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

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Is it mere slang to use the verb 'stick' in place of 'versus', as in 'Us three 'stick' you four'?

When I was a child (well over a half-century ago) in Norfolk, we would, when playing football talk of 'Team A stick Team B. When arranging sides informally we would say 'Us three stick the rest of ...
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4answers
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What does “rachet” 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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“Jesus is a coming” - what's the exact grammatical role of the “a” before the gerund? [duplicate]

I've noticed that in the common use of English, namely in songs, there is also an extra redundant(?) "a" before a gerund, such as in a gospel song I heard Jesus is a coming (this particular ...
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2answers
57 views

“Baby blues” - metonomy or synechdoche?

I understand the basic difference between metonymy and synecdoche (thanks in part to this question) but got stumped on "baby blues" as another way of saying eyes. Am I right that it is synecdoche as ...
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4answers
480 views

“My pigs are killing me!”

How has the word "pigs" come to be used as slang for feet? As in the phrase: My pigs are killing me! It seems to me that "pigs" and "feet" have very little in common. I'm not sure how common ...
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4answers
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Origin of “toffee-nosed”

What's the origin of toffee-nosed (snobbish, disdainful, stuck-up)? Is it related to "toff" (upper-class)?
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2answers
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BrEng: “pull your finger out”, “cock up” and “stuff it” What do they mean?

In the British sitcom, The Thin Blue Line, Detective Grim makes three intelligently crafted sentences, which are given below. What do they mean? It's my arse on the line, so you better pull your ...
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2answers
1k views

Why are promiscuous women known as “slappers”?

Women who aren't interested in much more than sex are referred to as "slappers" in British English. British informal, derogatory a promiscuous or vulgar woman. Why is this? I can't find any ...
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4answers
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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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1answer
85 views

What does it mean to call somebody “mom?”

I've heard many people use the word mom both in workplace and on TV. These are a few examples: In Insanity (the home exercise program) the leader of the program calls one of the participants "mom." ...
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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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1answer
53 views

Is “Goldbrick” commonly used in American English?

I came across the slang term "Goldbrick" in the American WWII cartoon Private Snafu The Goldbrick (Warning: possibly sexist at the start, and possibly racist near the end). I'd never heard the word ...
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3answers
150 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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6answers
2k views

How did “stuck-up” get to mean “snob”?

I was inclined to believe that the expression "stuck-up", meaning staying aloof from others because one thinks one is superior, had its origins with somebody's nose stuck (up) in the air and yet, ...
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4answers
133 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") ...
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4answers
90 views

Why is a young surfer called a “grommet” or a “grom”?

Why is a young surfer called a "grommet" or a "grom"? This page suggests that "a possible etymology for the word may be from the Portuguese term 'grumete', meaning the lowest ranking person on board ...
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2answers
538 views

Where does the word “sh**” 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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3answers
149 views

Why does “smashing” mean “very good”?

Smashing is a BrE slang which means "very good" or "impressive". Most folks might know this already, due to its use as a catch phrase by various BrE characters in media. However, from the usual ...
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3answers
87 views

Etymology of “shagged [out]” (BrE exhausted, knackered)

I was intrigued by this comment to an earlier ELU post... [shagged out] Meaning 'very tired', presumably originating from having lots of sex but used generally to mean tired for whatever reason ...
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3answers
207 views

Where does the slang word “bad” + “ass” (badass) come from?

What is the origin of the word badass? Why a "bad" ass/"bad" + "ass"? What is an ass that is bad and how can an ass that is bad describe a tough person?
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4answers
2k views

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
127 views

How does the word “gas” relate to cheating and deception?

According to A Collection of College Words & Customs by Benjamin Homer Hall, written in 1856 I believe, gas is defined as cheating or deceiving someone. Any ideas why that may be?
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1answer
235 views

“Definite ninety-nine” - UK English meaning

I've been browsing through older lyrics of Judas Priest songs, namely Rocka Rolla, which has the following lines in a verse: Barroom fighter Ten pint a nighter Definite ninety-nine ...
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3answers
126 views

Is “cry” an intransitive verb, or can it be transitive? - as in “Cry me a river”

When I look up the word, it should be an intransitive verb (no object). However, I'm still curious about the title "Cry me a river". Can I say that "I cried a bucket"?
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6answers
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Do Brits understand rhyming slang or are they sometimes puzzled by it too?

Most people know that rhyming slang is a colorful addition to British English, where someone says something that is not the intended word but rhymes with it. For example, He was brown bread. ...
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5answers
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“Fixing to” at the beginning of a sentence

Use of fixing to at the beginning of a sentence is prevalent in the southern states of Amerca. Is this the right usage? And is this only a southern US thing? Examples: Fixing to call her. ...
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3answers
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Origin of “how we/I roll”?

The phrase "that's how we roll" (along with variants) seems to have become increasingly popular in recent years. It appears to draw attention to one's behavior or policies, asserting -- sometimes ...
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2answers
784 views

“22 Acacia Avenue” British idiom

What is the meaning of this British idiom? I was watching BBC's Top Gear and the presenters were cracking jokes about people who live in the 22 of the avenues. And that the people who live there like ...
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4answers
898 views

“Muppet” in American English

I see an event is being organised in Washington, DC, called the Million Muppet March. In British English (at least) a muppet has no very positive a connotation:- muppet (ˈmʌpɪt) — n slang ...
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2answers
103 views

“The feds” has a negative connotation? Who exactly are they anyway?

In the US media, news reporters enjoy saying "the feds" with authority, but this using of a slang term without an agreed upon definition frustrates me. Let me elaborate. Speaking as a native speaker, ...
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896 views

Do Americans “gee things up”, or is it just a British usage?

As a Brit, I've always thought to "gee things up" (often followed by "a bit") was a relatively well-known Americanism - probably because I assume most figurative usages relating to horses come from ...
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4answers
74 views

Is there a slang word for “electronic cigarettes” (e-cigarettes)?

An electronic cigarette (e-cig or e-cigarette), personal vaporizer (PV) or electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) is a battery-powered vaporizer which simulates tobacco smoking by producing an ...
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11answers
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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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2answers
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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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1answer
141 views

What’s so funny about “You are winner”? [closed]

I came across one slang thing: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=You%27re%20Winner! While understand that it is grammatically incorrect and you must say "You are the winner", I don't get ...
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2answers
64 views

so mainstream or too mainstream [closed]

Should I say "something is so mainstream" or "too mainstream". They are both grammatically correct but which one is more common to use?
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5answers
611 views

What's the US slang term for “following someone in a car”?

I heard this somewhere on YouTube and I wish I could recall where exactly. The person was recording himself from a dash-cam while driving, and when he noticed that a cop was following him, he said ...
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3answers
9k views

Is there a definitive spelling for the shortened version of “as per usual”?

A shortened version of the phrase “as per usual” is now used as slang when referring to something that is typical or expected, often in an exaggerated or hyperbolic manner. For example: Bill: ...
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2answers
411 views

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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1answer
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What does “I gets mine” mean?

In the last episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" there was this dialogue between Larry and Leon (black guy who uses a lot of street slang): Larry: You think I'd go out with a guy wearing a green ...
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2answers
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Why is 'shucks' (as in 'aw, shucks') used with an '-s' ending?

I understand that 'shucks' is a slang that is: used especially to express mild disappointment or embarrassment and this definition is listed separately from 'shuck' (the verb/noun) in ...
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1answer
3k views

Where does the word “minge” come from?

The slang term minge in the sense of quim dates from the beginning of the 20th century. However, neither the OED nor Etymonline has any idea where it came from. Here are two of the OED’s citations: ...
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2answers
925 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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1answer
713 views

proper way to write the slang term for “gravitational force”

I came across something very similar to this in a thriller novel: At this stage, the rocket is experiencing its maximum acceleration, say about ten gees. Here, the author has spelled out the ...
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10answers
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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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Inoffensive exclamatory word to express surprise [closed]

Is there an inoffensive (possibly slang) term that can be used to express surprise in the "WTF" sense? For example, this term would be appropriate upon seeing that the stock market has fallen several ...
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6answers
7k views

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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9answers
2k views

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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4answers
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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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Should I really strive for mastery of my English or only stick with common words? It is confusing to always meet unknown words [closed]

It frustrates me to always find new unknown words, idioms when I read some book. I want to reach level when I understand 95-98% of all info I read - finally I FEEL LIKE KING, FINALLY MASTERED. Now I ...