube channels as a different word for the youtube description bar. I've seen it used by the vlogbrothers and by PBS Idea Cahnnel. Who was first to ...
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What is the origin of the idiom “tight fit” meaning a good joke?

I've recently been studying etymology and I received a book titled Flappers 2 Rappers: A Study of American Youth Slang written by Dr. Thomas Dalzell. Dr. Dalzell's research goes as far back as the ...
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What is the meaning and etymology of 'scut' from 'scut work'?

What is the origin of scut in scut work? According to Merriam-Webster, scut work: routine and often menial labor Probably from medical argot, scut meaning 'junior intern' First known use: circa 1962 ...
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Where does the slang adjective “peng” come from?

I read on Cambridge Dictionaries’ About words blog that peng is a British slang adjective meaning pretty, very attractive. I am told by a coworker that it is of Caribbean origin, but have no more ...
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“That's the Mulligatawny”

In Orwell's A Clergyman's Daughter, Dorothy ends up travelling with a bunch of other homeless youths, one of whom is a cockney called Nobby. He uses the word "Mulligatawny" as a slang word, but I've ...
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How should one use “awesome” today? [closed]

Lately I have been hearing the word awesome used in many places. I'm trying to figure out how it is used. It has already been discussed on this site a bit. See "When I'm sad, I stop ...
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Why do they call a murder a “red ball” case?

Not being a native speaker, I wonder why they call a murder a "red ball" case ("redball" or "red-ball") in certain TV-shows and films. Specifically this expression is often heard in TV-shows like The ...
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Is kickassiness an accepted word?

I have been looking for a word that means kickassiness, but haven't come across one. Is this an accepted word? If not, what word can be used in its place?
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What does the word “hacking” or “hacker” come from? [closed]

Is there a history behind the word "hacker" and "hacking"? Could it have anything to do with "hashing" i.e. using a hash function?
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How common is “fugly”?

"Fugly" is a vulgar slang adjective as far as I know, and I wonder how common it is, and how do people react when they hear that word. Native speakers are appreciated if they share their opinions.
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Where does the phrase “No skin off my teeth/nose” come from?

The phrase "it's no skin off my nose/teeth" is generally used to mean that something isn't much of a risk/concern. But where does it come from? Specifically with respect to teeth. What is tooth skin?
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Why does one run around like a blue-arsed fly?

I have been a bit busy recently; too busy to give this website the attention it warrants. In fact, I said to myself yesterday, I have been running around like a blue-arsed fly. I stopped to think: ...
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Was there textspeak before texting?

2b |! 2b, < = ? With such a rich history of inventive writing and puns, it seemed bizarre to me that the idea of writing in txtspk would be a new one. I found a brief degree of truncation in ...
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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 ...