46 posts tagged with slang and language.
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Slang phrases (and where you heard them) for u-turn?

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]
posted by rachelpapers on Sep 23, 2015 - 63 answers

"young lady"

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.
posted by mmiddle on Feb 25, 2014 - 30 answers

Help me figure out the origin of this Italian-American slang word

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]
posted by Thin Lizzy on Feb 1, 2014 - 29 answers

How is the jargon in Shadowrun translated in other languages?

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?
posted by curious nu on Jul 26, 2013 - 4 answers

Words in non-English languages that look English but really aren't?

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]
posted by ethnomethodologist on Jul 14, 2013 - 38 answers

"Hosed" etymology - When did this phrase come into use?

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?
posted by juniperesque on May 17, 2013 - 17 answers

Hokis - Armenian slang?

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.
posted by jitterbug perfume on Feb 3, 2013 - 5 answers


What is the etymology of British nicknames ending in -zza/-zzer? [more inside]
posted by catlet on Nov 30, 2012 - 21 answers

Me talk pretty one day?

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]
posted by Deathalicious on May 22, 2012 - 18 answers

Must I Holler? Must I Shake 'Em On Down?

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]
posted by mreleganza on Feb 21, 2012 - 5 answers

Maybe We Can Eventually Make Language A Complete Impediment To Understanding.

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]
posted by cmoj on Aug 8, 2011 - 10 answers

I deserve to ask a question because I paid my $5.

What does it mean to "deserve" something? [more inside]
posted by Pastor of Muppets on Jun 16, 2011 - 36 answers

Readin' time's here!

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]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 23, 2011 - 30 answers

What does "FER-MAY-GHEN" mean?

German speakers, please tell me what this word means (and how it's actually spelled). [more inside]
posted by Srudolph on Feb 19, 2011 - 29 answers

Do Yhoo Knoww Thee Answerrr?

Whyy Do Teenagerss on Facebook An Bebo Typee Likee Thiss? Where did it come from? Here's an example. [more inside]
posted by mippy on Dec 3, 2010 - 66 answers

Meaning of "pochée" in context of japanese pattern book

[JapaneseLanguageIdiomFilter] What might "Pochée" mean in the context of a japanese language sewing book? [more inside]
posted by Rube R. Nekker on Jul 23, 2010 - 4 answers

Ivy Jivey

A Princetonian character in The Dud Avocado (set in Paris in the 50s) is described as saying mostly "zop zop". Was this a real thing? Part of ivy/preppy or Paris-based emigrant slang? Part of a larger lexicon of nonsense? No one in the novel (thus far) seems to think it remarkable. [more inside]
posted by kenko on Mar 25, 2010 - 10 answers


What slang words have gone out of date within the past 10 years or so? [more inside]
posted by naju on Mar 7, 2010 - 82 answers

How did "sugar" come to mean "diabetes"?

So what do you know about "sugar", "sugar diabetes", or "the sugar" being used as synonyms for "diabetes"? And how did that meaning come to be, exactly? [more inside]
posted by skoosh on Mar 6, 2010 - 32 answers

Billions and billions

Given that Federal bailout monies are being tossed around to banks like sacks of rice from an aid truck, are there any emergent slang terms for one billion dollars? [more inside]
posted by Burhanistan on Jan 15, 2010 - 14 answers

Affirmative interjection: "right?"

I've noticed an informal language convention, usually among younger people, but not always. It's a kind of affirmative interjection: "Right?". For example:

Me: I'll be glad when this heat wave ends.
Interlocutor: Right? (variation: "I know, right?")

My question: Does this type of expression have a name? I initially filed it with tag questions like "innit", but it's not really a question, it's more like "totally!" with a high rising terminal. Bonus points for any links to discussion of this particular expression; a casual search at Language Log yielded nothing.
posted by everichon on Sep 1, 2009 - 33 answers

What does "pea green pink Irish Catholic" mean?

"Pea green pink Irish Catholic" - what, if anything, does this phrase mean and/or refer to? [more inside]
posted by MaudB on Jun 24, 2009 - 17 answers

What does 'binned' mean?

What does 'binned' mean in UK slang? [more inside]
posted by coryinabox on Apr 15, 2009 - 25 answers

I find the nature of this technique Quite Intriguing.

What's the deal with Sarcastic Caps? You know The Kind I Mean. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 2, 2008 - 26 answers

When did you need to get off my lawn?

What is the origin of the phrase "[you] damn kids get off my lawn!" [more inside]
posted by epersonae on Oct 17, 2008 - 21 answers

Is "shonk" antisemitic?

Is or was the word "shonky" antisemitic? [more inside]
posted by Fiasco da Gama on Jul 15, 2008 - 13 answers

Is "bonzer" bonzer?

To bonzer or not to bonzer, that is the question for our Aussie MeFites. [more inside]
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson on May 13, 2008 - 31 answers

Etymology of the term 'lunch out', ie 'freak out'?

Can anyone tell me the etymology of the term "lunch out," meaning 'to freak out'? [more inside]
posted by toomuchkatherine on Jan 9, 2008 - 8 answers

Big Willie Style's all in it

Contemporary pop culture term equivalent, in both meaning and ridiculousness, to "getting jiggy wit it"? [more inside]
posted by Robot Johnny on Aug 13, 2007 - 18 answers

Feminist lingo or just an abbreviation?

The abbreviation "yr" as a substitute for "your": is this a feminist thing? Where did it come from? [more inside]
posted by Madamina on Jul 23, 2007 - 52 answers

ItalianFilter: what does "Si fa'icche si vole" mean..?

So, how does the Italian phrase "Si fa'icche si vole" translate into English..? [more inside]
posted by angry.polymath on Jul 5, 2007 - 7 answers

Photographic Memory pre Photography

What term was used to describe a person with a photographic memory prior photography? [more inside]
posted by brookeb on May 20, 2007 - 18 answers

Anyways, I am just curious.

Why do some people say "anyways"? I notice Mayor Bloomberg always says it. He may be the mayor of NYC and a billionaire media mogul, but he sounds like he never opened a book in his life. I know he's from Boston, but I don't believe this is a regional thing.
posted by wfc123 on Feb 9, 2007 - 32 answers

No balls for me, thank you.

I think telling women to "get some balls" is offensive. Am I too sensitive? [more inside]
posted by Secret Life of Gravy on Jan 21, 2007 - 116 answers

Migrating Slang

Here in the far-flung reaches of the English-speaking world, we're constantly being told our local language is being taken over by "American Slang". But does it go the other way? Are there any British / Australian / New Zealand or wherever phrases and words that have become commonly used by people in North America recently? Do Brooklynites ever exclaim "Crikey!" or "Bloody Hell!"?
posted by Jimbob on Oct 27, 2006 - 50 answers

What's the deal with the popularity of Moonbat?

Explain to me the popularity of "moonbat." [more inside]
posted by Astro Zombie on May 24, 2006 - 20 answers

European phrase?

I've noticed when reading European books translated into English, the turn of phrase "Do sex" or "sex each other" etc. Is this an accurate translation, or is it a watered down translation for the tradionial f-word in American English? British books sometimes feature it as well. Are both phrases used in Europe? Is there a difference in meaning?
posted by rainbaby on Feb 16, 2006 - 19 answers

Colorful language from the American South

My grandfather was from the Deep South, and his speech was very colorful. He used the word "epizootics" to describe any kind of flu-like illness. I realize this is a real word, used to describe epidemics in the animal world. But he pronounced it differently, "eppa-zoo-tiks." Or sometimes he said "eppa-zoo-ti-kus." Has anyone else heard this before? Would this be considered slang, or an idiom, etc? [more inside]
posted by shifafa on Jan 12, 2006 - 12 answers

What's the etymology of "gully"?

What's the etymology of "gully" (as in "street", "badass")? Thanks.
posted by matteo on Dec 4, 2005 - 11 answers

Starlight == Medic to the Brits?

Is "Starlight" some form of British slang for "Medic"? [more inside]
posted by disillusioned on Nov 29, 2005 - 15 answers

What's a male "Betty" called?

My friend DJ just got a snowboard with a pretty girl painted on it, and she's named it "Betty" after the surfer slang for a good-looking woman. What's the equivalent to "Betty" in surfer lingo to describe a good-looking man?
posted by Mozai on Nov 7, 2005 - 16 answers

Is there a good online dictionary of idioms and phrases?

Is there a good online dictionary of idioms and phrases? I know there are online thesauri, but they don't have the colorful expressions from the original Roget's I.
posted by inksyndicate on Dec 16, 2004 - 6 answers

Deciphering Arabic

LanguageFilter: Any Arabic speakers here? I'm trying to decipher an Arabic phrase: "Baashake ya halo." I might have spelled it wrong, but I know it's not a common Arabic phrase so much as it is slang. Any ideas?
posted by symphonik on Dec 12, 2004 - 9 answers

Public Enemy lyrics

I'm listening to some Public Enemy MP3s and it has ocurred to me that I don't know, nor have I ever known, what "cold lampin'" means or refers to. Anyone?
posted by archimago on Jul 15, 2004 - 12 answers

What's the origin of the phrase "bleeding deacons"?

Could someone please explain what the phrase "bleeding deacons" means ?
posted by sgt.serenity on Apr 14, 2004 - 13 answers

What was this Polish word my grandmother used?

anyone speak polish? my grandmother used to have a word (most likely not a nice one) for what my irish grandfather referred to as "chippies"--young women, tight pants, high heels, bright lipstick. not *bad* girls, per se, but not nice ones either. i'm thinking it might have been "cichodjka" (more or less pronounced: tsyhodyeh'kah) but my aunt says no, that doesn't sound right to her.
posted by crush-onastick on Jan 20, 2004 - 7 answers

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