Okay, so I'm working on new subtitles for Robert Aldrich's noir classic "Kiss Me Deadly". Around 50 minutes in, Mike Hammer drops in on a character named Carl Evello, and encounters a sexy girl who introduces herself like this:
"I'm Friday. I'd have been named Tuesday if I'd been born on Tuesday. I'm Carl's sister. Half sister. Same mother, different father."The thing is, while her voice said "father", her lips were obviously pronouncing a different word, that was later overdubbed as "father". [more inside]
My wife and I are really, really hoping to name our (possible girl) baby "Zora"--as in Zora Neale Hurston. However, we recently learned that "zorra" is a slang term in Spanish roughly equivalent to b**** or c***. We live in an area with a sizable Spanish-speaking population. So, two questions: (1) Are we interpreting the term correctly? (2) How widespread is its use?
Hi, I'm interested in any slang words or phrases you have heard for making a u-turn. I'll share the two I've heard; I'd love to hear what you have heard. [more inside]
You know that game when you grab someone's forearm with both hands and twist back and forth in opposite directions? In Swedish it's called "tusennålar" - thousand needles. My kid asked me what it's called in English and I hesitated to tell him "Indian burn" which is what I remember. Surely there is something better? Help me out please.
When did the phrase "Garbage People/Person" become popular? [more inside]
Many years ago I read this William Safire article in which he claims that "shwench" is 1985 slang for a female college first-year. Did anyone ever actually use this completely bogus-sounding slang term? [more inside]
In words like normcore, krishnacore, and all the words on this list, what do you think the meaning of the suffix -core is? What do you think people are trying to signify by adding -core to the end of words? Also, can you think of other examples of words that end in -core? [more inside]
Has Roberto Bolaño ever used Chilean slang in his writings? [more inside]
What is the origin of the phrase 'Suck it up, buttercup'?
How and when did referring to a woman as a "number" become a euphemism?
I'm curious as to how writers of fiction or television (specifically writers who are not from the depicted region or culture or economic class themselves) of shows like The Wire or Deadwood or The Sopranos, are able to write a wide range of dialects, vernaculars and idioms so successfully.* [more inside]
What are teenagers, and college-age kids calling each other when they are trying to flirt? [more inside]
In Mexican telenovela Qué Pobres Tan Ricos, there is a character (Leonardo Ruiz Palacios) who often uses some sort of slang that involves adding "uqui" to the end of certain words. For example, he'll say "amiguqui" instead of "amigo." What does this suffix signify? [more inside]
Is there any explanation for how the phrase "young lady," used in addressing an obviously older woman, became popular? I never hear it used in addressing girls anymore, but only as a lame attempt to be friendly to an older woman. It's as if the speaker is trying to make you feel better about the fact that you are not a young lady; it is so much nicer to hear the respectful yet affectionate Southern colloquialism "miss lady." Ditto for the phrase "graduate college': when and why did even respected news sources drop the "from" ("graduate from college")? Thanks for listening.
What did my Yiddische mother mean when she said, "You can have [reasonable alternative choice 1] or you can have [reasonable alternative 2] or you can have 'kakebetchke with hindigzumen'" ? In that context, what is "kakebetchke with hindigzumen"? [more inside]
I'm trying to figure out the origin of a particular Italian slang word my family uses that means "gaudy, tacky or overdone". [more inside]
I'm looking for examples of real-world (that is, non-Internet) usage of new slang shortenings like "totes", "ridic", "adorbs" or "awks". TV shows where characters use such words would be great, especially if the episodes are available online. I've found Youtube videos where people talk about the phenomenon, but I'd prefer non-ironic, spontaneous examples.
Is "tee-tee" for urination a regional or ethnic thing? [more inside]
Kind of curious about this. I know Shadowrun does/did well in Germany, and has/had at least a nominal presence in Japan. One of the (for good or ill) characteristics of the setting is the jargon and street slang. How are these translated into other languages? What are some examples?
I'm fascinated by the efforts of Deutsche Bahn to get rid of the "Bahnglisch" that litters the service with expressions that look English but aren't the sort of expressions that any native speaker of English would actually use, and it occurred to me that this sort of thing is common in German outside of DB, and probably all over the world. [more inside]
ForeignLanguagesFilter: Looking for a name for a new project. It'll be a local 'treasure-hunting' sort of app for different cities around the world. What's some slang you know for 'treasure hunt', looking for something special, or the like? [more inside]
I've been thinking of starting a small, single-serving Web site that offers a very specific service for $10. I was thinking about calling it “Sawbuck [Service]”. How much confidence should I have that the word "sawbuck" will be understood by most casual readers as meaning $10?
What is the etymology of "ratchet," a slang term with a negative meaning? [more inside]
At what point did the phrase "I'm/you're/we're hosed" come into play in the US vernacular? Earliest record? From pop culture somewhere? Are there regions of the US that did not ever use this turn of phrase?
What would it have meant in the mid-twentieth century to "shake another man's jolt"? [more inside]
I'm learning Swedish in advance of a trip to Stockholm to visit friends this summer. (Yes, I know Swedes generally speak excellent English; learning languages is a hobby.) When I'm there, I'd like to pepper some of my conversations with colorful sayings, slang, and idioms. Kan du hjälpa mig? [more inside]
Trying to find out more about what the word Hokis, which seems to be a slang term, means in Armenian. Not very googlable, or not for me. Any help would be much appreciated.
My grandmother (born in 1905) used to refer to herself as the "Oy-yey Lady" (I'm spelling phonetically here) every time she had to clean up something particularly gross (usually animal related). I'm wondering if it's a real word or something she made up. [more inside]
What is the etymology of British nicknames ending in -zza/-zzer? [more inside]
Is/Are there term(s) to describe the threshold at which a person can see their own breath outside ? [more inside]
I'm looking for an online dictionary (or even a simple list) of zoot-suit (Pachuco) culture/era slang. My Google-fu is weak. Help? [more inside]
What is the name for the phenomenon of creepy guys being overly protective of women they barely know on the internet, in particular on facebook? [more inside]
Is "Johnny-on-the-spot" a common nickname for a portable toilet throughout the US, or it it just a regionalism? [more inside]
Canarian Spanish slang filter: On a recent trip to rural Tenerife I found some graffiti on a water pumping station wall. It reads: "Tierra Guanche - only local - no nos hacemos responsables de posibles tolmasos o vignazos" 'Tierra Guanche - only local" seems pretty clear; a (possibly non-literal) identification with the Guanche (pre-Castilian indigenous people of Tenerife) and a comment on tourism or immigration. My rudimentary Spanish says the rest runs "we take no responsibility for possible ..." but 'tolmasos' and 'vignazos' seem to be local slang. Does anyone know what they mean? There's a photo (not mine) here.
My informal English is boring! I'd like to make it more interesting by incorporating new and/or local (to Philadelphia) linguistic features to it. [more inside]
Past and current university students: Did you ever use the specific term "weeder class" during your academic career? If so, where did you study? [more inside]
Looking for examples of late 20th century slang/lingo has fallen out of common usage? [more inside]
Calling Bluesologists and/or Language Historians: Want interpretations of the meaning of a song, or more specifically, a specific phrase used in that song. [more inside]
"Ladies with their 'susans' showing?" My google-fu failed this one! What is a susan, if it's not lazy and not an actual person's name? [more inside]
I'm working on a comic that's a parody of detective noir comics. I want the most obscure, antiquated, and obfuscating slang from early 20th century America. [more inside]
In recent coverage of the Mark Duggan shooting and subsequent riots, I've seen a few instances of people referring to the police as "feds". Obviously in Britain there are no actual feds since there's no federal government, so what's the story here? [more inside]
What does it mean to "deserve" something? [more inside]
Have you heard "Hello, Pete!" used as an exclamation? [more inside]
I'm looking for a specific mashup, and suggestions for similar mashups. [more inside]
I'm trying to gather a list of regional pejoratives for cities and suburbs. Like here in Oregon USA, we refer to Springfield as "Springtucky," and Clackamas as "Clackansas". In Denver they call Aurora "Saudi Aurora" or "Guadalaurora". "Spocompton" is a common epithet for Spokane, WA. [more inside]
Do you know of any written stories, fiction or otherwise (but not movies) with language usage similar to that in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome or The Dark Knight Returns? Example of what I'm looking for are after the break. [more inside]
Are there any slang terms for the cervix?
German speakers, please tell me what this word means (and how it's actually spelled). [more inside]
Whyy Do Teenagerss on Facebook An Bebo Typee Likee Thiss? Where did it come from? Here's an example. [more inside]