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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

10
votes
3answers
7k views

If the English language is always evolving, why do we need to learn and follow grammatical rules?

Since language evolves over time — the best example I can think of is slang where it mostly doesn't follow grammar rules — why is there a need to preserve grammar or stress that proper ...
81
votes
20answers
497k views

Which expressions can be used to close an email? [closed]

At the end of written communication like emails and letters, it is customary to use a closing valediction or "complementary close". Which formal and informal expressions can be used to end emails?
7
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
20
votes
10answers
260k views

What is an appropriate response to “what's up” greeting?

Sorry if it's a trivial question, but when someone uses what's up as a greeting I have no idea what they want to hear. What are the possible answers and what does this question mean exactly?
35
votes
7answers
10k views

How bad is the f-word, really?

I am confused: on the one hand, many of my native-speaker friends keep telling me that the f-word is very, very bad. Much worse than the s-word for example. On the other hand, I see it being used ...
22
votes
4answers
46k views

What's the difference between “informal”, “colloquial”, “slang”, and “vulgar”?

It seems many people get confused about the differences (and similarities) between "colloquial" and "slang", so what exactly does each term apply to? But to be even more thorough it seems to me we ...
21
votes
5answers
4k views

“A whole nother” way of looking at things

People say this so much (instead of "another whole" way, etc.) that I wonder how it got started. How did "another whole..." get changed to "a whole nother..."?
21
votes
7answers
9k views

“Knocked up” to mean “woken up”

I'm reading some Sherlock Holmes stories (don't judge - it's good vacation reading) and Conan Doyle has Holmes saying things like "Sorry to knock you up, Watson..." which I'm finding very... odd. ...
12
votes
10answers
4k views

Origin of “hating on”

What is the origin of the slang phrase hating on? Google Trends suggests that the phrase did not enter the lexicon until early 2009. I'm curious where the phrase originated. As Stefano Palazzo ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do we say “[expletive] ALL” for “nothing”?

Damn all, Bugger all, Sod all etc., etc. What does all mean here? How did the expression originate? Was there a single original term (expletive or not) preceding all in this usage? At the risk of ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Use of “them” as an article, not a pronoun

I've seen a lot of times the pronoun them used like an article. For example, in the title of the Delta Rhythm Boys Them bones, or in the first sentence of "Money for nothing": Now look at them ...
157
votes
6answers
24k views

What is the origin of ZOMG?

I have looked in a number of places, with contradicting results. The Urban Dictionary provides a whopping 73 "explanations", of which I will quote just a few. (Original spelling and punctuation ...
46
votes
1answer
5k views

How did “s***” and “the s***” come to mean opposite things?

Your idea is shit Your idea is bad. Your idea is the shit Your idea is good. The same does not apply to "the crap" or "the poop", or other profanity like "the fuck". I can think of ...
17
votes
4answers
9k views

How long has the f-word been in use as an abusive term?

When was the f-word 'invented'? Who invented it? Has it always had the derogatory meaning that it does today. Is it a recent invention?
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Pronunciation of voiceless alveolar fricative /s/ as ʃ (/sh/) in slang?

Observed some words get pronounced with a /sh/ rather than /s/ in certain situations. Stripes as "Shtripes" (from some "The Wire" episode) Screw it as "shcrew it" (from a rap song) In both ...
75
votes
5answers
17k views

What does 'TL;DR' mean and how is it used?

I do my best, at my advanced age, to come to grips with the apparent acceptability of such widely used words/expressions/abbreviations as lol/LOL, IMHO, AFAIK, etc. However, TLDR/tl;dr defeats me. ...
15
votes
5answers
14k views

What's exactly I'mma? I'mma go now, I'mma open that for you

When I chat I hear sometimes "I'mma ..." like in: "I'mma go now" or "I'mma open that for you" I am not sure how it's written, I have never got a precise answer when I asked. Should I learn to ...
12
votes
1answer
637 views

What's “nutty” about fruit and cake?

Funnily enough, food is often used metaphorically to describe someone's eccentricity or level of sanity. We have nuts Slang. a foolish, silly, or eccentric person. an insane person; ...
11
votes
13answers
16k views

Origin of “the wrong end of the stick”

If someone has the wrong end of the stick it means they've misunderstood something. If they've got the shitty end of the stick it means they've got a bad deal in some bargain or share-out. This ...
1
vote
6answers
32k views

What is a polite substitute for badass (used as a noun)? [closed]

Badass and BAMF are both modern words with approximately the same meaning: "Someone who is awesome to an extreme level, thereby leveraging unquestionable authority." Is there another noun or title ...
13
votes
7answers
19k views

What does the term “86'd” relate to?

What does it mean when someone or something is referred to as being "86'd"?
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Where does the word “*ag” 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Where does the phrase “dead simple” originate?

It feels like there should be a story behind it, or perhaps a type of slang, but I can't find anything in various Web searches.
6
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
1k views

Is 'learn' the new 'teach'?

With seemingly increasing frequency I come across a phrase using 'learn' when I think it should be 'teach'. The classic example is 'that will learn them!', as in "Shoot all criminals - that will ...
46
votes
5answers
26k views

“Screwed” vs. “nailed”: why is the slang so different?

While the two names nail and screw have similar shapes and functions, why do the verbs differ so much? Someone has screwed something sounds like they have ruined something to me, while someone has ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

Is this usage of “lol” considered a hedge?

In doing some research on another question I bumped into the term "hedge": A hedge is a mitigating device used to lessen the impact of an utterance. Typically, they are adjectives or adverbs, but ...
19
votes
2answers
37k views

People's names as names for genitalia?

How did Peter, the surname, Johnson, and the nicknames for William(Willy) and Richard(Dick), come to mean penis? Was the first instance of these usages, related to a specific person? Are there more ...
12
votes
7answers
16k views

How do I spell the truncation 'Cas', as in 'Sports Casual/Sports Cas'?

How do I spell the truncation 'Cas', as in 'Sports Casual/Sports Cas'? It may be UK only, and may have been spawned by Alan Partridge. Cash/Cas are not right. *As in a slang term, "he was acting all ...
11
votes
4answers
222k views

What does “fleek” mean and when was it first used?

The word fleek is all over Twitter. The @lovihatibot Twitterbot routinely finds it in searches for "I love the word [X]" and "I hate the word [X]", in fact it's the third most hated word over the ...
4
votes
1answer
5k views

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 ...
14
votes
12answers
22k views

What is a feminine version of “dude”?

OK . . . another one similar to "What is a feminine version of 'guys'?" "Dude" is masculine; what is the feminine version? The usage I'm thinking of is that "dude" nowadays is used primarily as a ...
8
votes
8answers
1k views

A polite substitution for “lamer”

Is there a polite word that can be used to designate someone who didn't really understand what he or she was doing? Or, in general, someone who is intentionally ignorant of how things work. A "lamer" ...
5
votes
5answers
2k 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
9k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Why the opposite meanings of the word “bollocks”?

The phrases the dog’s bollocks, the bee’s bollocks, and golden bollocks are used to mean something or someone excellent, fine, or well thought of. But if one were to say a load of bollocks, or ...
8
votes
3answers
6k views

Reflexive love: where does “love me some …” come from?

It seems trendy to use a reflexive-like construction with love or hate plus some, like this: You know I love me some cheese! I hate me some cold and the temperature is dropping. Where did this ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How and when did “bash” and “do” come to mean party?

I am on my way to a faculty party at the university. The Head of Sciences is retiring and is throwing a huge bash, all his staff, selected external examiners like me and various scientists from ...
6
votes
8answers
2k views

What would you call a person who is not a student, but takes interest in exploring academic topics?

A person who is not formally enrolled as a student, researcher or faculty in some university or college but who takes interest in exploring academic topics/stuff. For e.g. Such a person could be ...
6
votes
3answers
18k views

What is the origin of the word “wog”?

Some friend of mine told me it was an acronym for "western oriental gentleman" and was a form of sarcastic politeness. Is this true, and is it offensive to use this word?
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How do American dialects differ?

I grew up in a very homogenous suburb, and was quite shocked when I moved to Philadelphia for college and started hearing how many different dialects exist even within one city. My untrained ear could ...
0
votes
0answers
397 views

“She’s got a ticket to ride, but she don’t care” — why? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: The grammaticality of “that don't impress me much” In the famous Beatles song Ticket to ride, it is said of the protagonist that “she don’t care”. Why ...
111
votes
10answers
25k views

Differences between slang words for breasts

What is the difference between “tits” and “boobs”? P.S. I'm not sure if this question is appropriate but as English is not my native language I really would love to know the difference.
42
votes
6answers
47k views

What is meant by “don't piss on my boots and tell me it's raining”?

I have heard a couple of times recently the phrase "don't piss on my boots and tell me it's raining", usually in the context of a heated argument so I've hesitated to ask speaker what exactly he meant ...
11
votes
5answers
74k views

What is the origin and history of the word “motherf---er”?

I'm not a native English speaker, but I would like to know how and why people started using mother fucker. Today it seems it has lost its meaning because people use it all the time, but was there a ...
6
votes
2answers
20k views

Where did “You know what thought did!” come from?

"You know what thought did" is a catch-phrase addressed to someone who has just made a stupid mistake and attempted to excuse himself by saying "But I thought..." Does anyone know the origin of this ...
32
votes
4answers
3k views

Did the English call a fruit “openærs” for 700 years?

There is a small apple-tasting fruit called medlar in English. It looks like a cross between an apple and a rosehip. It has two main curious features: first the fruit must be bletted before it can ...
29
votes
13answers
21k views

Is there a slang word or idiom for someone who borrows money from friends or relatives and never (or rarely) pays them back?

Edit - My question doesn't refer to bank loans or credit card accounts. Nor does it refer to getting things out of other people's generosity. It is specifically about money and the putative duplicate ...
16
votes
7answers
1k views

A wife who knows and accepts her husband's infidelity

What do you call a wife or woman who knows their spouse or partner is unfaithful but pretends either to (1) not care or (2) to not know? In this scenario it's important that the cheating spouse or ...
11
votes
6answers
5k views

“Don't got” — how common is it in American usage?

I often hear the usage "don't got" in American English as spoken on TV programmes. Recently I was watching season four of "Prison Break" and one character, an Asian computer wizard, repeatedly used ...