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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16
votes
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
votes
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
votes
7answers
10k views

How did the slang meaning of “flog” come about?

I've searched multiple dictionaries and Etymonline but the only origin for "flog" that I can find is: 1670s, slang, perhaps a schoolboy shortening of L. flagellare "flagellate." This clearly ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

Did British chef Jamie Oliver redefine “pukka” in 1999?

Recently I've been watching cooking programmes: MasterChef Italia (addictive), MasterChef USA (awful), followed swiftly by Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares, and then onto Jamie Oliver's acclaimed The ...
11
votes
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 ...
11
votes
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 ...
9
votes
5answers
17k views

Where did the word “quim” come from?

Both the OED and Etymonline offer no clue as to origin of the slang term quim, meaning minge. The OED’s earliest citations are from the 18th, which isn’t quite as old as Adam, but has certainly been ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

Why would you write “ain't”? Isn't it a contraction only used in spoken English?

I often hear in English conversation or movies the contraction "ain't" (for "isn't"), but I am more surprised to see it in writing (and I am not referring to a novel, where I can understand its usage: ...
8
votes
5answers
4k 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 ...
8
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3answers
2k views

“Went for the deep cut”

I've done some searching but still can't fully understand this sentence. Can somebody explain to me?
8
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7answers
14k views

Word or idiom to describe someone who always tries to inflate his skills/properties/experiences when talking with others? [duplicate]

Is there a word or idiom to describe someone who is always trying to create a good impression when talking about himself? Someone who is always trying to show that he is better than others even if he ...
7
votes
2answers
40k views

Is “could've” or “should've” standard English?

As the title says — is "could've" or "should've" standard English or is it slang and should correctly be spelled "could have" and "should have"?
7
votes
3answers
3k views

Source and popularity of the recent slang word “cuck”

Recently, I started noticing the word cuck appearing in internet discussions as a pejorative. I first encountered the word after a news media discussion on the term cuckservative last year, which was ...
6
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5answers
5k views

Clarifying the usage of “hella”

The word hella has spread from the Southern California dialect to the point where most varieties of American English speaker (such as me in the Midwest) know that it exists and hear it used. I always ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

Etymology of the expression “make a larry”, i.e. turn left

Where I live (Canada) people sometimes say "hang a larry" or "make a larry" when they mean turn left, like when they're driving. I'm at a dinner party and we're trying to figure out where this ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Why do you suck at XYZ?

How bad is the usage of the word suck in English? Is this "bad boy" language or commonly used?
6
votes
5answers
732 views

J. Oliver's usage of the word 'bog'

I have a question about the usage of the word 'bog' in the following sentence: Bog standard scoops of ice cream etc I understand that the meaning is 'form'; nevertheless, this is the first time I ...
6
votes
1answer
85k views

“Cannabis” vs. “marijuana” vs. “weed”

I know all these words have the same meaning and refer to a kind of drug. Also, as far as I know, weed is slang for marijuana or cannabis. (Correct me if I’m wrong). What I do not understand is the ...
6
votes
1answer
227 views

Why do pet (animal) names in English tend to end in ē as a diminutive?

I counted, 46 / 100 of the most popular dog names end with an ē sound, and 5/10 of the most popular cat names in the UK end with an ē sound. ( 32/100 cat names from a broader but less accurate source )...
5
votes
3answers
362 views

Was “matchmaking” the equivalent of today's “shipping”?

Oh my goodness. I'm shipping Lupita and Trevor so much!!!! They are so beautiful together and irradiate such a good energy! Comment copied verbatim from YouTube. ‘Lupita’ is the Mexican-Kenyan actor, ...
5
votes
4answers
58k views

What's a word that can mean both “good” and “bad”? [closed]

I've recently read about a word that was defined both as "shockingly good" and "shockingly bad", but I can't seem to recall the word. Does anyone know what it is? As far as I can recall, it was a ...
5
votes
7answers
8k views

In what contexts would one use the slang word “minging” in British English?

I was watching a Youtube video on English accents, and in the middle of a Yorkshire one, I think, the author of the video used the word "minging", in what seemed to be an insult. So I have two ...
5
votes
2answers
12k views

History of the phrase “I was like..” or “I was all…”

When telling a story, it's near essential at some point to state what you said or felt. The younger generation uses phrases "I was like...", OR the similar "I was all...", to express a past state or ...
5
votes
2answers
36k views

Since when has “a hot minute” meant a long time?

The term a hot minute can be found all over blogs and in casual speech, meaning essentially, "a long time." The term is mostly slang, but seems to have become popular enough to appear on sites as ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Is “denormalized” a word?

I use it all the time since I work with databases, but every time I write it somewhere with spell check I get the squiggly line below it. I've seen other people spell it with an "s" instead of a "z" ...
4
votes
3answers
15k views

What is a plausible etymology of “dosh”, a British slang word for money?

Neither Wiktionary nor The Online Etymology Dictionary seem to know anything. UPDATED (October 25 2015) dosh ‎(uncountable) (Britain, slang) Money Etymology Unknown. ...
4
votes
2answers
39k views

Where did the slang usages of “cool” come from?

I see and hear two general slang usages of cool - one meaning great (illustrated by a and b below), and one meaning acceptable/okay (illustrated by c and d). The following are Dictionary.com's four (...
4
votes
4answers
8k views

What does the word “hacking” or “hacker” come from? [closed]

Is there a history behind the word "hacker" and "hacking"? Could it have anything to do with "hashing" i.e. using a hash function?
3
votes
1answer
78k views

Meaning of the slang Boo

The following paragraph is from the story of Billy, Sally, and Joe: Billy and Sally were inside a dark room. - Billy yelled "Boo" and scared Sally. Then, Joe came in. - Hey, boo, come over ...
3
votes
3answers
26k views

To give someone the 411

"To give someone the 411" is short for information but is this phrase common in the US and/or in Britain and is it still up to date or outdated?
3
votes
1answer
2k views

what is the origin of caricatured gangsters using “say?” to end sentences?

Here's an example: I also recall watching cartoon gangsters, from Looney Toons iirc using this. For the longest time I thought they were saying "see?" What is the origin of this postscript to ...
3
votes
3answers
890 views

Non-chess usage of “patzer”?

I've heard the word patzer used to describe an incompetent or amateurish chess player. Is it ever used in a non-chess context?
3
votes
2answers
5k views

Origin of an ethnic slur

The American Heritage Dictionary states that the origins of "sheeny," a pejorative slang word for a Jew, are unknown. As a Jew, I am interested in finding out where and when this word developed. Any ...
3
votes
3answers
32k views

How did the words “petting” and “necking” come to mean kissing with passion?

I'm sure most of you have heard "necking" to mean kissing with passion; however, before "necking" the popular word among American youth was "petting". From Flappers to Rappers: The Study of American ...
2
votes
8answers
51k views

How to define someone who does not like/want to get a job or do anything in life?

In Portuguese, my natural language, we have a lot of words to define this kind of people, like mandrião, calaceiro, calaça, indolente, malandro, etc. We have also lighter words like preguiçoso that is ...
2
votes
14answers
5k views

Word or phrase for a woman who shows up at events in gaudy outfits, garish make-up, and excessive jewelry?

Such person is usually - but not necessarily - upper-middle class. I'm looking for a noun or a noun-phrase but the words I've found so far (unpolished, inelegant, gauche, etc.) are adjectives and/or ...
14
votes
3answers
10k views

Where does the word “jism” come from?

Another word of mysterious origins of jism, in the sense of spunk. The OED mentions it is sometimes spelled jizz, and may even be the precursor word to jazz. But neither the OED nor Etymonline ...
14
votes
9answers
883 views

A non-straight route

In informal speech, how would you describe a bus that travels from point A to point B by passing through every part of the city instead of using the straight way? When you give someone an advice which ...
13
votes
3answers
67k views

Origin and variants of phrase: “let's blow this popsicle stand”

I'd like to know the origin and precursor or derivative variants of the phrase "let's blow this popsicle stand". Reliable, conclusive, source-supported, authoritative and consistent information about ...
12
votes
5answers
10k views

'Ours' meaning 'our home' - where is it used outside the UK, if anywhere?

In expressions like: Let's go back to ours and have some food. There's a party at ours on Friday. There's a bottle of brandy at yours, isn't there? 'ours' and 'yours' are synonyms for 'our/...
11
votes
2answers
7k views

Would sir like something for the weekend?

"Something for the weekend" is a euphemism heard in barber shops, when the above phrase is used to enquire of a customer whether he would like a packet of condoms. Does anyone know how this phrase ...
11
votes
6answers
20k views

Meaning of “to get stuffed”

What does the phrase to get stuffed mean in the following passage taken from my IELTS reading exercise? One of London Zoo’s recent advertisements caused me some irritation, so patently did it ...
10
votes
3answers
20k views

Where does the word “wankers” come from?

The term wanker is derived from the verb wank in the sense of to masturbate. However, neither the OED nor Etymonline can trace it further back than that: both claim it is of “obscure origin”, which ...
10
votes
3answers
18k views

Origin of “I can haz”?

I see some domain names have "icanhaz" in them. I think there must be some story behind it. Do you guys know?
10
votes
2answers
12k views

Why are pounds sterling called “knicker”?

I asked the price of an article the other day, and was told that it cost 120 knicker. This is a slang term for pounds sterling that always appears in the singular. I have failed find any reason why ...
10
votes
4answers
14k views

What is the origin of “breaking bad”?

Wiktionary gives the meaning of "break bad" but does not mention about the origin: 1. (colloquial, of an event or of one's fortunes) To go wrong; to go downhill. 2. (colloquial, chiefly ...
10
votes
5answers
34k views

What does ‘play a blinder’ mean? Is it a popular phrase?

I came across the phrase ‘played a blinder’ in the following paragraph of the New York Times’ December 12 article, titled “British Euro Farce,” dealing with British Prime Minister David Cameron’s veto ...
10
votes
1answer
5k views

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, ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Why did Jitney become slang for nickel?

According to Merriam-Webster, jitney is slang for nickel: Jitneys weren't worth a dime—just a nickel. In the early 1900s, jitney was slang for "nickel," but it wasn't long before the term was ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Origin and scope of “cruft”

I just had to look up "cruft" (jargon for software or hardware that is of poor quality), as used in a comment to an earlier question. But I can't find any details of etymology, and I don't know how ...