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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14
votes
7answers
50k views

What does “ratchet” 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 ...
7
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1answer
2k views

'Not feeling clever' - how far does this extend?

The other day, when my wife was unwell, I happened to mention to a relative in Norfolk that she wasn't 'feeling too clever'. He instantly knew what I meant. But it made me wonder how far this idiom ...
61
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2answers
8k views

What did “pop a cap” mean, other than “shoot someone,” in the 19th century?

Popping a cap Green's Dictionary of Slang defines "pop a cap" as: to fire a weapon; to shoot someone. In recent uses, the slang meaning is clear, and often extended to "pop a cap (in somebody's ...
47
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11answers
14k views

What does “Wine! Because you never got a pony” mean?

The term Wine! Because you never got a pony appeared in a meme on my social media. My first reaction was to question if there was a spelling mistake, i.e. Whine! Because you never got a pony would ...
39
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6answers
12k views

Etymology of a “pegged CPU”

There's a slightly obscure, slang meaning in tech circles of the word "pegged" as it relates to a computer's CPU. When it is fully utilised for a duration (at least several seconds), you can say that "...
34
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28answers
18k views

Derogatory term for a corporate employee

I’m looking for a derogatory term for a person who works in a big, international business. In Polish we have a few informal words for that, like korpoludek (“corpo little guy”) and korpoczłowiek (“...
21
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4answers
69k views

Why “shrink” (of a psychiatrist)?

I know it originates from "head shrinking", but it doesn't help me a lot to understand the etymology. Why are psychiatrists called that? Is it like "my head is swollen [from anguish, misery, stress, ...
17
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5answers
66k views

Origin of “jack sh*t”

Why do we say "Jack Shit" to mean "nothing at all"?
16
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9answers
20k views

Is “Canuck” offensive?

I was criticized the other day for using this word. It never occurred to me that it was offensive, but Wikipedia says it "may" be derogatory. Given Vancouver's hockey team, I tend to think it's benign,...
16
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6answers
10k views

What do the British mean by “bolshie”?

In this week's edition of The Economist there is a review of Edith Pearlman's latest book of short stories. In it, the reviewer says the volume is characterised by prose that is bolshie yet ...
15
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5answers
29k views

How to spell [ʒʊʒd] and what does it mean?

I heard this strange word in American Dad over a year ago and it's been bugging me ever since. Not only do I have no idea how it's spelt, I have no idea how it could possibly be spelt. My only guesses ...
11
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4answers
6k views

Are the acronyms FYI, BTW, LOL, WTF now considered “normal” words?

Are these "words" moving out of the elitist slang stage and into popular usage? It is hard for me to tell, because in the techie culture I work in they are ubiquitous. However, I've tried them out ...
10
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3answers
96k views

Why is 'hell' considered a curse word?

Given the Wikipedia's list of profanities, you will see that it's somehow detached from the rest of curse words. The most commonly recognized profanities usually describe a body part, person or an (...
32
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4answers
8k views

Origin of “queer as a clockwork orange”

While reading a recent Ken Follet novel, I came across the following, spoken in a gay bar set in early sixties London: "I am queer as a clockwork orange, a three-pound note, a purple unicorn, or a ...
23
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9answers
27k views

Etymology of “div”

Acting like a div yesterday:- a stupid or foolish person I started to wonder how this term of abuse came about. Urban Dictionary has a quaint tale:- Actually originates from prison slang in the ...
23
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7answers
64k views

Origins of the gaming term “cheese strategy”

In a gaming scene the word cheese is used to describe strategies or ways of playing that are really powerful and do not require much skill from the players side at the same time. The term is widely ...
23
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7answers
79k views

How derogatory is “chicks” when used to refer to women?

A comment in “What is a feminine version of guys?” got me wondering: how derogatory is the use of chicks to refer to women (either in general, or to a specific group). To me (I'm a man), it was quite ...
22
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9answers
19k views

Why do we “get cold feet”?

A sudden loss of nerve when embarked on a venture is called cold feet. Does anyone know why that should be? An etymology is suggested at englishdaily626. If your 'feet' are 'cold', you can't walk ...
21
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4answers
293k views

Where did the phrase “batsh*t crazy” come from?

I am curious how this term came to be. I've found this question on various forums, but none of them seem to agree where the term came from. The most popular explanation seems to come from "bat in the ...
20
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13answers
160k views

Is there a male equivalent of 'bitch'?

While I know you can attribute 'bitch' to a male, I feel there is a sense of femininity. I was wondering if there is a colloquial equivalent that describes someone with the qualities of a 'bitch' ...
18
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10answers
88k views

Is it offensive to call a redhead a “ginger”?

So I just re-watched this great comedy by Tim Minchin, and here are the questions: How bad/offensive is the g-word really (other than being an anagram of the n-word)? What are alternatives? Is "...
18
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3answers
4k views

What is the origin and meaning of “to be a square”?

I read an answer on another question where the answer was 'square' as opposed to 'not hip'. E.g. "Don't be a square!" I have always been under the impression that the term came about because you are ...
14
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4answers
283k 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 ...
14
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5answers
4k views

Where did “wired” come from?

I am not a coffee drinker, but I just drank some coffee. I said to my Hispanic friend, "I am WIRED!" and had to explain what the slang term means. However now that I think about it, that's an awfully ...
13
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2answers
6k views

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 ...
11
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5answers
32k views

What is the origin of the expression “do me a solid”?

What is the origin of the phrase "do me a solid"? The definition I am referring to: do me a solid do something for someone as an act of kindness; do someone a favor. Example usage: Hey ...
10
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6answers
42k 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 ...
10
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4answers
249k views

How offensive is it to call someone a “slag” in British English? (NSFW)

One more colorful slang term I gleaned from the British movie I recently watched is slag. In the movie, it was used in curses like, "Fuck-ing dogs! Slags." "Right slag, that one." Now I know via ...
9
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3answers
8k views

Word or expression for guys who slept with the same woman(prostitute)?

Embarrassingly, in Korean, there is a slang word for this kind of relationship between guys. Might be translated as, "the husband of my wife's sister but only by the hole" ? I don't know how can I ...
9
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4answers
6k views

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 ...
9
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3answers
46k views

What does it mean to “pay X on the dollar”?

When I hear money laundry lingo in TV crime-series, people sometimes fence stuff for so and so much "on the dollar". What does it actually mean? And where does the expression originate from?
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6answers
46k views

Origin of the expression “Get stoned”

My daughter asked me a question in the car the other day, and I didn't have an answer. She asked me about the origin of the expression "get stoned" (i.e. with regards to drug use), and how it might be ...
8
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1answer
40k views

Does “way too long” mean “a lot too long” or “slightly too long”? [closed]

Does way too long mean a lot too long, or slightly too long? Does way too stand for a huge or small measure?
7
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1answer
3k views

Meaning of “Buck ten, buck fifteen, tops”

You get a look at him? Little thing. Buck ten, buck fifteen, tops. Maybe he’s Filipino. The above sentences are in the movie Mr and Mrs Smith. Could you pls explain the meaning of the ...
7
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2answers
4k views

Origin of “blimey”

According to Etymonline: (It is also used in excitement.) blimey by 1889, probably a corruption of (God) blind me! First attested in a slang dictionary which defines it as "an apparently ...
6
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4answers
792 views

Meaning of Jo's dialog in Chapter 16 of Bleak House

A portion of chapter 16 of Dickens' Bleak House is shown below. Jo attends closely while the words are being spoken; [...] and nods his ragged head. "I'm fly," says Jo. "But fen larks, you ...
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2answers
50k views

Origin of “s--t eating grin”

What is the origin of the phrase shit eating grin? How did it come to mean showing smugness or self-satisfaction of an individual's actions?
6
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8answers
39k views

What's the origin of “throwing someone under the bus”?

What's the origin of the phrase "to throw someone under the bus" or "so-and-so threw me under the bus?" (in the sense of betrayal)? It seems like a very specific phrase not to come from some specific ...
6
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1answer
32k views

Nerd vs. Geek vs. Dork [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Which term correctly identifies those who enjoy programming/technology: “geek” or “nerd”? I'm somewhat perplexed on the usages of these terms. Most references appear an ...
6
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6answers
2k views

Why is taking a side street called a “rat run”?

I stumbled upon this expression for the first time while doing some research for an answer, and I have to admit I love it! An explanation of rat running/ a rat run is as follows "Rat running/ A ...
4
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3answers
827 views

Is there a name for the kind of sounds commonly found in profanities?

Fuck. Shit. Bitch. Cunt. I remember reading somewhere -- a very long time ago -- that these "hard" sounds are virtually necessary in profanities. The explanation I roughly remember is that because ...
4
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5answers
24k views

What do you call someone who solves puzzles?

What is a term or name for someone who is very adept at solving puzzles or situations that require though processing and logic. I ran across this question, however this only deals with crossword ...
2
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4answers
763 views

Alternative to the idiomatic phrase “highway robbery”

I was wondering whether there were any other alternatives to the phrase "highway robbery". I am trying to say the same thing in a light-hearted, but not too casual way.
0
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1answer
2k views

Calculus vs calculation

It is becoming more popular on American talk shows to say "calculus" instead of "calculation." To my mind, calculus is either a branch of Mathematics or a stone like in the gall bladder. Any comments?
20
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3answers
23k views

What does “packing heat” mean?

I believe it means “to carry a weapon”, but I would also like the phrase origins, if possible. So the full question is: What is the meaning of the phrase “packing heat” and what are its origins?
19
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4answers
46k views

Why is a bathroom sometimes called a “john”?

"John" is sometimes used as slang for a bathroom or a toilet. I'm curious, what is the origin of this usage?
16
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7answers
80k views

How to spell “the youzhe” as in the abbreviation of “the usual”

The usual is a common reply to what will you order? or what are you up to?. It is often abbreviated, in Canada, to the first syllable of usual, as in the youzhe. How would you spell this abbreviation? ...
14
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5answers
20k views

Is “embiggen” considered a formal or slang word?

If my memory serves me correctly, I first encountered the word embiggen a year or so ago. I thought it seemed odd, but in context, the meaning was quite obvious. Since that time I've seen this word ...
11
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6answers
2k views

Is there an enhancing, slangish word to put after statements, like the Norwegian slang word “ass”?

I’m making subtitles for a Norwegian TV show, and there is a very common slang word in Norwegian called ass. (Yeah, never mind the English meaning of that, it’s not pronounced the same.) The etymology ...
11
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5answers
5k views

Are Pounds Sterling referred to as squid (in addition to quid)

Commonly pounds are called quid, but I've come across references to pounds as squid Is that a typo or actually a common usage? Example from Football forums: It is believed they have offered ...