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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7
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4answers
5k views

Is there a non-colloquial equivalent term for “cool”?

As I get older (into my 30s) the less I feel like using youthful slang, and I take extra pride in using professional English. But I can't think of a word that is universally equivalent to the ...
7
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3answers
8k views

Is “wtf” an abbreviation or a euphemism?

In the English language we have a lot of euphemisms for profanities that take the form of abbreviations; for instance, people may say the f-word or the s-word if they don't want to say fuck and shit. ...
7
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5answers
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Is there a derogatory word for “mobile phone” (cellphone) similar to “idiot box” for a television?

My father called our TV "the idiot box". Implying either that it had idiots on it, was targeted at idiots, or you were an idiot if you watched it too much. Is there any similar term in use but ...
7
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1answer
2k views

What is the origin of the idiom “Hong Kong dog”?

Does anybody know the origin of the idiom "Hong Kong dog"? EDIT: I'm more interested in how the idiom came into being rather than when it first appeared in mainstream media. Something like the guess ...
7
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2answers
71k views

Origin of “deez nuts”

I really hate to ask this one, but... When I was a child, some thirty plus years ago, there was a popular juvenile game where you would try to trick a friend into asking a question that could be ...
7
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2answers
16k views

Is it derogatory or offensive to call a detective a dick?

The word dick is generally considered offensive and is marked so in dictionaries. But there is also a meaning of detective that it carries. I usually find no derog indication for this meaning. Is it ...
7
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2answers
299 views

Is it mere slang to use the verb 'stick' in place of 'versus', as in 'Us three 'stick' you four'?

When I was a child (well over a half-century ago) in Norfolk, we would, when playing football talk of 'Team A stick Team B. When arranging sides informally we would say 'Us three stick the rest of you,...
6
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2answers
905 views

Origin of “to be into [someone] for [a sum of money]”

"He's into me for fifty quid" means "He owes me fifty pounds". It's common enough in the UK, but I'm fairly sure I've heard it in American movies too (bucks or grand there, not quid, obviously), so I ...
6
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4answers
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Word for a “Male Mistress”

Is the male version of a mistress, a mastress? It's a term I would use, but I don't know if it is just slang or if it is formal... P.S. I mean a male that sleeps with a married woman (love, not ...
6
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3answers
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Why is German anti-aircraft fire called “Archibald”?

Reading The War Illustrated (January 30th, 1915 number), I came across this passage:- At this speed they offer a comparatively stationary mark for the German anti-aircraft guns, always known as ...
6
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4answers
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Origins of the current meaning of stick-in-the-mud

A quick web search shows several pertinent results for the etymology of the phrase stick in the mud, for example http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/stick-in-the-mud.html, which indicates early usages ...
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9answers
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Can the word “special” have a negative connotation?

I am involved with a group that works with children aged about 7, who've been through some difficult things. One of the sessions focuses on how "every one of you is special". Recently, somebody's ...
6
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4answers
25k views

What is the origin of “have a gander”? (When meaning “look”.)

The phrase "have a gander" meaning "have a look" is common in the UK. (Also can be "have a goosey gander" or just "have a goosey".) What is the origin/meaning of this phrase? I always assumed that it ...
5
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2answers
877 views

What is the students' jargon or abbreviation for assignments made up of “only” data downloaded from the internet in English? (If it exists)

Japanese students call a report and essay made up by only putting data downloaded from the Internet e.g. passages from Wikipedia put together without including their own thoughts or creative ideas, a ...
5
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3answers
8k views

Where did the phrase “shut up” as an expression of disbelief or amazement originate?

I recently heard shut up used according to this definition in Urban dictionary. shut·up (shuht-up) --interjection 1. An expression of disbelief. 2. Amazement; astonishment. I've only ...
5
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1answer
7k views

Where does the word “spliff” come from?

Neither the OED and Etymonline has any answer to the etymology of the word. The latter does suggest it may have an origin in the Caribbean, but offers nothing better. The first citation is from 1936 ...
5
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2answers
9k views

When did informal use of the word “like” become prevalent? [duplicate]

When and why did the word "like" come to be used to introduce an action, or even as a meaningless filler word, e.g. "He was like, [action or quote]."
5
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2answers
2k views

Origin of “not for quids” phrase

At various times I've supposed the informal Australian phrase “not for quids” (which apparently is analogous to “not at any price”) derives from quid, which refers to sovereigns, or guineas. At ...
5
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2answers
957 views

Meaning and etymology of “down with”

I've searched a lot and found out that down with as a slang phrase means "being in an agreement with something". On the other hand, I know that it also means "death upon something". So in a sentence ...
5
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1answer
2k views

What does 'mothercanuckers' mean?

First of all, sorry if it is offensive (I think it somewhat is). I was going through http://bleacherreport.com/articles/424590-the-funniest-promos-and-moments-in-wwe-history#page/20 The Rock ...
5
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2answers
618 views

Etymology/history of “dib-dob” as military slang for foreign currency

Dib-dob is used as a generic term for foreign currency (I've come across it for Euros and Dollars). I've recently heard this used by some RAF types, and had heard it before, from someone presumably ...
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0answers
6k views

How should one use “awesome” today? [closed]

Lately I have been hearing the word awesome used in many places. I'm trying to figure out how it is used. It has already been discussed on this site a bit. See "When I'm sad, I stop being ...
5
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3answers
11k views

Cut the lights on

This expression is commonly used in the southern United States from Oklahoma to Virginia, and is patently illogical, and yet fails to inspire any consternation or lack of semantic connection. On a ...
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2answers
7k views

Meaning of “sup my homeslice? harvard jv field hockey is da bomb…”

I completely don't understand what this star's line means, even though the words are simple. sup my homeslice? harvard jv field hockey is da bomb... What's homeslice? What does da mean?
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2answers
809 views

What do these slang phrases in Dahl's “The BFG” mean?

I am studying Roald Dahl's The BFG and I am confused by a couple of passages. Context: The Big Friendly Giant suggests that the soldiers leave the helicopter and then drive Jeeps to man-eating Giants'...
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3answers
2k views

When was “fo' sho'” first used in print, television, or music? Or, better yet, when was it standard southern slang?

I can only seem to find Urban Dictionary, et al. references, so I'm turning here for an answer. I know that "fo" ("for") and "sho" ("sure") are common southern dialect replacements, but a debate ...
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2answers
1k views

Where did the 1920s slang word “grungy” (meaning “envious”) originate, if the modern word “grungy” (meaning “dingy”) doesn't appear until 1965?

I've heard grungy used to mean envious in old motion pictures and books. Here is one reference, and there are several more on the internet. However, when I researched the etymology of the word grungy ...
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2answers
9k views

Would the slang version, yessir, of yes, sir, be deemed as derogatory, offensive, or simply disrespectful to someone your senior?

I use yessir as a slang form of yes, sir all the time. Is it even a word? Would the slang version, yessir, be deemed as derogatory, offensive, or simply disrespectful to someone your senior?
4
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1answer
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Where does the word “minge” come from?

The slang term minge in the sense of quim dates from the beginning of the 20th century. However, neither the OED nor Etymonline has any idea where it came from. Here are two of the OED’s citations: ...
4
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2answers
26k views

Etymology of 'ends' or 'the ends' and other current British/London slang

I'd like to know more about how 'ends' came to mean 'hometown' in current London slang. I have heard it used to mean money, which is an extension of mainstream use - means to an end, for one's own ...
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4answers
11k views

All up in my grill?

Is the phrase [all] up in $POSSESSIVE_PRONOUN grill which is synonymous with the figure of speech in one's face an automotive metaphor? If so, would it be more correct to spell the last ...
3
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3answers
2k views

London dialect usage

I found the following sentence in this article and was trying to understand it. I could get the meaning from the context, but I cannot deconstruct the sentence at all. They introduced pugnacity, ...
3
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2answers
340 views

What does “like a [expletive] wazoo” mean? [closed]

I was video-documenting on my cellphone like a goddamn wazoo. What does wazoo mean in that sentence? I googled it, and the results seemed to indicate wazoo means ass. Is that what it means in the ...
3
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1answer
3k views

“Definite ninety-nine” - UK English meaning

I've been browsing through older lyrics of Judas Priest songs, namely Rocka Rolla, which has the following lines in a verse: Barroom fighter Ten pint a nighter Definite ninety-nine ...
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3answers
2k views

Origin of “name happened” form: from “s*** happens” via “magic happens”?

There’s a form in current English Then <X> happened or <X> happened, where you transition the name of a thing (a person, a fictitious character, or object), to mean the dramatic ...
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2answers
2k views

Where did the phrase “put a sock in it” come from?

What are the origin and history of the phrase put a sock in it?
3
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3answers
1k views

Origin, history and precise meaning of “banger” in the US music industry

I recently heard the word banger used by a young man in Chicago to describe a catchy, up-beat song. Checking Green's Dictionary of Slang, I found a definition attested in 2016 that to my mind seems a ...
3
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5answers
385 views

What's the opposite of “last-minute (Christmas) shopping”?

The question is in the title. I'd like to know if there is an idiom or phrase used for someone who does not buy at the “last minute”, the hyperbolic expression is often used when purchasing gifts, ...
3
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4answers
11k views

What is the meaning of the vernacular “beasted”?

Is anyone familiar with the vernacular term "beasted", used as a verb? e.g. I beasted my exam. My colleague's teenaged son used this exact phrase in a text-message. And she had no idea whether ...
3
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1answer
6k views

When to use -Ites / Ians / Ish / An / Ni / Ese / Elsh / Er [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Are there any rules governing what we call people from different countries? I have some confusion regarding usage of suffixes such as -ites / -ians / -ish. For example: I ...
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3answers
9k views

Why do the words ducky and jake mean fine or satisfactory?

Even the Merriam-Webster dictionary acknowledges both ducky and jake as acceptable terms meaning fine or satisfactory and it dates the word ducky back to 1897 and jake to 1914. Does anyone know how ...
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3answers
12k views

What does “throw back” mean?

In this sentence: I've throw back a lot of orange juice. What does to “throw back (orange juice)” mean?
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2answers
2k views

Indirect, quoted speech: He's all

What does it mean, when someone is alluding to quoted speech, and says to be all something? Is this just slang? For example: "I'm all.. I don't think I'm gonna go". "And he's all.. I think you ...
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5answers
15k views

Origin of using “clocked” to mean “noticed”

The word "clocked" can be used to mean "noticed", as in: Bob: I'm gonna park here a minute. Did you see any traffic wardens about. Geoff: Actually, I clocked one down the road on my way up. ...
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4answers
2k views

What is “generation X” and “generation Y”?

Why are we called Generation Y? What's Generation X anyway? What about Baby Boomers?
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3answers
27k views

Is there a specific word or name that refers to someone who studies a lot but is not intelligent

I have heard this word in other languages. It refers (in the bad sense) to those persons who are really hard working, study a lot, memorize, but in fact do not have the intelligence knack. They are ...
2
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3answers
952 views

What English word can be used to describe someone indirectly helping you?

For Example, I want to date a girl but can't seem to get to meet her in order to ask her out. Then suddenly we get invited both to a party of a mutual friend who has no idea I want to date the girl. ...
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3answers
4k views

Night do? What does it mean?

I'm watching a TV show about midwife, two ladies are taking: A: next year I'm gonna work Christmas because I'm getting married in the new year. B: are you? Is that when it is? Am I coming to the ...
2
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2answers
11k views

What does the expression “rabbit-out-of-a-hat” mean? [duplicate]

I read this phrase on a guide for texts about mathematical logic, it says that this proof is “rabbit-out-of-a-hat”. What does this mean? Is it a slang expression? The exact sentence is: A ...
2
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1answer
25k views

classy sassy and a bit smart assy [closed]

classy sassy and a bit smart assy Can someone please explain the meaning of this?