Questions tagged [slang]

Questions about “Language of a highly colloquial type, considered as below the level of standard educated speech, and consisting either of new words or of current words employed in some special sense.” [OED: 𝒔𝒍𝒂𝒏𝒈]

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6
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2answers
12k views

Origin of Doobie (joint, marijuana cigarette)

OED says: doobie: a marijuana cigarette Origin unknown. A relationship with dobby has been suggested. dobby/dobbie: A silly old man, a dotard, a booby. Dialectal. First citations: ...
116
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11answers
46k 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.
25
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4answers
93k views

What exactly is “I'mma?”

When I chat, I'll sometimes hear "I'mma ..." as in: "I'mma go now" or "I'mma open that for you" I am not sure how it's written, I have never gotten a precise answer when I've asked. Where does ...
44
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6answers
98k 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 ...
26
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3answers
13k views

Meaning of “bully” in the 1800s

What did "bully" mean in the 1800s? When describing how good his field is, a young man wrote: My buckwheat looks first-rate, and the oats and potatoes are bully. Source: Harper's Weekly, ...
34
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13answers
61k 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
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5answers
3k views

What do you call a Q&A user who posts a question but never checks back?

I have searched for a term that describes users who post questions and then disappear without trace. These users will post and write their questions in a great flurry, sometimes ignoring the basic ...
11
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6answers
63k views

Where does “can't be arsed” come from?

I've only heard it from Kiwis, but I am told it's used in other countries as well: "I can't be arsed" means (IIUC) "I can't be bothered". Where could the expression come from? It's the only ...
23
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5answers
126k views

Why does “klick” mean kilometer in US military slang?

Wiktionary says it is either likely a pseudo-condensed pronunciation of kilometer or onomatopoeic of the sound of a military odometer. Though kilometers are not commonly used to measure distance in ...
17
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7answers
9k 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
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7answers
11k 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 "...
10
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5answers
19k views

Why is a black eye called a “shiner”?

I saw a photograph of Chris Robshaw, the Harlequins captain, in the paper yesterday sporting a magnificent shiner, and naturally started to wonder where the term originated. Consulting Etymonline ...
9
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9answers
15k views

Is there a less colloquial word (noun or adjective) to describe an “attention whore”?

It could be a noun or an adjective, and either could describe a person or an action. For example: "Did you hear Eric's wedding toast? He wouldn't shut up!" "I know, he was being a complete _______"
4
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2answers
943 views

What is the origin of “oh noodles!”

Noodles are tasty. I like them, but why are they also used as an exclamation of dismay in the following? Oh Noodles!
14
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2answers
19k views

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 ...
11
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3answers
11k views

Who invented “dooblidoo”?

The word dooblidoo is used by several different youtube channels as a different word for the youtube description bar. I've seen it used by the vlogbrothers and by PBS Idea Cahnnel. Who was first to ...
10
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8answers
18k views

Definition of “kissing cousins”— Are the dictionaries wrong/incomplete?

With relatives in the US south, I always thought that the definition of "kissing cousin" was a second cousin (or more distant) whom you could kiss and subsequently marry (FWIW I never did either!). ...
9
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4answers
24k views

Origin of “toffee-nosed”

What's the origin of toffee-nosed (snobbish, disdainful, stuck-up)? Is it related to "toff" (upper-class)?
8
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3answers
10k views

Is “premises” always plural?

On-premises ... On-premise I see these terms frequently used to describe software systems hosted within a company's datacenter vs. software systems hosted externally by a third party (in the "cloud")....
7
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4answers
6k views

Is calling a homosexual person “gay” offensive?

My native language is German but I’ve been watching a lot of TV in English. During a conversation about the English language, a question about the term gay came up. Is calling a homosexual person gay ...
4
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3answers
216 views

Is there a name for “the string of characters typed randomly on a keyboard home row”?

Or, in other words, is asdf;ksa;llfsdfsadfasdk;lfjasjfdk;lasfjldfjsafjdsl;fjajfdlksaj called something? Does this specific phenomenon have a name? Could you refer to it generically, as in, "The ...
4
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2answers
577 views

Single word for expressing underwear marks on skin

I'm looking for a single-worded or a slang term for expressing those marks. I've googled a bit but it did not help. Thanks
0
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1answer
5k views

I don't understand the usage of “either” in this sentence

"I couldn't sleep last night. I bet you guys couldn't either". Does the second sentence mean "I bet you too, guys"? Is it correct to use "either" like that or is it just slang?
16
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4answers
6k views

How nutty are the terms “nut case”, “health nut” and “sports nut”?

If someone is nuts about something/someone it means they are a very enthusiastic— sometimes bordering on obsessive—devotee of that particular thing or person. To be nuts is a colloquial term meaning ...
10
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3answers
47k views

What's the origin of “lit”?

Since June 2015, use of the word lit has exploded on Twitter. Here's some recent examples. Nena Marie: My Year is starting off lit af👌🏼 ...but is gonna be TD by Monday morning Nick: Jason ...
10
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4answers
2k views

What do you call someone who is addicted to a Q&A website?

I was looking for a term for someone who is addicted to a Q&A website but I came up with general terms like nethead, cybernaut, netizen, internet addict etc. You can think of adjectives like ...
9
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4answers
19k views

Why is “bloody” considered obscene in the UK but not in the US?

Why is the word bloody considered obscene in the UK but not so in the US?
8
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3answers
3k 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 ...
8
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5answers
10k 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 ...
7
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5answers
33k views

Where does the phrase “in good nick” come from?

The term "in good nick" meaning "in a good condition" came up in conversation and I realised I had no idea where it came from. Searching online seems surprisingly fruitless- there are several roots ...
7
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4answers
750 views

We might have to do some “fiddling”

I like the word fiddle, and I quite like the musical instrument too. If you're fiddling with a device, it means you're trying to repair it. It might be tricky because of all the tiny bits and pieces ...
7
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4answers
14k views

What is the meaning and etymology of 'scut' from 'scut work'?

What is the origin of scut in scut work? According to Merriam-Webster, scut work: routine and often menial labor Probably from medical argot, scut meaning 'junior intern' First known use: circa 1962 ...
6
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1answer
861 views

What is the term for giving an action or phenomenon somebody's name, e.g. “Doing a Lord Lucan”?

A friend of mine is keen on taking the glory (or adverse publicity!) when something goes wrong on a job he's working on and he likes to give it his name, e.g., "this is turning into a right Simpson of ...
6
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4answers
2k views

19th century American English “slang”?

As I was doing a bit of research online I stumbled on this Children's Corner page 311 from the American Farmers' Magazine 1858. And, frankly, there are a lot of words that look totally foreign to me. ...
6
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4answers
447 views

Can anyone 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") doesn&#...
4
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2answers
4k views

Where did the slang word “basic” come from?

How did the word basic come to be used as slang for "the majority" or "the conformed." Where was it's first usage as such a word? Is it a new internet frenzy or has this word been used as slang before?...
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1answer
76 views

The phrase “caught flat footed” [closed]

Is it professionally okay to use the term "caught flat-footed"?
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3answers
2k views

Phrase to refer to community of people who come together to exchange knowledge [closed]

I need a two word phrase to refer to a community of people (academia + non-academia) who come together to share/exchange their knowledge/ideas openly on topics of their interests/ specializations. I ...
1
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2answers
4k views

what does the sentence “You wouldn't know a hospital corner if it bit you on the arse” mean?

The conversation goes something like this: Woman: I'll change the bed sheets. Man: No, I'll do it! Woman: I can make a bed! Man : You wouldn't know a hospital corner if it bit you on ...
0
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2answers
15k views

“Pretty good” vs. “pretty bad”

What is the difference between using "pretty bad" and "pretty good" in this kind of slang context? It seems to be more of an American English quirk. Looks like you hurt your leg pretty bad ...
0
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3answers
251 views

The math problem is too difficult for `X` to work out

There are four options: everybody, somebody, anybody and nobody. Which one should be used in X place ?
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3answers
3k views

What does it mean when someone calls himself “non sequitur”? [closed]

Coming from my answer to question Is there a better noun form of “unreasonable” than “unreasonableness?” What does it mean when someone calls himself "non sequitur"? Examples: "I AM NON ...
121
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7answers
15k views

What’s a “handegg”?

What’s a handegg? NOTE: This question is primarily related to the etymology of a compound noun which is not in The Dictionary. There is a hat this year called “Handegg”, given out for a posting that ...
25
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4answers
312k views

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"?
7
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3answers
110k views

Are “way better” and “way more” correct?

"Way better" and "way more" are popular expressions, but they both seem incorrect to me. "Far better", "far more", "much better", and "much more" all seem correct. Is this true? If so, why?
16
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3answers
65k views

In what English-speaking communities does “trump” refer to the breaking of wind?

It is clear from this site that the verb to trump has been used extensively across Britain to refer to the breaking of wind. It is especially the case in the North, in Wales and certainly in Norfolk, ...
39
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6answers
9k views

The intensifier 'pure D': where and when did it originate, and what does the D stand for?

A posting in my Facebook timeline today began "I've been sorting boxes of Pure D-Crap." The poster was writing from Alameda, California (near San Francisco). It struck me that I hadn't heard "pure D" ...
28
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9answers
19k views

Why does “big cheese” mean someone important?

This is one of those common phrases that I have never really questioned until now. According to the free dictionary, "Big cheese" means an "important person". But what on earth does "cheese" have ...
20
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7answers
10k views

Why are you a plonker?

The idiom, plonk (something/someone) down means to slap something down; to plop something down to sit or lie down on something in a careless or noisy way to leave someone somewhere to do ...
16
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7answers
90k views

Is it true that “tuppence” refers to a woman's vagina in British English slang? If so, why?

I was looking up a definition online, as I often do, in this case the British slang word tuppence; I got the standard "a slang reference to a coin denomination" definition from Wikipedia, but stumbled ...