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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
German speakers, please tell me what this word means (and how it's actually spelled). [more inside]
posted by Srudolph
on Feb 19, 2011 -
[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 -
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 -
What slang words have gone out of date within the past 10 years or so? [more inside]
posted by naju
on Mar 7, 2010 -
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 -
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 -
I've noticed an informal language convention, usually among younger people, but not always. It's a kind of affirmative interjection: "Right?".
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 -
"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 -
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 -
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 -
What term was used to describe a person with a photographic memory prior photography? [more inside]
posted by brookeb
on May 20, 2007 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
What's the etymology of "gully" (as in "street", "badass")? Thanks.
posted by matteo
on Dec 4, 2005 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
Could someone please explain what the phrase "bleeding deacons" means ?
posted by sgt.serenity
on Apr 14, 2004 -
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 -