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

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To give someone the 411

"To give someone the 411" is short for information but is this phrase common in the US and/or in Britain and is it still up to date or outdated?
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Rather unusual usage of the word “churn”

I came across this sentence in a book: "One especially strategic family room, where all these dark socio-cultural and political dimensions are dramatized brilliantly, is the kitchen, where the ...
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332 views

How should I use the phrasal verb “to d**k around”?

To waste time Stop dicking me around and get to the point. Would you please stop dicking around with her? To take advantage of You're dicking him around, you know? Don't ...
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word for false nostalgia

Is there a word to describe nostalgia for things that never existed? For example, a 1950s-style diner is supposed to reconstruct a cultural archetype, but there never existed such a diner. John Wayne ...
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2answers
401 views

why “and then some” means considerably more?

I've googled the phrase "and then some" and am told that it means "considerably more". But just how to comprehend this? The phrase literally means "some more" -- how does it come to mean "much more"? ...
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2answers
389 views

Why do people say “that-a-way” instead of “that way”?

I've often the following: Bob: Have you seen Ian ? Geoff: Yes, he went that-a-way. What is the reason people sometimes jokily add the extra "-a-" into the phrase? Where did this come from? ...
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1answer
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"crash someone's couch” vs “crash on someone's couch”

I am wondering which one is the exact expression. I thought that here "crash" is used in place of "occupy", which means the first one is the correct expression. On the other hand I have always heard ...
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1answer
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Meaning and usage of “Make me”

Sometimes the literal translations of "slang" sentences just don't make sense, so after reading a "Make me" answer (which I consider slang, due to its informal use, if I'm not wrong) to a request I ...
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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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1answer
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Meaning and usage of the slang “gold”

I often hear the word gold as a slang to describe something great such as "last night's party was gold" or "that movie was gold" etc. What exactly does gold mean and how do you use the slang?
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What is the definition of a word? [closed]

I'm wondering what the minimal requirement for a word to be an actual word is. My opinion is that a word is a word if it can be understood and defined by everyone who hears it in conversation. For ...
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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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How did “snookered” become a slang word for “to cheat or to steal”?

In this question we discussed the etymology of the word "snooker" as a noun, based on a game played on a pool table. But dictionary.com references a form of the word, "snookered" as a slang verb that ...
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2answers
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Is it derogatory or offensive to call a detective a dick?

The word dick is generally considered offensive and is marked so in dictionaries. But there is also a meaning of detective that it carries. I usually find no derog indication for this meaning. Is it ...
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1answer
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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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What does “flustrated” mean, and is it a word?

What does the flustrated mean? Is it even a word? I am using Lingea Lexicon and it doesn’t know this word, but the Internet is full of it. I find myself hating people for using it both in English ...
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2answers
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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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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 ...
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Derogatory term for electronic device

In German, the term "Kiste", literally meaning "box", is often used as a colloquial derogatory term for electronic and mechanical devices. It is comparable to "jalopy", which, however, seems to be ...
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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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1answer
749 views

Is “come again” an absolute slang? [closed]

I am not a native English speaker and use the expression "come again" in various forms such as "Come again, please" or "Can you come again?". I consider it to be a general expression which can also be ...
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6answers
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Is the use of the word “terrible” in a positive sense at all common?

I recently had an argument with one gentleman where he charged that he had heard the word terrible being used in a positive sense, as if something was good, or great. I had lived in the States for ...
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1answer
108 views

To Lay A Hit, Blow

Is 'to lay a hit/blow on' someone (as in cheap shot) a slang expression?
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Notes folded into paper airplanes

Do the notes that are folded into paper airplanes and thrown across classrooms by kids, have a special name?
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2answers
1k views

Etymology of 'vape'

"Vaping" is apparently the practice of smoking one of 'em newfangled e-cigarettes. Where does the word come from and when was it first used?
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“Kamarka part” etymology? [closed]

I know of some people in south Arkansas and north Louisiana that use this phrase. An example of its use would be when you have almost used up something, you have reached the "kamarka part." I hear it ...
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What is the origin of the phrase “buck naked”?

The phrase buck naked is well known and means "completely naked". It is synonymous to butt naked and stark naked, both self-explanatory. However, there are a few confusing aspects to the etymology of ...
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1answer
783 views

Are you “Dinky Die”? And what does Dinky Die mean? [closed]

Australia day is nearly upon us! And that means it's time to throw another chop on the barbie and say real Aussie things like "dinky die". Stone the crows, what's that even mean, "dinky die"? I've ...
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How does “pussy” come to mean “coward”?

The word pussy is often used to mean "coward". This guy is a pussy. and I am wondering why. How are woman's genitals related to being a "coward"?
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1answer
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“Ridgy didge” — what's that mean? [closed]

Australia day is nearly upon us! And that means it's time to throw another steak on the barbie and say real Aussie things like "ridgy didge". Flaming heck, what's that even mean, "ridgy didge"? I've ...
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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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2answers
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Meaning and etymology of “down with”

I've searched a lot and found out that down with as a slang phrase means "being in an agreement with something". On the other hand, I know that it also means "death upon something". So in a sentence ...
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Etymology of 'ripped' as in 'ripped abs'

ODO provides the following definition for the word ripped: 3. informal having well-defined or well-developed muscles; muscular: through his slightly-too-tight shirt you could see he was ripped ...
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“Sport” as an informal appellation

I was watching a film ostensibly set during the American Progressive Era (1900 to 1918 or so), in which two teenaged boys used the line "Ah, be a sport, Charlie!" That got me to thinking, was ...
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1answer
148 views

Meaning of “the seventies are calling”

I heard the sentence in a TV show (Fringe 4x16). The guy's phone was ringing and his friend said: "You should get that. I think the seventies are calling." and they both chuckled as if at a ...
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2answers
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Is “early mark” only used in Australia and New Zealand?

What countries is "early mark" used in? It means being let out of something, typically school, early. onelook.com only reports it being mentioned in Urban Dictionary, and it doesn't have information ...
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Where does “I'll go he” come from, and is there more to the phrase?

I understand the meaning of the saying "I'll go he", but does anyone know where it comes from? The researcher here seems to think that there is a couple of words left off.
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OED Appeals: Antedatings of “party animal”

The OED has made a public appeal for help in tracing the history of some English words, including: party animal noun earlier than 1982 When the OED added its entry for party animal, ...
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Usage of hain't

According to Dictionary.com, ain't has two meanings: Nonstandard except in some dialects. am not; are not; is not. Nonstandard. have not; has not; do not; does not; did not. When I ...
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Origin of “not for quids” phrase

At various times I've supposed the informal Australian phrase “not for quids” (which apparently is analogous to “not at any price”) derives from quid, which refers to sovereigns, or guineas. At ...
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Non-offensive equivalent to KISS [closed]

Is there a non-offensive way to tell someone: is better to (k)eep (i)t (s)imple, (s)... Update Let's say someone came with his part of the homework done, then it turns out to be a rather ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
4k views

Origin of “can't be asked” [closed]

I was wondering about the phrase "can't be asked" and I haven't been able to find out anything definite about it. Does it have an earliest known usage? Is it an accidental or a deliberate mutation of ...
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2answers
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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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3answers
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Is “ain’t” slang, or is it colloquial instead?

Does using the word ain’t in a song make it slang, whereas using it in a speech make it colloquial?
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5answers
488 views

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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Explanation for “them's”

Recently someone said to me: Them's the rules I thought he had the sentence wrong, but as it turns out it is slang. I am learning English as a second language and I would really appreciate if ...
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What do you call the main telephone number?

I understand that someone's work phone might have an extension. What do you call the main number of that office, which would normally be answered by an operator or a computer voice system? Would it ...
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Origin and scope of “cruft”

I just had to look up "cruft" (jargon for software or hardware that is of poor quality), as used in a comment to an earlier question. But I can't find any details of etymology, and I don't know how ...
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A single word for “blind” and “slow on the uptake” [closed]

We have a word tiomny in Russian which has the meanings blind, dim, and dumb. Is there a word (possibly slang) in American English which is as close in meaning to both blind and slow on the uptake?