Are there any words that are slang for another word which is itself a slang term for something else, but the secondary slang term is not slang for the original word?

That is, given words Y and Z, where Y is a slang term for Z, does there exist a word X such that it is slang for Y, but not for Z?

  • 3
    May I suggest a clarification of the title? e.g., Do any non-transitive (in a mathematical sense) slang terms exist?
    – Uticensis
    Feb 28 '11 at 1:56
  • As to the original question, I haven't thought of one yet, but I suspect that a good answer will be found somewhere in the slang for drugs and/or drug paraphernalia.
    – Uticensis
    Feb 28 '11 at 2:01
  • 6
    This question makes my head hurt.
    – Robusto
    Feb 28 '11 at 2:28

Wiener and frank are slang terms for a hot dog. A "hot dog" is a slang term for a show-off. Neither wiener nor frank is a slang term for a show-off.

  • wrt Wiener, Frank, and hot dog, how do you know which are slang terms and which is the correct word?
    – Ben Voigt
    Feb 28 '11 at 14:19
  • @Ben Voigt: Well, it doesn't really matter. But just for the sake of argument, say "hot dog" is slang for wiener; wiener is slang for a whiny, wimpy person, and "hot dog" is not.
    – Kosmonaut
    Feb 28 '11 at 14:49

"Lift" is slang for "ride" ("Give me a lift to the airport.") and "ride" is slang for "automobile" ("That's one sweet ride you're driving.") but "lift" certainly does not mean "automobile".


It's arguable that what you ask for is impossible, slang or not.
Any example would have to involve a word with multiple meanings.
Strictly interpreted "is synonymous with" is an equivalence relation, therefore by definition transitive.
So if you say:

A wanker is a tosser.
A tosser is a thrower.
But a wanker isn't a thrower.

You are relying on the polysemy of "tosser".
It has two separate meanings: masturbator and thrower.
See also the fallacy of equivocation.

  • Ooops, I just wanted to answer with the link to the same equivocation fallacious reasoning without reading answers but it happened to be the last words before "Your Answer" text area Mar 6 '11 at 4:47
  • 1
    I disagree. Mostly because 'is synonomous with' is not an equivalence relation, synonyms are like friends, a synonym of a synonym is not necessarily a synonym of the first; just follow a path through Roget's: truth->precision->rigor - truth and rigor are not in the same synonym set. Also, many words exhibit polysemy (like the 'hot dog' example) and that can allow great intransitivity.
    – Mitch
    Apr 14 '11 at 1:09

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