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

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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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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
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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
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“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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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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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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“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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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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“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
871 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
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“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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4answers
872 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
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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
133 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
58 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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3answers
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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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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
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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
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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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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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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
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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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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
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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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0answers
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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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2answers
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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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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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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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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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1answer
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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 ...
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4answers
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How prevalent is “I'm game” compared to “I'm in”?

Is it common to say "I'm game" in place of "I'm in" or "Count me in"? Is it used often in American English?
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3answers
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Origin of “name happened” form: from “s*** happens” via “magic happens”?

There’s a form in current English Then <X> happened or <X> happened, where you transition the name of a thing (a person, a fictitious character, or object), to mean the dramatic ...
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4answers
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“perhapsy” as a slang term for “perhaps”

I've recently heard somebody answered "Yes, perhapsy." Or could it be "perhapsee"? Could this be used as a slang term for "perhaps"? It happened in NYC area a few weeks ago.
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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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1answer
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Where did we get “buster” as in “Look here, buster”?

Americans, at least, have for some time used buster in speech or dialogue as a generic form of address. It has a range of tonalities, from light to affectionate to grimly confrontational. Listen, ...
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1answer
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Geek vs Geek Out - beyond computers

I am struggling with new usages of the word "geek" or "geek out". In social media outlets, it's no longer confined to computers or technology, but can be related to other subjects including ...
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2answers
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Is “chill” out of place to say to someone after a not so particularly good exam? [closed]

I am not a native speaker of English. Now, this was the conversation: A: How was today's exam? B: It was just okay. A: Well, you've got 2 more, right? You'll do well in those. Now when ...
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1answer
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A slang term derived from another slang term

Is there a word that describes a slang term that was, itself, derived from (or riffs on) another slang term? I was under the impression that the term Snowclone described ths phenomenon, but it seems ...
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4answers
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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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3answers
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What word can I use instead of “tomorrow” that is not connected with the idea of the rising sun?

I'm working on a novel while trying to take into account the historical context surrounding it. It begins in 1140 AD, so the characters would use Old English, Latin, Old French, and other similar ...
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What does the term “86'd” relate to?

What does it mean when someone or something is referred to as being "86'd"?
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1answer
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What's a British equivalent to the more American expression 'Kiss my ass'? [closed]

I have the feeling that 'kiss my ass' isn't as widely used in the UK as it is in the US. I'm looking for a more British sounding equivalent.
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1answer
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Replacement for the annoying habit of saying “I was like”

I am new here, so my first question would be to ask about an annoying habit that I, as well as many other people out there, seem to have... During the telling of a story I will often say this one ...
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4answers
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What's a word to describe people who blindly follow their government without question?

I want to describe someone who fanatically follows one of the following: Governmental body Political party Country Basically, someone who will agree with their government/party/country regardless ...
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2answers
879 views

Terminology for a “group selfie”

A selfie is a kind of casual self-portrait. People often take selfies that include a significant other or multiple friends, and I’m curious whether there is any established terminology or slang for ...
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What does “balls” mean as a reply word or interjection?

Here’s a question again in Jeffery Archer’s The Prodigal Daughter. Richard (husband of Florentina Kane, the heroine of the novel) finds in The Wall Street Journal that Jake Thomas, chairman of ...