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.
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]
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]
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?
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.
What is the etymology of British nicknames ending in -zza/-zzer? [more inside]
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]
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]
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]
What does it mean to "deserve" something? [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]
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]
[JapaneseLanguageIdiomFilter] What might "Pochée" mean in the context of a japanese language sewing book? [more inside]
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]
What slang words have gone out of date within the past 10 years or so? [more inside]
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]
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]
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.
"Pea green pink Irish Catholic" - what, if anything, does this phrase mean and/or refer to? [more inside]
What does 'binned' mean in UK slang? [more inside]
What's the deal with Sarcastic Caps? You know The Kind I Mean. [more inside]
What is the origin of the phrase "[you] damn kids get off my lawn!" [more inside]
Is or was the word "shonky" antisemitic? [more inside]
To bonzer or not to bonzer, that is the question for our Aussie MeFites. [more inside]
Can anyone tell me the etymology of the term "lunch out," meaning 'to freak out'? [more inside]
Contemporary pop culture term equivalent, in both meaning and ridiculousness, to "getting jiggy wit it"? [more inside]
The abbreviation "yr" as a substitute for "your": is this a feminist thing? Where did it come from? [more inside]
So, how does the Italian phrase "Si fa'icche si vole" translate into English..? [more inside]
What term was used to describe a person with a photographic memory prior photography? [more inside]
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.
I think telling women to "get some balls" is offensive. Am I too sensitive? [more inside]
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!"?
Explain to me the popularity of "moonbat." [more inside]
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?
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]
What's the etymology of "gully" (as in "street", "badass")? Thanks.
Is "Starlight" some form of British slang for "Medic"? [more inside]
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?
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.
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?
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?
Could someone please explain what the phrase "bleeding deacons" means ?
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.