Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 513





A & C Black 앫 London


First published in Great Britain 1990

Paperback published 1991
Second edition published 1997
Paperback published 1999
Third edition published 2005
This paperback edition published 2007

A & C Black Publishers Ltd

38 Soho Square, London W1D 3HB

© Tony Thorne 1990, 1997, 2005, 2007

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a

retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the
permission of the publishers.

A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN-10 0 7136 7529 2

ISBN-13 978 0 7136 7592 0
eISBN-13: 978-1-4081-0220-6
ISBN-10 0 7136 7529 2

Text production and proofreading

ISBN-13 978 0 7136 7592 0

Heather Bateman, Emma Harris, Katy McAdam, Rebecca McKee

This book is produced using paper that is made from wood grown in managed,
sustainable forests. It is natural, renewable and recyclable. The logging and
manufacturing processes conform to the environmental regulations of the country
of origin.

Text typeset by A & C Black Publishers

Printed in Spain by GraphyCems
Slang and Society
Slang derives much of its power from the fact that it is clandestine,
forbidden or generally disapproved of. So what happens once it is
accepted, even in some cases embraced and promoted by
‘mainstream’ society? Not long ago the Oxford English Dictionary
characterised slang as ‘low and disreputable’; in the late 1970s the
pioneering sociolinguist Michael Halliday used the phrase
‘anti-language’ in his study of the speech of criminals and
marginals. For him, theirs was an interestingly ‘pathological’ form
of language. The first description now sounds quaintly outmoded,
while the second could be applied to street gangs – today’s posses,
massives or sets – and their secret codes. Both, however, involve
value judgements which are essentially social and not linguistic.
Attitudes to the use of language have changed profoundly over the
last three decades, and the perceived boundaries between
‘standard’ and ‘unorthodox’ are becoming increasingly ‘fuzzy’.
Today, tabloid newspapers in the UK such as the Sun, the Star
and the Sport regularly use slang in headlines and articles, while
the quality press use slang sparingly – usually for special effect –
but the assumption remains that readers have a working knowledge
of common slang terms.
There has been surprisingly little criticism of the use of slang (as
opposed to the ‘swear-words’ and supposed grammatical errors
which constantly irritate British readers and listeners). In the last
five years I have only come across one instance, reported in local
and national newspapers, of a south London secondary school head
publicly warning pupils of the dangers of using slang in their
conversation. The school in question has pupils from many ethnic
and linguistic groups – which may give a clue as to why young
people might opt for slang as a medium of communication and not
just an embellishment. Perhaps they have come to see slang as
their own common language, in which they are fluent, and which
may therefore take precedence over the other varieties in their
repertoires (Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Creole, ‘Cockney’, ‘textbook
English’ etc.). The use of slang forms part of what linguists call
code-switching or style-shifting – the mixing of and moving between
different languages, dialects or codes. This might be done for ease

of communication, for clarification, to show solidarity or – a reason

sometimes overlooked by analysts – just for fun.
In the US, on the other hand, slang and so-called ‘vernacular’
use is still highly controversial. This stems in part from the contest
between conservatism and ‘multiculturalism’ or ‘liberalism’, which
in the late 1990s focused on the stalled attempt to establish
so-called ‘ebonics’, or black spoken English, as a linguistic variety
with official status. Recently, some North American academic
linguists and their students have joined with parents, teachers and
adult professionals to lament the corrupting and destabilising effect
of slang on young peoples’ ability to manage in formal settings such
as examinations or job interviews. Their fears can’t simply be
dismissed, but they seem to be based on a very rigid notion of
language’s potential. The key to effective communication is what
language teachers term ‘appropriacy’; knowing what kind of English
to use in a particular situation, rather than clinging to rigid ideas of
what is universally right and proper.
In my experience, most slang users are not inarticulate dupes
but quite the opposite: they are very adept at playing with
appropriacy, skilfully manipulating ironically formal, mock-
technical and standard styles of speech as well as slang. If
prompted they can often provide insights into their own language
quite as impressive as those hazarded by professional linguists or
sociologists. For this reason, for the first time in the Dictionary of
Contemporary Slang I have sometimes included, in their own words,
users’ definitions of terms and comments on their usage as well as
the direct quotations – ‘citations’ – contributed by them and
featured in previous editions.

Slang versus ‘Proper English’

Slang is language deliberately selected for its striking informality
and is consciously used in preference to ‘proper’ speech (or, more
rarely, writing). It usually originates in small social groups. For
these groups, it is a private code that embodies their particular
values and behaviour and reinforces their exclusivity. Slang
expressions may escape the originating group and become more
widely used, and although slang draws much of its effect from its
novelty, some terms (booze, punk, cool) may stay in the language
for many years.

This may seem a longwinded definition of a language variety that

most people think they recognise, but the neater descriptions to be
found in collections of quotations, such as G.K. Chesterton’s ‘all
slang is metaphor’ (much is but not all) or Ambrose Bierce’s ironic
‘the grunt of the human hog…’ don’t really succeed in nailing the
phenomenon. (Definitions by academic linguists, apart from
Halliday’s, are entirely absent.) Slang has also been referred to as
‘the poetry of everyday life’ or ‘of the common man’. Although it
does make use of poetry’s rhetorical tricks (and more devices
besides), poetry is allusive while slang is anything but, depending
for its power on either complete, shared understanding (by insiders)
or complete bafflement (on the part of outsiders).
Ask users of slang for a definition and they might come up with:
‘jargon, used playfully to prevent outsiders from intercepting the
actual meaning’; ‘the ever-evolving bastardisation of the written
and spoken language as a result of social and cultural idolization
[sic] of uneducated, unintelligable [sic] celebrities’ and ‘cool
words, words that match the style’ (all of these are from the Urban
Dictionary website). One teenager I interviewed defined it simply as
‘our language’.
More specifically, slang terms have certain recognisable
functions. Firstly, like any new coinage, a slang word may fill a gap
in the existing lexicon. For example, there is no single verb in
standard English that defines the cancelling of a romantic tryst or
social arrangement, so British adolescents have adopted the words
ding or dingo. To jump and hug someone from behind is rendered
much more succinct in US campus speech as glomp.
Secondly, a slang expression may be substituted for an existing
term – what linguists refer to as ‘relexicalisation’ – smams or chebs
for breasts, blamming for exciting and chuffie for chewing gum are
recent British examples. More than one motive may be in play here:
renaming something makes it yours, and makes it funnier
(Ethiopia!) or ruder (cunted). Using cultural allusions (Mr Byrite)
demonstrates worldliness; rhyming slang (Claire Rayners) is not
simply a useful mechanism, or a disguise, but may conceivably
show solidarity with an older tradition.
Slang users tend to invent many more synonyms or near-synonyms
than might be thought strictly necessary: for example, criminals may
have a dozen different nicknames (gat, cronz, iron, chrome) for their
guns, or for informers (canary, grass, snout, stoolie); drinkers can

choose from hundreds of competing descriptions of a state of

intoxication (hammered, hamstered, langered, mullered). This
phenomenon is technically described as ‘overlexicalisation’, and it
happens because the words in question have an emblematic force
over and above their primary meanings. Macho would-be seducers
or studs require a range of usually disparaging or patronising terms
for their sexual conquests and more than one pet-name for their
manly attributes; drug users pride themselves on being able to
distinguish the nuances in different states of euphoria or
intoxication; cliques and gangs enjoy inventing a host of pejorative
nicknames for dissing those they see as outsiders. The most
significant groupings of terms in the new dictionary continue to be
in the same ‘semantic fields’ as before: the categories of
drunkenness and druggedness, of terms of approval and
enthusiasm, of insults and pejorative nicknames and of expressions
relating to sex and partnership.

The New Dictionary

Thousands of new expressions have entered the language since the
turn of the century and dozens, perhaps hundreds, more are added
to the common vocabulary every week. The lexicographer has to try
to identify novelties as they arise and to track the changes in the
way existing words are being used. This dictionary has been
regularly updated since its first publication in 1990 – but this, the
first edition in the new millennium, has seen a wholesale revision of
all entries and the addition of about 2,000 new terms.
One of the most painful procedures for the compiler is to decide
which expressions must be deleted in order to make room for new
material. Contrary to popular belief, very few slang items fall
completely out of use. What happens is that certain words – sorted
is an example – are assimilated into everyday colloquial usage,
while others are abandoned by their original users as being
outmoded or no longer exclusive enough, but are adopted by
‘outsiders’. For example, a modish term of appreciation like phat,
only known to a hip minority in the early 1990s, may now be heard
in the primary school playground. Some words – the adjective
groovy is one such – are recycled. Trendy in the 1960s, then
sounding hopelessly outdated by the late 1970s, it was revived
ironically in the later 1980s, before finally being used by some
members of the new generation in more or less its original sense.

(Groovy is an interesting example in that, like lucre/luka and

ducats/duckets, it seems to have been picked up by some
youngsters who were unaware of its origins or ‘correct’ form, hearing
it as crovey.) Seemingly archaic words may be rediscovered, as in
the case of duffer, although there is always the chance that this is a
coincidental coinage.
After much hesitation, therefore, the deletions were made on a
fairly subjective basis. Genuine archaisms like love-in-a-punt (a
comic description until the 1950s of weak beer: the joke is that it’s
‘fucking near water’), or the lump, designating a long-obsolete
system of employment, were doomed, however picturesque or
evocative. Terms which were always in very limited circulation, such
as puggled (meaning tipsy or drunk) or pipe, in the sense of stare at,
would have to go, as did others that were both dated and obvious,
like the nicknames jelly (for the explosive gelignite) or milko (a
milkman). Some, like smidgin or channel-surfing, are deemed to
have become common colloquialisms.
The new expressions have all been collected since 2000 from a
cross-section of the slang-using communities in what has come to
be known as the anglosphere.
In a work of this size it isn’t possible to include the entire
vocabulary of every local subculture, so when a range of terms has
been uncovered, we have included only those which have intrinsic
interest (i.e. they are witty, inventive, particularly unusual
linguistically – Listerine is all three), seem especially
characteristic of a community (chuddies, filmi) or appear likely to
cross over into wider use (munter, hottie). There are more British
terms (although ‘British’ is nowadays shorthand for a multilingual
mix) than North American, Australasian etc. since the bulk of the
collecting was carried out in the UK. None of these criteria are in
any way ‘scientific’, so the lexicographer is still the final judge.
One thing that has not changed since the first publication of
this dictionary is the relative lack of interest shown by UK
academics in this type of language, relative to their counterparts in
the US, Europe and elsewhere. On the other hand, students in
higher education and schoolchildren have increasingly chosen to
study, analyse and research a variety of speech in which they have
a special stake, while, judging by reference book sales and letters
to newspapers and magazines (and to myself), the general public is

hungry for any reliable information about new language and

language change.

Collecting the Data

I have above all been inspired by the alternative Dr Johnson,
Captain Francis Grose, who compiled the 1785 Classical Dictionary
of the Vulgar Tongue. I have tried to emulate him, not so much in
his fondness for huge meals and strong drink, but in his avoidance
of print archives in favour of going out into the streets, the taverns
and the barracks recording what people are actually saying.
The effect of Captain Grose’s 18th-century slang dictionary was
not to make respectable, but at least to treat with some respect,
even to celebrate, the language of the dissolute and the
dispossessed. Likewise, this dictionary applies lexicographic
techniques to the speech of individuals and groups who may have
little prestige in society as a whole, but who in their own
environments are the impresarios of speech styles, the guardians
and reinventors of subcultural mystique.
Halliday commented that of all the socialising environments
(family, school, workplace) in which individuals develop their
identities, the peer group is the most difficult for the researcher to
penetrate. However, it is from the peer group, whether consisting of
schoolkids, skateboarders or soldiers, that slang typically emerges.
It is tricky for an ageing baby boomer to infiltrate these groups, to
join a streetgang or even to go clubbing without attracting
attention, but it’s absolutely essential for the seeker of slang to get
access to authentic samples of language – particularly spoken
language – in their authentic settings, since much slang is never
written down (calling into question the value of reference works
based solely on printed examples) or only recorded in writing long
after its first appearance.
When circumstances allow, listening in on conversations is an
ideal approach, but as electronic eavesdropping is now forbidden
except where consent has been given in advance, most of the
examples collected here have been recorded and reported by users
or their friends, gathered by interviews or by long-term recording of
conversations in which participants gradually come to ignore the
presence of the microphone. However expert the compiler, there is
an obvious risk of being fed false information, so to qualify for
inclusion terms must be attested by two separate sources.

The Internet has transformed the way we manipulate our systems of
signs and the relationships between producers and consumers of
information. Its effect on slang has two aspects. Firstly, online
communication has generated its own vocabulary of technical
terminology, essentially jargon (spam, blogging, phishing) and
informal, abbreviated or humorous terms (addy, noob, barking
moonbat etc.) which qualify as slang. The amount of new
cyberslang is fairly small, but the Internet has also allowed the
collecting, classifying and promoting of slang from other sources in
the form of so-called dictionaries, glossaries and articles written by
individual enthusiasts. Even more interesting are the online
lexicons compiled wholly by contributors, who post new expressions
and provide their own explanations and examples.
Many of the websites in which slang is collected and discussed
are truly democratic and genuinely user-driven, but almost none of
them are authoritative, in the sense that they can be trusted to have
studied the words they record, to produce accurate or convincing
etymologies rather than supposition, or to comment from a basis of
familiarity with other sources. Two that I particularly recommend,
though, are the Urban Dictionary (www.urbandictionary.com) and
the Playground Dictionary (www.odps.org). It is a point of honour
among lexicographers that they don’t poach words from rival
collections, but I have used these online glossaries to verify the
authenticity and sometimes the meanings of some of the more
obscure words that I have come across. One hardcopy reference
work that can also be recommended is Viz magazine’s
Profanisaurus, a regularly updated glossary of sexual and
scatological expressions and insults, donated by readers. Despite
its comic intent the material is a valuable trove of contemporary folk
obsessions and I have tried not to duplicate it in these pages.
It is communications technology in general and not only the
Internet that is enabling slang, especially the most pervasive
English-based slang, to globalise. Late one night in a hotel room in
Cologne, I watched a cable TV station from Berlin broadcasting a
video diary in which teenagers improvised conversations in a mix of
German, English and snatches of Spanish and Turkish. The
soundtrack simultaneously ran sampled sequences of rock, rap, rai
etc. while subtitles provided an ironic metacommentary also

blending a variety of languages. This was not an avant-garde artistic

gesture as far as I could tell, but a snapshot of a genuine ‘sociolect’;
the creative and playful code in which this loose association of
friends chooses to express itself.
Another technical development – text messaging – has triggered
changes in the culture of communication, especially among young
people, and brought with it, like telegrams, CB-radio or Internet
chatrooms, a new form of abbreviated code. It has excited some
academic linguists but it hasn’t, however, contributed anything
meaningful to the evolution of slang as such: no new words or
radical shifts in syntax have been generated yet.

Blingage and Chavdom

Two well-known examples from early in the ‘noughties’ decade,
already history by the time this book appears, illustrate the
linguistic development and cultural resonance of slang. The first is
one of the words that the south London school head singled out for
disapproval. Bling was coined as far as anyone knows – although
music lyricists and journalists often claim slang words as their own
creations, the real originators often remain anonymous – either in
imitation of the sound of clanking jewellery, or, less probably, to
evoke its glittering appearance. The jewellery in question was part
of the ostentatious display associated with black aficionados of US
rap music and hip hop culture, and the word, sometimes
reduplicated as bling-bling, came to epitomise an attitude of
conspicuous and shameless consumption, aggressive flaunting of
wealth and ‘street’ status. Young speakers in the UK adopted the
expression around 2002, then the noun form began to be used
adjectivally (as in ‘very bling’), and by 2005, middle-aged TV
presenters and middle-class parents were experimenting with the
word. In slang usage, meanwhile, by analogy with other American
terms, (fundage, grindage), a new noun, blingage, appeared in
Although black slang is the dominant influence in many youth
subcultures, it is not one dialect, but rather a range of terms from a
continuum incorporating US, Caribbean, urban British and South
African speech. As well as words like bling and its derivations,
which have to some extent crossed over, there are a host of other
‘black’ words including skank, hench, tonk, mashup and butters

which have become common currency on the street. It’s a sign of

cultural importance if a trend is successfully parodied, and UK
comedian Sasha Baron Cohen’s fictional TV character Ali G very
effectively mocked the language (not only the vocabulary but the
assumed intonation) and appearance of the wiggas and Asians who
resolutely imitated black styles from the late 1990s.
The second well-known example of media fascination with slang
and cultural change is not inspired by black speech, but ultimately
by the language of another oppressed minority with
disproportionate subcultural capital, the Roma. In 2004 the British
media became aware of a website, www.chavscum.co.uk, which
was celebrating a new social category. The nickname chav denoted
a person with the following defining attributes (according to
researcher Sarah Bromley): he or she is youngish, favours
sportswear, loiters in groups in town centres, may be involved in
petty crime, if female wears prominent cheap jewellery (known
incidentally as Argos bling or bingo bling) and has scraped-back
hair (the effect has been dubbed a Croydon facelift), if male has a
shaven head or crew cut and probably wears a baseball cap. The
categorisation is complex in that it describes not only a ‘look’, or a
so-called subculture, but in some ways resembles an old-fashioned
class distinction. The class connotations are new, though, as, often
pejorative, chav can also be used with mock-affection or even
admiration by sophisticates who have extended the scope of the
concept to take in reality TV celebrities and pop stars and claimed
that this vulgar, feckless, assertively uncultured group are, if not the
‘new ruling class’ (the extreme view), then at least an unstoppable
social force.
With chav, once again an ancient slang term mutates or is
reinvented (punk is another example of this), acquires powerful if
temporary social significance, and prompts excited linguistic
speculation. A completely spurious folk etymology was found – the
word was said by some, including some police officers, to be an
acronym; ‘council-housed and violent’. Chav is actually one version
of an old Romany term meaning child and/or friend, a word
previously more often recorded (and included in earlier editions of
this dictionary) in the variant forms charvie or charver. The people
referred to were in fact identified by slang users in the 1990s and
defined by a wide range of regional nicknames, including spide,
steek, scally, townie, pikey, pov, schemie. In the evolutionary

struggle for dominance, media adoption helped chav to triumph, to

spawn related witticisms like chaviot (a chav-chariot or cheap,
over-embellished car), and become by general agreement of British
journalists and lexicographers the vogue word of 2004 and 2005.

Latest developments
In the last few months there have been a couple of significant
eruptions of slang into the UK’s ‘national conversation’, and one
important subcultural phenomenon has been confirmed. Radio DJ
Chris Moyles caused a furore when he referred on air to a mobile
phone ringtone as gay, using the word, like many teenagers, as a
generalised term of derision, a synonym for lame. Listeners
complained about this latest appropriation of a word previously
appropriated by homosexuals, while some gays actually defended
the usage as non-homophobic, harmless and frivolous.
Microphones left on at the Russian summit picked up the US
President, George W Bush, greeting the UK Prime Minister in
frat-boy or hip-hop style with ‘Yo, Blair!’. The banter that followed in
which both men used boyish colloquialisms, Bush easily, Blair
self-consciously, seemed to confirm an unequal relationship
between them. On the street meanwhile, and in the playground and
youth-oriented media, the black North American verbal ritual of
signifyin’ or soundin’, also known as the dozens, playing the dirty
dozens, capping or bad-talk, whereby males compete to diss one
another’s mothers with elaborate slanders, had crossed over to
feature in UK speech. The tradition, which some think originates
from slave auctions where the infirm were sold by the dozen, was
designed to test both speaking skills and restraint in the face of
provocation, but now functions as a humorous exchange, also
practised by females and non-blacks.

Back to the future

So to return to that question: what becomes of slang? Firstly, the
general ‘flattening out’ of a hierarchical society and the relaxation
of linguistic prejudices mean that slang may come to be seen not as
something inherently substandard, but as an option among many
available linguistic styles. At the same time there must always be a
set of words and phrases which is beyond the reach of most
speakers, that is always ‘deviant’, ‘transgressive’ and opaque. This
slang must renew itself, not just in implied contrast with ‘standard’

language, but with earlier versions of itself. So new slang words will
continue to sprout, to metamorphose, to wither and disappear or
else to spread and fertilise the common ground of language. This
process may now be more visible and familiar, the crossover
phenomenon may happen much faster (given the complicity of the
media), and the shock value of the terms themselves may be
lessened (the invention and use of slang does risk becoming locked
into familiarity and cliché, like the tired gestures of rock, rap,
conceptual art and fashion), but it is very unlikely ever to stop.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Thanks again to all contributors named in previous editions,
especially the late Iona Opie and the late Paul Beale, and to all
those who have contributed new material including Anna Merritt,
Jean Saville, Danielle Dodoo, Kate Merry, Shelley Kingston, William
Wentworth-Sheilds, Rebecca Gibbs, Zimarina Sarwar, Mark Smale,
Benjamin Linton-Willoughby, Darren Elliott, Hattie Webster, Steve
O’Donoghue, Tiffany Zwicker, Charlotte Pheazy, Sammy Wilson,
Charlotte Mulley, Vicky Bhogal, Sandip Sarai, David Castell,
Mathew Casey, Ross Raisin, Beatrix Agee, Anna Cook, Francis
Woolf, David Mallows, Rod Murdison, Louise Marshall, Soo Rose,
Anna Lisa Koppelman, Rebecca Koppelman, Christine Sarkis,
Andrew Melbourne, Serena Gilbert, Nikki Follis, Victoria Milne,
Louise Gage, Nicola Wardlow, Dana Stevens, Laurie Armstrong,
Mark Jones, Anthony Fogg, Jan Eisby, Caroline Dunn, Chryselle
Pathmanathan, David Bryan, Lisa Michelle Jenkins, Halima Jayda
Mian, Michelle Chamberlain, Rabab El Basset, Kenneth McClean
Brown, Sarah Bromley, Vivian Goodman, James Womack, Simon
Donald, Michael Rosen, Professor Richard Dawkins, Charlie Higson
and Claire Rayner, Simon Elmes, Keith Ricketts, Colin Babb and
John Goodman.
Also to colleagues at King’s College London, particularly
Professors Barry Ife, Linda Newson, Michael Knibb, and Ann
Thompson and Dr David Ricks who have supported my research and
the King’s Archive of Slang and New Language. I have a very special
debt of gratitude to Professor Connie C. Eble of the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who generously made available the
fruits of her recent research into US campus slang (complementing
a tally begun in the 1970s, and her still unrivalled 1996
publication, Slang and Sociability).

The Dictionary of Contemporary Slang is an ongoing project; a

survey which by virtue of its subject must be constantly updated to
keep track of new coinages and changes in the status of existing
terms. The idea of a reference work as something sternly
authoritative and unreachably remote from its users is outmoded;
thanks to electronic communications a dictionary can now interact
with its readers. This was the first interactive slang dictionary and
the compiler and the publishers would be very grateful for any
contributions or suggestions from readers who can either mail
material to: Dictionaries Department, A & C Black Publishers Ltd,
38 Soho Square, London W1D 3HB or communicate with the
author via e-mail at tony.thorne@kcl.ac.uk. (The introduction to the
previous edition and related articles can be consulted at
www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/elc/slang.html.) Information about new slang
terms should ideally include, as well as the meaning, details of
when and where the word or phrase was used and a direct quotation
if possible, together with the name of the contributor, who will be
acknowledged in the next edition.
Tony Thorne
London, January 2007
A typical entry in the dictionary will contain the components
described below (with the typefaces explained in brackets):
The HEADWORDS are entered in alphabetical order (in primary bold
type), together with any variant spellings or alternative forms. Next
the PART OF SPEECH is given (in italics): these have been somewhat
simplified so that an adjectival phrase appears as an adjective (adj),
noun phrase as a noun (n). Unless a word is used in all parts of the
English-speaking world, it is given a REGIONAL LABEL (in italics:
British, Australian, etc.). This indicates the country of origin, or the
country in which the term is most prevalent. If a particular term has
more than one quite separate meaning, these meanings are
NUMBERED (in bold type: 1, 2, 3 etc.). If one overall sense of a term is
commonly subdivided into several slightly different meanings,
these are indicated by LETTERS (in bold type: a, b, c etc.). The
headword, part of speech and regional label are followed by a
DEFINITION (in roman type). This in turn is followed by more
information about the use and origin of the term (in roman type,
unless it is a direct quote from a user, in which case it will appear in
italics). In the explanations, foreign words are placed in italics and
slang terms found elsewhere in the dictionary are shown in bold
(these act as cross references throughout the dictionary). Many
definitions are followed by an ILLUSTRATIVE PHRASE or sentence (in
italics). If this example is an actual citation, its source follows in
Slang.fm Page 1 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

ardavrk absofucknigultely

aardvark n absofuckinglutely, absobloodylutely adv,

1. British hard work, onerous tasks. A exclamation
probably ephemeral pun heard among these elaborations of the standard term
university students since the late 1980s. are examples of ‘infixing’ (as opposed to
‘They’re giving us too much bloody aard- prefixing or suffixing), a word-formation
vark, that’s the problem.’
process unique to slang in English
‘Are you really determined to go ahead
(Recorded, undergraduate, London Uni- with this?’ ‘Absobloodylutely!’
versity, 1988) She was absobloodylutely legless.
2. American (a male with) an uncircum- Abysinai!

Abyssinia! exclamation British

cised penis. The term was used by the goodbye, a jocular farewell. The expres-
Dixie Chicks country rock band in inter- sion is an alteration of ‘I’ll be seeing you’,
views in 2002. It is based on the sup- sometimes further elaborated into Ethio-
posed resemblance to the animal’s pia! It is in current use among students,
snout, and prompted by the fact that but may have arisen in their parents’ or
most males in the USA are routinely cir- grandparents’ generations.
cumcised. Anteater and corn-dog are AC/DC

AC/DC adj
contemporary synonyms. bisexual. From the label on electrical

aardvarking n American appliances indicating that they can be

having sex. This term, popular among used with either alternating or direct
college students since the 1990s, often current. The slang term originated in
the USA and spread to Britain around
applies to sex in a public place, possibly
evoking the animal’s grubbing or rooting
ace1 n

around in the earth or simply, as with

wombat, heard in the same milieus, used 1. a best friend or good person. Used by
for the sake of exoticism. males to other males, usually as a greet-
ing or a term of endearment. In this sense
This semester her number-one hobby the term probably spread from black
has been aardvarking every chance she American street gangs in the 1950s to
gets. working-class whites in the USA, Aus-

ABCD n tralia and, to a lesser extent, Britain.

‘American born confused desi’: a desig- Hey, ace!
nation of a young South Asian person 2. Australian the anus. By association
featured in Tanuja Desai Hidier’s young with arse and the black mark on a playing
adult novel Born Confused, published in card.
ace2, ace out vb American

the USA in 2002

1. to outmanoeuvre, outwit or defeat
’abdabs n pl British See screaming
‘I had it all figured, but those guys aced
(h)abdabs me!’

abo n Australian (The A Team, US TV series, 1985)

an Aboriginal. A standard shortening 2. to succeed, win or score very highly
used by whites which is now considered She aced / aced out the test.
condescending or abusive: it is often ace3, aces adj

part of offensive comparisons, as in ‘to excellent, first class. Used extensively

smell like an abo’s armpit/abo’s jock- since the late 1950s in the USA, since
strap’. the mid-1960s in Australia, and by the
Slang.fm Page 2 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

ace boon coon 2

1970s, especially by teenagers, in Brit- ‘his acid comments’ the adjectival mean-
ain. The origin of the term is obviously ing is similar, but cannot be described as
in the highest value playing card, the slang.
meaning now having been extended Don’t come the old acid with me!
from ‘best’ to ‘smartest’, ‘cleverest’, acidflash

etc. acid flash n

an ace car a sudden recurrence of a much earlier
That film was really ace. experience of the drug LSD. Some users
She’s aces!
are disturbed months or years after tak-
acebo ncon ing the drug by sudden disorientation
ace boon coon n American which lasts from seconds to hours and
(in the language of black males) one’s which may or may not be due to its
best friend. An item of black street-talk effects.
combining ace and coon with ‘boon’ to acidhead

provide the suggestion of a cherished acid head, acid freak n

companion and the rhyme, which was a user, especially a heavy or habitual
included in so-called Ebonics, recognised user, of the drug LSD. The terms are not
as a legitimate language variety by school pejorative and were used from the late
officials in Oakland, California, in late 1960s to the mid-1970s by takers of
1996. A similar usage is found in the LSD or other hallucinogens about them-
phrase ‘ace boom boom’. During the selves and each other.

1960s and 1970s the variant form ‘ace acid house n

coon’ was heard, often ironically referring a youth cult involving synthetic electronic
to a self-important black male or an indi- dance music (house) and the taking of
vidual who had achieved some success, euphoric hallucinogens such as ecstasy
e.g. in a work-group, department, etc. and LSD (acid). This fashion, celebrated
You my ace boon coon! in clubs and large impromptu parties and
acein hte hole

ace in the hole n with garish clothing and lighting effects,

an advantage held in reserve until it is succeeded hip hop, rap and other move-
needed. From American stud-poker ter- ments in 1988. ‘A-c-e-e-e-d!’ (an elon-
minology, it refers to an ace (the most gated version of acid) was a rallying cry of
valuable card) dealt face down and not celebrants, shouted and written on walls.
revealed. acidtets

acid test n

acey-deucy adj American a party or informal ritual at which a group

both good and bad, of uncertain quality. of people take food and/or drink laced
The term is at least pre-World War II, with LSD. The expression and the prac-
but is still heard occasionally, espe- tice were originated by Ken Kesey and
cially amongst middle-aged or elderly the Merry Pranksters, a group of hedon-
speakers. It comes from a card game istic travellers in the USA in the early
similar to backgammon in which aces 1960s who were successors to the beats
are high and deuces (twos) are low. and precursors of the hippies.

acher n See acre

‘The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.’
acid n (Title of a book by Tom Wolfe, 1969)
1. LSD-25, the synthetic hallucinogenic acidtrip

acid trip n
drug. From the full name, Lysergic Acid
Diethylamide. This has been the stand- a period under the influence of the drug
ard term by which users refer to the drug LSD or acid (which produces an altered
since its first popularity in California in state of awareness and, sometimes, hal-
1965, in spite of the appearance of more lucinations). The experience lasts 4–6
picturesque but ephemeral alternatives. hours at an average dose.

In the late 1980s, adherents of the acid ackers n British

house cult adopted the word as a slogan money. The word, which has been in
(usually a cry of ‘a-c-e-e-e-d!’) and to armed-forces and working-class use
refer to LSD or ecstasy. since the 1920s, was revived, in common
2. British sarcasm, snide comments or with synonyms such as pelf, rhino, etc.,
cheeky exaggeration, especially in the for jocular use since the 1980s by mid-
expression ‘come the old acid’, popular dle-class speakers. It comes from the
in working-class usage in the 1950s and Egyptian word akka, denoting a coin
1960s and still heard. In such phrases as worth one piastre.
Slang.fm Page 3 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

3 ag
the press and non-users as ecstasy; to

acre, acher n
1. the buttock(s). In this sense the word users it is also E, X, xtc and Epsom salts.
adamadn ev

is common in Australia, normally in the adam and eve vb British

singular form. to believe. Well-established rhyming
2. the testicle(s). Usually in the plural, slang which is still heard among work-
this sense of the word is typically used by ing-class Londoners and their middle-
British schoolboys. class imitators, usually in the expres-
‘I told the estate agent I couldn’t afford sion of astonishment ‘Would you adam
any land, so he kicked me in the balls ’n’ eve it?’
ad y

and said, “There’s a couple of achers for addy n

you”.’ an Internet address. The abbreviation,
(Schoolboy joke, London, 1965) used in Internet communication and
Both senses of both words stem from the text messaging, is also spoken.
simple play on the word ‘ache’ which has

adhocratic adj
formed part of many different puns and improvised and/or temporary, as in deci-
dirty jokes during the last forty years, in- sions made to suit the moment rather
volving sensitive parts of the (male) anat- than as part of planned policy. The
omy. term, from Caribbean speech, has been
used by white as well as black youth in
actoin ga née

action gagnée n British

a literal translation into French of ‘win- the UK since 2000.

ning action’, i.e. a successful sexual aerated adj

encounter. A humorous euphemism angrily over-excited or agitated. Perhaps
used by students in 2003 and 2004. originated by educated speakers who
actoin man

action man n British were familiar with the technical senses

a devotee of military exercises or strenu- of aerate (to supply the blood with
ous physical activities, or someone who oxygen or to make effervescent), but
makes a show of (relentless) energy. The usually used nowadays by less sophisti-
term is applied derisively, originally by cated speakers who may mispronounce
members of the armed forces to unpopu- it as ‘aeriated’.
lar or excessively gung-ho colleagues, Now, don’t get all aerated.
a efwrfies hotrofa ahp ymeal

and now by extension to anyone who is a few fries short of a happy meal adj
showily or mindlessly macho. The satiri- intellectually impaired, deranged,
cal magazine Private Eye referred to eccentric. This variation on the lines of
Prince Andrew by this name in 1986 and the colloquial ‘one sandwich short of a
1987. The origin of this piece of sarcasm picnic’ was popular among students in
is the ‘Action Man’ doll – a poseable com- the UK, and also recorded in the USA in
mando scale model in full kit sold to chil- 2002. The reference is to a McDonald’s
dren in Britain since the 1960s. fast food meal.

‘Right little action man i’n’ ’e? ’E simply afro n

wants to be prepared when the east wind a hairstyle consisting of a mass of tight
blows ’ot.’ curls which was adopted by Afro-Carib-
(Minder, British TV series, 1988) beans and imitated (often by perming) by

A.D. n white hippies, particularly between 1967

a drug addict. From the first two letters of and 1970

‘addict’ or a reversal of the initials of ‘drug afters n British

addict’, to avoid confusion with ‘District a drinking session in a pub after official
Attorney’. The term was quite popular closing time, lock-in. The term is an
among addicts themselves and the police abbreviation of ‘after hours (drinking)’.
in the USA. (In Britain D.A. was the 1960s There’s going to be afters on Friday night.
vogue version.) Are you going to stay for afters?
ad m ag

adam n British ag, agg n British

the drug MDA; methyl diamphetamine. violence, aggression. A shortened form of
Adam is an acronym from the initials, aggro, heard in provincial adolescent
used by middle-class Londoners during slang from around 1990, and previously
the vogue for the drug since the mid- used by older prison inmates and mem-
1980s. MDA is more commonly known to bers of the underworld. Like aggro, the
Slang.fm Page 4 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

-age 4
word may be employed with the weaker like its original unspecific meaning of
sense of trouble or irritation. annoyance or trouble. In Australian
If you go to the market precinct these usage aggro can be used as an adjective,
days it’s just ag. as in ‘I guess I was a bit aggro last night’.

-age suffix American ‘He’s steaming drunk and well up for

a termination that became popular some agro.’
amongst older adolescents in the early (Recorded, London student, 2001)
1990s in creating mock-serious nouns aggro2 adj American

from existing slang and standard bases. wonderful, excellent. This probably
Buffage, grindage and tuneage are exam- ephemeral term was recorded among
ples. The tendency was popularised by teenagers in New York and California in
its use in such films as Bill and Ted’s the late 1980s. It is probably based on
Bogus Journey, Wayne’s World and Cali- a misunderstanding or deliberate shift-
fornia Man. ing in the meaning of the earlier British

ag-fay n American term.

a male homosexual. Usually used pejora- A.H

A.H. n American
tively and almost always by heterosexu- asshole (usually in the metaphorical
als, this example of pig Latin is based on rather than literal sense). A euphemistic
fag. Unlike the superficially similar ofay, abbreviation.
this expression is predominantly used by Compare a-hole
white speakers. a-he t

agers ah-eet adj American

aggers n British ‘doing OK, feeling good’ (recorded, US
the backside, buttocks. An item of pro- student, April 2002). The term, which
vincial slang recorded in the Observer can be used as an exclamation or greet-
newspaper, 23 July 1994. Its derivation ing, is probably a humorous or mock-
is uncertain. dialect deformation of all right or awright.

aggie n British a-hoel

a-hole n American
a marble (as used in children’s games). a euphemism for asshole, usually in the
An old term, usually for a striped literal rather than metaphorical sense
marble, still heard in the 1950s. From ait!

agate, the banded stone from which aiit!, ite! exclamation American
marbles were originally made. contracted alterations of all right or
See also alley awright, fashionable since 2000
aimacrhei athearmitage


aggravation n British aim archie at the armitage vb Australian

serious trouble, victimisation or mutual (of a male) to urinate. A later version of
harassment. A colloquial extension of the the widely known point percy at the por-
standard meaning of the word, used by celain, popularised in Barry Humphries’
police and the underworld. Aggravation Barry McKenzie cartoon series. (‘Armit-
is, like bother and seeing-to, a typical age Ware’ is a brand name of toilet
example of menacing understatement as bowls.)

practised in London working-class aimed adj American

speech. identified, singled out and/or victim-
aggro1, agro n British and Australian
ised. A slang version of ‘targeted’ which
aggravation. Originally the slang term was probably originated in the argot of black
a euphemism for threatened or actual street gangs. It is now used in milder
violence, offered typically by skinheads, contexts by teenagers.
although it is not clear whether they or There’s no way we’ll get out of this; we’ve
their (typically hippy) victims first adopted been aimed…

the shortened form at the end of the airball n American

1960s. (Whichever is the case, the word a dim-witted, eccentric or unpleasant
is a derivation of aggravation in its collo- person. This mildly pejorative term, origi-
quial sense as used by police officers and nating in the 1980s, is a combination of
criminals since the 1950s.) Aggro, like airhead and the more offensive hairball.

bother, is a typical example of the use of airbrained adj American

menacing understatement in British silly, frivolous, empty-headed. Slightly
working-class slang. The word was soon less derogatory than the noun airhead,
taken up by other users and, in informal this term has not been imported into Brit-
English, has now reverted to something ain to any significant extent, perhaps
Slang.fm Page 5 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

5 alley apple
because of possible confusion with ‘hare- or vice versa. The word was used for
brained’ which is still in widespread use. instance in the film House of Games
She’s not just some airbrained bimbo, (1987, David Mamet), which drama-
you know. tises the world of small-time American

airhead n gamblers.

a fool; a silly, empty-headed person. An aled, aled-up adj British

American teenager’s term heard since drunk. A mild and acceptable term
the mid-1970s, used for instance by Val- which, although short and to-the-point,
ley Girls; it has been adopted by British can be used in polite company or family
teenagers since the 1980s. newspapers. The expressions probably
‘The usual crowd of airheads, phonies, originated in the north of England where
deadlegs, posers, bimbos, wallies, wan- ale has been, and remains, a common
nabees, hangers-on and gatecrashers…’ all-purpose word for beer.
(Christena Appleyard, Daily Mirror, 11 He’s aled again.
May 1989) alret

alert adj British


air hose n American (of a male) slightly sexually aroused.

shoes, typically loafers (leather mocca- Related terms, also in use since 2000,
sins), worn without socks. A preppie term include lob-on and semi. ‘It means to be
for a preppie sartorial convention, pun- a bit turned on (i.e. having a slight erec-
ning on the American sense of ‘hose’ tion)’. (Recorded, London student, May
meaning socks, stockings, etc., and the 2003).
compressed air pipe at a filling station. alf

alf n Australian

airlocked adj British a common, foolish person. In the 1960s

drunk. The term occurs especially in this term briefly vied with ocker as the
Northern Irish use and it is possibly an generic term for uncouth manhood.
inoffensive form of ‘bollocked’ or evok- alike

alkie n
ing a loss of faculties as if from oxygen an alcoholic, especially one who lives
deprivation. rough or frequents the streets. The obvi-

airs n pl American ous term, which usually carries over-

trainers. The word is a shortening of the tones of contempt, has been
trademark label Air Jordans which was widespread in the USA at least since
generalised to denote any sports shoes the Depression; it was adopted after
and widely heard in 1991 and 1992. World War II in Australia and since the
(The rare use of ‘airing’ in black speech 1960s has been in limited use in Brit-
to mean walking or leaving is an uncon- ain.
nected earlier usage, probably based on al about

all about (it) adj American

‘open air’.) enthusiastic, keen. In use among ado-

Alabama n See ’bama

lescents and college students since
Alan Whickers, Alans n pl British 2000.
knickers, panties. The terms are non- I asked her if she wanted to hang with us
working-class rhyming slang, heard and she was all about it.
among young people, particularly stu- I’m all about some basketball.
dents, in the 1970s and 1980s. The aley

alley, allie n British

reference was to Alan Whicker, a well- a marble (as used in children’s games).
known punctilious and dapper televi- Like aggie, the word is approximately a
sion interviewer. hundred years old and refers to a pale or
There was this huge pair of Alan Whick- white marble. Although rarely heard
ers hanging on the line. today, these terms probably survive
alughand ajoke

a laugh and a joke n British where the traditional game is still played.
a smoke. The rhyming slang phrase gen- The most likely origin of the term is a
erally refers to tobacco smoking. It was shortening of ‘alabaster’, from which
recorded in London in 2002. some Victorian marbles were made.
alec aleyap le

alec, aleck n alley apple n American

a swindler’s victim, dupe. This term a lump of horse manure. A less common
from the early 20th century is still heard version of the expression road apple,
in the USA and Australia. It is not clear which is now an international English
whether alec derives from ‘smart alec’ term.
Slang.fm Page 6 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

alleycat 6
alecyat als-bya

alleycat vb alls-bay n pl American

to prowl the streets, particularly late at the testicles. An item of pig Latin based
night on balls.

‘There’s Arthur Smith alleycatting all that n, adj American

around, trying to pick up chicks.’ (a person who is) exceptional, admira-
(Kit Hollerbach, The 39,000 Steps, ble. The phrase is almost invariably
Channel 4 documentary on the Edin- used dismissively or to express derision,
burgh Festival, July 1989) as in ‘She thinks that she’s all that’. It
occurs in black working-class speech
alligator shoes/boots n pl and in black and white campus usage,
old footwear with the toes gaping open. and is probably a shortening of ‘(not) all
A jocular play on (expensive and luxuri- that much’ or ‘all that great’.
ous) alligator-skin shoes. althatanda bagofcihps

almouthandtruosers all that and a bag of chips n, adj

all mouth and trousers adj British American
blustering and boastful, showing off with- an elaboration of all that in use among
out having the qualities to justify it. A college students since the late 1990s
commonly heard dismissive phrase, typi- Wow, that movie was all that and a bag of
cally said by women about a loud or chips.
assertive man. There is a suggestion that almonds

almonds, almond rocks n pl British

this is a corruption of the more logical, socks. A London rhyming-slang term
but rarely heard expression, ‘all mouth which is still in use. (Almond rock cakes
and no trousers’, meaning full of talk but were a popular working-class treat early
deficient in the sexual area. A less racy in the 20th century.)
version is ‘all talk and no action’. There is alms

an analogy with other colourful expres- alms(-house) adj British

sions, now mostly archaic, such as ‘all rude, disrespectful. This item of British
my eye and Betty Martin’, meaning non- street slang of the late 1990s is a variant
sense, and more abusive versions such form of arms. The reference is unclear,
as all piss and wind. but the expression may have arisen in
Caribbean usage.
Oh him! He’s all mouth and trousers, that alphage k

one. alpha geek n American

alovertheshops/howg/af/lot/balpark the most technically proficient and/or
all over the shop / show / gaff / lot / knowledgeable member of a group. The
ballpark adj, adv term, usually but not invariably applied
disorganised, in chaos or disarray. The to males in an office or work-group, is
first three versions are British, the last inspired by the categorising of animal
two American. This is a more colourful group-leaders as ‘alpha males’. It was
extension into slang of the colloquial defined in Wired magazine in Septem-
phrase ‘all over the place’, and the first ber 1995.
version at least dates from the 19th ‘You gotta just identify the alpha geek and
century. (‘Shop’ is a working-class fire all your questions at him.’
catch-all for any workplace.) (Recorded, financial trader, New York,
alpis nad wnid

all piss and wind adj 1996)

altre d

full of bluster and noise, but without real altered adj British
substance. This expression can have a drunk, a joky euphemism from the
similar meaning to all mouth and trousers, notion of being ‘(in an) altered state’.
but can be applied for instance to a poli- An item of student slang in use in Lon-
tician’s speech or a theatrical perform- don and elsewhere since around 2000.
ance, as well as to an individual. ‘All piss amagnet

amagent n South African

and vinegar’ is a rarer synonym. an alternative form of ma-gent

all right!, awright! exclamation American amber fluid, amber nectar n

an exclamation of recognition, greeting, beer, Australian lager. A facetious
approval or admiration. The ‘right’ is euphemism used by Australians in the
emphasised, high-pitched and elongated 1970s which was popularised in Britain
when shouted. Used in this way the first by Barry Humphries’ Barry McKen-
phrase was originally black American; it zie comic strip, then by TV advertise-
was picked up by whites, especially hip- ments, featuring the actor Paul Hogan,
pies, in the late 1960s. for Australian beer in the 1980s. The
Slang.fm Page 7 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

7 ane
term was enthusiastically adopted by

amyl n
some middle-class British drinkers, amyl nitrite (sometimes called amyl
themselves fond of mock pompous nitrate); a very powerful stimulant drug
coinages. inhaled from a broken phial or popper.

ambulance chaser n Amyl nitrite is prescribed for the treat-

a lawyer, literally one who specialises in ment of angina pectoris, though it has
claiming on behalf of accident victims. been taken for fun since the 1950s, and
The phrase is also applied, facetiously for its supposed sexually stimulating
or critically, to any lawyer who is known effects, especially by gay men, since the
for sharp practice or unethical methods. late 1970s.
This term was originally American (dat- anal

anal adj American

ing from the beginning of the 20th cen-
tury) but is now employed in other irritatingly pedantic, fastidious, consci-
English-speaking areas. entious, etc. This shortening of the pop-
ular psychological categorisation ‘anal
‘My daddy’s a lawyer. Well, we often say retentive’ was a vogue term among US
he’s an ambulance chaser.’
college students in the 1990s
(Recorded, young woman, Chicago,
1983) Don’t be so anal!
amp That was such an anal thing to do.
amp n analatsronaut

1. an ampoule (of a narcotic). An obvious anal astronaut n British

shortening used by drug abusers. a male homosexual. A pejorative and
I scored a couple of amps of jocular term in use among schoolboys in
meth[edrine]. 2004.

2. an amplifier. A common shortening anchor n British

used by musicians and hi-fi enthusiasts a young person, typically a younger sib-
since the 1960s. ling or babysittee, who inhibits one’s
He rammed his guitar into the amp. pleasure or freedom of movement. The

amped (up) adj American term was in use among adolescents and
excited or agitated. This term from young adults from around 2000.

black street slang, which can also indi- anchors n pl British

cate excited anticipation, may derive brakes. Originally part of the jargon of
from an ampoule (of a narcotic) or from pre-war professional drivers. The term
‘amphetamine(d)’, but is equally likely was popular with some middle-class
to derive from the musicians’ jargon motorists throughout the 1950s and
‘amped-up’, meaning with the amplifi- 1960s, usually in the phrase ‘slam on
ers fully rigged. the anchors’, meaning to brake sud-
‘While they were keeping me waiting I denly. It now sounds rather dated.
was getting more and more amped up…’ andrealx!

(Recorded, musician, New York City,

and relax! exclamation British
1995) 1. a warning of an approaching person
’ampsetads 2. an exhortation to someone who is irate
’ampsteads n pl British to calm down
teeth. Cockney rhyming slang referring Both usages have been recorded since
to the London beauty spot Hampstead 2000.
Heath. The term (which is still heard) is Andrew,the

invariably used with the dropped aspi- Andrew, the n British

rate. the navy. A dated term which is a short-
a lovely set of ’ampsteads ening of ‘Andrew Miller’ (or ‘Andrew
kicked in the ’ampsteads Millar’). The eponymous Andrew is said

amscray vb to have been a press-ganger whose

name was taken as a nickname for a
to scram, go away. One of the few exam-
warship and later for the whole service.
ples of backslang or pig Latin which is ane

actually used in speech, albeit rarely. The ane n British

word is a pre-World War II Americanism the backside, anus, a term used by
which has been heard in Australia and in schoolchildren since the 1990s. By
Britain since the 1950s. extension the word can also refer to a
We’d better amscray before he gets back. foolish or unpleasant individual.
Slang.fm Page 8 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

angel 8
earlier uses of the noun animal to
angel n
cocaine. The term was recorded with denote an impressively excessive indi-
this sense among clubbers in the UK in vidual.

2000. animal house n American

angel2, angela, angelina n

any dwelling, but especially a college

a passive male homosexual. These are fraternity house, whose occupants are
slang terms used by homosexuals them- excessively dirty and rowdy. This late
selves and (usually pejoratively) by het- 1950s campus term was revived by the
erosexuals. The words may originate as film National Lampoon’s Animal House,
terms of affection, as feminine nick- starring the late John Belushi in the role
names, or possibly from an earlier slang of a typical ‘animal’ in 1978.
usage denoting a (female) prostitute.

animal night/act n Australian
angel-drawers n British a planned or self-conscious bout of bad
a term of endearment, used especially behaviour or excess. The term is typi-
by middle-class speakers. The phrase is cally used (by and about males) with
typical of the jocular compounds pride or admiration rather than distaste.
favoured, e.g., in St Valentine’s Day aknle

ankle1 vb
dedications printed in newspaper small to walk, stroll, saunter. A raffish expres-
ads but, unlike many of these, it is spo- sion heard in the USA and occasionally
ken. in Britain since the 1980s.

angel dust n Let’s ankle down to the off-licence.

the drug P.C.P. A powdered (usually aknle

ankle2 n American
home-made) version of an animal tran- an attractive female or females. This
quilliser which is smoked or sniffed use of the word appears to predate its
through a tube and which produces in popularity among black youths and on
the user unpredictable and extreme campus since the late 1990s. The prov-
physical and psychological effects. Users enance is unclear and it may be a jocu-
are capable of acts of violence, hallucina- lar reference to the archaic phrase ‘a
tions and periods of imperviousness to well-turned ankle’ as a Victorian notion
pain and superhuman strength. P.C.P. is of beauty.
easy to produce in home laboratories and
became a severe social problem in US She’s some cute ankle.
cities after 1975, principally among Check out the ankle around here.

poorer teenagers. Fears of its spread to ankle-biter n

Britain and elsewhere were groundless. a child, usually a baby or toddler. Com-
Its milieu is now largely given over to monly used with mock distaste by par-
crack. ents, sometimes with real distaste by
‘For 15 years Washington has been others, ankle-biter has been heard in all
struggling with abuse of PCP, also known social classes in Britain and Australia
as Angel Dust.’ since the late 1970s. Synonyms are leg-
(Independent, 24 July 1989) biter, rug rat and crumb-snatcher.
Anglo anihilated

Anglo n American annihilated adj

a person of (mainly) Anglo-Saxon ethnic helplessly drunk, drugged or exhausted.
origin. The term came into widespread A middle-class teenager’s colloquial
use in the 1970s, especially among His- expression, popular in the 1970s and
panics. This was the first attempt by 1980s.
Americans from other ethnic back- aonrak

anorak n British
grounds to categorise white Anglo-Sax- an unfashionable, studious or tedious
ons as a subgroup. (WASP was first person, usually a young male. A campus
coined by Wasps themselves; honky, expression from the 1980s, based on
pinkie, etc., are terms of abuse.) the characteristic dress of these fellow-
‘They’re mainly Anglos out on Long Is- students. A sub-genre of jangling guitar
land these days.’ pop music, supposedly beloved of such
(Recorded, suburban New Yorker, 1977) students, was dubbed ‘anorak rock’ in
anmi la

animal adj British the music press in the mid-1980s.

excellent, exciting. This use of the term ‘An anorak is one of those boring gits who
by young people since 2000 is based on sit at the front of every lecture with their
Slang.fm Page 9 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

9 apples
Pringle jumpers asking the lecturer their

ape(shit) adj, adv

clever questions.’ out of control, berserk. Used especially
(Graffito in the toilets at King’s College, in the expression ‘go ape’, the image is
London University, July 1988) of a person reduced to a primal state,

anteater n American either by infatuation, excitement or,

(a male with) an uncircumcised penis. especially, anger. An American teenag-
Synonyms are aardvark, corn-dog. ers’ term from the late 1950s, now in
general currency.
ante up vb
He’s apeshit about her.
to pay one’s contribution, put one’s
money in the common pot. This expres- ‘I go ape ev’ry time I see you smile.’
sion, not to be confused with ‘up the (‘I Go Ape’, written and recorded by Neil
ante’, comes from the preliminary stage Sedaka, 1960)
in a poker game when one or all of the ‘After I’d left my last school, I pinched a
players must put a stake in the pot. By wallet full of credit cards and went
extension ante up is sometimes used to apeshit in about five different counties.’
mean settle accounts or (reluctantly) (Sunday Times magazine, Stephen Fry,
hand over something demanded. August 1989)
OK, you guys, it’s time to ante up. ape-hangers

ape-hangers n pl

(Sir) Anthony (Blunt) n extra-high handlebars for motorbikes or

a very unpleasant person, cunt. Still in bicycles. The style was popularised by
use in 2004, this rhyming slang expres- bikers in the USA in the 1950s, spread-
sion uses the name of the late keeper of ing to Britain where rockers, greasers
the Queen’s pictures and traitor. and schoolchildren had adopted the style
antmi an

antiman n and the term by about 1959.

ap le-polisher

a male homosexual. The term, originating apple-polisher n

in Caribbean usage and heard among a flatterer, someone who curries favour.
young speakers of most ethnic groups in The term comes from the image of the
the UK, is a Creole pronunciation of ingratiating pupil who polishes an apple
‘auntie-man’. It is usually pejorative. carefully before presenting it to a teacher.
Panty-man is a synonym. The tradition of ‘an apple for the teacher’

an’t it? question form British was really practised in rural USA before
World War II, but the term is common in
a variation of innit? which, like that term,
all English-speaking areas. It is some-
originated in black British usage and was
times in the form of a verb, as in ‘she’s
adopted by adolescents and later by
been apple-polishing again’. In Britain it
younger schoolchildren in the 1990s
is often shortened to polisher.
We’re going to the park an’t it?
‘I had few qualifications for Hollywood; I
An’t it he’s the one. was immoderately slothful, had no facility

antsy adj for salesmanship or apple-polishing, and

a. nervous, jumpy, agitated possessed a very low boiling point.’
‘She’s been getting a little antsy lately – (S. J. Perelman, quoted in Groucho, Har-
wants me to leave my wife.’ po, Chico & sometimes Zeppo, Joe Ad-
(The Secret of my Success, US film, amson, 1973)
ap les

apples1 n pl
b. eager for sex 1. female breasts
Both senses are derived from the older, 2. the testicles
humorous colloquial expression ‘to have Apples, like almost all other round fruits,
ants in one’s pants’ (meaning to be rest- have readily been used as euphemisms for
less or agitated). Antsy is a fairly common these bodily parts. This type of metaphor
and inoffensive term in the USA and Aus- may occur as a spontaneous coinage in
tralia, but rare in Britain. any English-speaking community.

antwacky adj British 3. white people. An ethnic categorisation

out-of-date, old-fashioned. The term, used by Afro-Caribbeans and South and
used especially in northwest England, is East Asians. The reference is probably to
probably a mock ignorant alteration of pink skins and white flesh and is some-
antique. times pejorative.
Slang.fm Page 10 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

apples 10
The term has been fashionable in both
ap els

apples2 adj Australian

fine, perfect, OK. Often used in the senses since 2000.
expression ‘she’s apples’, meaning ‘eve-

Argos bling n British See chav

rything is all right’. This use of the word Aristolte

may originate in ‘apples and rice’ or Aristotle, arry, arris n

‘apples and spice’, obsolete British and 1. a bottle. Rhyming slang, probably dat-
Australian rhyming slang for nice. ing from the 19th century, but still occa-
ap elsandpears
sionally heard in the London area and in
apples and pears n pl British Australia.
stairs. One of the best-known examples
of cockney rhyming slang which, 2. ’arris (usually in the sense of ‘courage,
although authentic, is rarely heard nerve’)

these days. arm n

1. British power, influence, coercion. A

apricot! exclamation British

a generalised term of approval recorded colloquial coinage on the lines of ‘hold’,
among middle-class students in 1999. ‘grip’ or ‘strong-arm’.
It may be a jocular version of ‘peachy’. This should give us some arm.

apricots n pl British 2. See on the arm

the testicles 3. South African a measurement of
‘Hot water has always made my apricots dagga. Recorded as an item of Sowetan
sag.’ slang in the Cape Sunday Times, 29 Jan-
(Pensioner Ron Tuffer, quoted in the uary 1995.

Eastbourne Herald, 7 May 1994) arm candy n

Apirlfo ls

April fools n pl British a temporary escort, typically a fellow stu-

tools. Cockney rhyming slang still heard dent or ‘unattached’ acquaintance, cho-
occasionally in workshops, garages and sen to accompany to a social function.
factories. An Americanism of the late 1990s heard

April showers n pl British in the UK since 2000. Social handbag is

a synonym.
flowers. An item of London working-
class rhyming slang which survives in Compare eye candy
market traders’ jargon.

armpit n
Archer n British a very unpleasant place. The word usu-
£2,000. An invention by an anonymous ally forms part of the expression ‘the
wit in the tradition of a monkey, a pony, armpit of the universe’; that is, the most
etc. It refers to the sum paid by the unpleasant place in existence (a milder
author and Tory politician Jeffrey Archer version of ‘arsehole of the universe’).
to Miss Monica Coughlan, a prostitute, to armpist!

enable her to go abroad. Her return in

armpits! exclamation British
1987 resulted in Mr Archer bringing a a less offensive alternative to bollocks as
libel case against the News of the World, a cry of dismissal or derision, in use
which he won. (The synonym Jeffrey was among middle-class students since 2000

also heard.) arms adj British

‘The usual two Archers in a plain enve- offending codes of behaviour, breaking
lope.’ unwritten rules. This code term among
(Weekending, BBC Radio 4, 9 March teenage gangs was defined by one of its
1990) users as ‘out of order’. The term was
acrhign ofrit

arching for it adj British recorded in use among North London

(of a woman) sexually aroused. ‘It refers schoolboys in 1993 and 1994. It may in
to a young woman who is sexually fired fact derive from the equally mysterious
up (like a cat on heat)’. (Recorded, stu- alms(-house), which is heard in black
dent, London 2004). British speech denoting rudeness or
arctic adj British
1. bad. An intensified form of the vogue This is/he’s arms.

sense of cold. ’arris n

2. excellent, fashionable. An intensified 1. the backside, buttocks. A cockney
form of cool or chilled. elaboration of arse sometimes adopted
Slang.fm Page 11 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

11 arsehole
by middle-class speakers who want to temptuously or enviously of a person
avoid the offensive term. who, in their own opinion or that of oth-
a kick in the ’arris ers, can do no wrong.
2. courage, nerve. A London working- arse2 adj British

class term which is a more recent deriva- of poor quality. A vogue term (in all its
tion of arse. senses) among younger speakers since
loads of ’arris the late 1990s, its usage popularised
Both senses derive from a double rhyme; by cult TV comedies such as Father Ted
’arris from Aristotle, meaning bottle, while and The Fast Show.
‘bottle and glass’ gives arse. pure arse

arse1 n That new single of hers is arse.

ares aobut

1. British the backside, buttocks, anus. arse about vb

This word is not, strictly speaking, slang, to fool about, behave in an irresponsible
but an ancient term (aers in Anglo- or silly way. A favourite expression of
Saxon, descended from Germanic nouns many schoolmasters, especially in the
related to an Indo-European ancestor 1950s and 1960s.
meaning ‘tail’) which, since the 17th cen- Stop arsing about in there and get on with
tury, has been considered too vulgar for your work!
polite conversation. Australia follows the ares-aboutf-ace

arse-about-face adj, adv

British spelling, while in the USA and back to front, the wrong way round or
Canada the word is spelled ass. wrongly ordered or organised
2. British a foolish or contemptible per- Look at the state of that shelf you just put
son. A fairly mild term of exasperated up; it’s all arse-about-face!
contempt, popular in upper- and middle- ares bnadit

class speech until the 1960s, now gener-

arse bandit n British
a male homosexual. The humorous but
ally replaced by stronger or more colour-
ful alternatives. ‘Silly arse!’ was a not affectionate term suggests an aggres-
favourite British rebuke. sive, predatory or desperate enemy. It is
very much a term of jovial male abuse
3a. British courage, nerve or cheek. This (there is no record of women saying it) in
has been a popular working-class usage public schools, the army and the pub.
in London and Australian slang. In Britain Slightly less vulgar versions are ‘bum
it has, since the 1960s, largely been sup- bandit’ and trouser bandit; chocolate ban-
planted by more colourful terms such as dit is another synonym.
’arris or bottle, which are derived from it, aresd

or by synonyms such as balls. arsed adj British See can’t be arsed/

3b. Australian good luck. This usage, bolloxed/fucked/shagged

which is more commonly expressed by arse-end n

the adjective arsy, probably derives from the end, back or bottom of anything. A
the previous sense, with the implication common vulgarism also used in the
that the good fortune came as a result of phrase ‘the arse-end of nowhere’, refer-
daring or impudence. ring to a very remote and/or unpleasant
4. Australian a synonym for heave-ho, place. ‘Arse-end Charlie’ is a more
elbow or ‘the boot’, usually in the expres- robust version of the colloquial ‘tail-end
sion give (someone) the arse Charlie’, as applied to a straggler.
arsehole1 n British

5. my arse! British ‘Nonsense!’, ‘I don’t

believe it!’ or ‘It’s not true!’ An exclama- 1. the anus. Asshole in American English.
tion of angry or impatient disbelief, dating 2. the arsehole of the universe / earth /
at least from the 18th century. It is prob- world an extremely unpleasant place,
ably a shortening of a longer phrase such especially one that is dirty, smelly and
as in the following sense. hot, but now by extension anywhere
6. kiss my arse! British an exclamation of awful. The phrase was probably coined
defiance or contempt by troops stationed overseas, prompted
7. not to know one’s arse from one’s by such captions as ‘the pearl of the Ori-
elbow/a hole in the ground British to be ent’ or ‘the gateway to the Pacific’.
incapable or incompetent, stupid 3. an extremely unpleasant person, espe-
8. the sun shines out of his/her arse Brit- cially one who combines offensiveness
ish he or she is wonderful, perfect or the with stupidity. The term, when used in
favourite. The expression is used con- Britain or Australia, is stronger than the
Slang.fm Page 12 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

arsehole 12
American equivalent asshole, and slightly referring to the mouth), but the origins of
different in emphasis. It shows real dis- the phrase are obscure.
taste and dislike rather than mild con- arseilck

arselick vb British
tempt. to flatter, curry favour. The verb, which

arsehole2 vb may be transitive or, more often, intran-

1. British to ‘crawl’, flatter or curry favour sitive, is a more recent back-formation
in a nauseating way. Typically used at from the noun form.

work about a fellow employee, this is arse-licker n

probably inspired by the now dated a flatterer or toady, someone who is
expressions ‘arsehole-crawler’ or ‘arse- nauseatingly sycophantic. This ancient
hole-creep’. image and phrase is paralleled in many
There he goes, arseholing again. It European languages (Arschlecker in
makes me sick. German, lèche-cul in French).
2. Australian to throw someone out, to get
arsem- na

arse-man n
rid of (an unwanted lover). The word is a man whose favourite part of a woman’s
often used plaintively or resentfully by anatomy is the buttocks as opposed to a
jilted teenagers. leg-man or tit-man
I can’t understand it. Robyn arseholed arseo-n

arse-on n British
me last night. a fit of bad temper, sulk. The term has

arseholed adj been heard since 2000.

1. British very drunk. A popular word feeling a bit of an arse-on
among students, younger members of He’s got the arse-on.
the armed forces and other heavy drink- arseoverti/pit

arse over tip/tit adv

ers from the 1960s to the present. The head over heels, upside down. The
image is of someone disgustingly or help- expression is typically cockney, but wide-
lessly drunk, as in the expression ‘pissed spread in Britain and Australia. The
as an arsehole’; but the term is neutral, American version is ass over tincups/tea-
not usually pejorative, and is used by all cups.
social classes. ‘She tripped and fell arse over tit down
‘Once a month he gets completely arse- the stairs.’
holed and then comes home and asks (Recorded, plumber, London, 1987)
me to forgive him.’ arseup

arse up vb British
(Recorded, housewife, Devon, 1986) to make a mess of, mix up or spoil. A less
2a. Australian dismissed from one’s job common variation of balls up and the
2b. Australian ejected, especially from a verb form of cock-up.
bar He managed to completely arse up the
2c. Australian rejected by one’s partner whole job.
arsehoels! arseu-p

arseholes! exclamation British arse-up n British

nonsense. A term expressing brusque a synonym for cock-up and fuck-up,
dismissal or defiance which now seems which became popular from the mid-
to be falling into disuse. The singer Ian 1990s, in common with most com-
Dury included it in a stream of abuse pounds based on arse
featured on a 1978 record. ‘It [a student union function] was quite
arsehoeltobrekafast ime

arsehole to breakfast time adj, adv well planned this year – unlike the last
one, which was a complete arse-up.’
British (Recorded, London University student,
1. completely disorganised, ‘at sixes and October 1996)
sevens’. A picturesque, if fundamentally arsew-ipe

meaningless expression sometimes arse-wipe n

heard in Britain, especially in the north of a British version of ass-wipe

England. arsey adj British

It’s no good, it’s all arsehole to breakfast truculent, aggressive, bumptious. A
time in that office at the moment. vogue term among young people since
2. thoroughly, constantly, or the full dis- the late 1990s, also heard on US cam-
tance as, for instance, in the expression puses since 2000.

‘he kicked him from arsehole to breakfast arsy adj Australian

time’. This may be an allusion to the com- lucky. Usually said grudgingly or envi-
plete digestive process (breakfast time ously about someone who has managed
Slang.fm Page 13 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

13 asshole
to get away with something. (Arse in Aus- speech, pronounced letter by letter or
tralian slang may signify luck as well as as one word).
brazenness.) Asina masive

Asian massive, the Asian invasion n


Arthur Scargill n Irish British

an alcoholic drink. The name of the mili- a group, clique or gang of young (South)
tant leader of the UK miners’ union in the Asians. The phrase has been used e.g.
1980s was borrowed as a rhyme for gar- as an ethnic or social categorisation by
gle. university students since 2000. The innit-

artillery n crowd is a synonymous phrase. ‘It’s a col-

needles, hypodermic syringes and other lective term for Asian gangsters with
paraphernalia used by heroin addicts. mobile phones who hang out in the stu-
The image of an arsenal of deadly equip- dent common room’.

ment is typical of addicts’ own self-dram- ass n American

atising slang (as in shooting gallery, 1. the backside, buttocks, anus. The
harpoon, etc.) American spelling of the British arse.
Have you got the artillery ready, man? 2. sexual gratification. Usually used by

artist, -artist n, suffix men referring to women as anonymous

an expert in, or devotee of, a particular sex objects.
activity. The word can be added to many I’m going to grab me some ass.
others, but the most popular are 3. oneself, especially when thought of as
bull(shit)-artist, burn-artist, con-artist, an item to be manipulated
piss-artist, ripoff artist and sack artist. You gonna get yo’ ass killed!
This pattern entered modern British slang 4. Your ass is mine! ‘You are in my
via the armed forces in the 1950s and power!’ A phrase used triumphantly, typ-
1960s, and separately via American hippy ically by representatives of authority to
terminology of the late 1960s and early their victims
1970s. The ultimate geographical origin of 5. Your ass is grass. ‘You are in very seri-
the usage is obscure; it may have come ous trouble’. Usually said seriously as
into use spontaneously in several English- part of a threat or ruefully by a victim.
speaking areas, perhaps prompted by the Get it right or your ass is grass!
Edwardian habit of pompously applying 6. have one’s ass in a sling/ass on the line
‘artist’ or ‘artiste’ to performers in various to be in trouble, held responsible.
fields of expertise. See also the entries following and badass;

arty-farty, artsy-fartsy adj candyass; kick ass


pretentious, affected, more decorative -ass combining form

than useful. A more vulgar parallel of the term is used in American slang and,
the innocuous ‘arty-crafty’, which is more recently, in Caribbean and, occa-
Edwardian in origin and was usually sionally, British speech as an all-purpose
applied to the pseudo-rustic, as in the affix denoting an individual or example,
Arts and Crafts design movement of the combining with a noun or adjective as in
late 19th century. big-ass, ‘old-ass’, lame-ass
arvo as pa

arvo n Australian assap adv See asap

as b-andit

afternoon. An example of the Australian ass-bandit n American

tendency to abbreviate even the most a North American and Caribbean version
mundane everyday words. The tendency of arse bandit
is shared by nursery slang in general as hole

asshole n American
and, in Britain, especially the slang of 1. the anus. The American version of the
Liverpool. (Arvo is, however, uniquely British and Australian arsehole.
Australian.) 2. a very stupid person, someone who is
‘There’s no excuse for being in that state pathetically or offensively foolish. This
in the middle of the arvo!’ American word always implies contempt,
(Recorded, Australian tourist, London, but can also convey pity, unlike arsehole,
1989) which has overtones of real dislike. Since
as p

asap, assap adv the 1960s, British and Australian speak-

immediately, as soon as possible. The ers have adopted the American term in
spoken form of the commonly used ini- this sense, with its different spelling and
tials a.s.a.p. (sometimes also used in pronunciation, for their own use. The
Slang.fm Page 14 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

asshole buddy 14
word has become very widespread since euphemism typically used by police offic-
the late 1970s and has simultaneously ers or criminals themselves, from the
become a vulgarism rather than a taboo common colloquialism ‘at it again’, refer-
term. ring to any repeated and troublesome
‘It didn’t take very long to realise that he activity.
wasn’t a threat, just a total asshole.’ ‘Joey Ganguli is at it all the time.
(Recorded, US executive, London, 1988) He…earns his rolls of cash in the middle
3. a very unpleasant place of the Asian gang wars…in the East End
‘On top of a bleak, snow-swept hillside in of London.’
Hermon, Maine, which, if not the asshole (Guardian, 15 April 2004)
of the universe, is at least within farting atouch ofthetarb ush

a touch of the tarbrush n

distance of it.’ (having) a skin colour which suggests a
(Stephen King, Sunday Times magazine, trace of black or coloured ancestry. This
15 October 1989) euphemism, often heard in a discrimi-
ashoel budy

asshole buddy n American natory context, originated in the mid-

a very close friend or ally, a ‘bosom pal’. 19th century, when it was also used to
A term that is used in both jocular and refer to sailors (the tarbrush being used
unfriendly contexts. It was coined by, on board ship).
and is usually about, heterosexual men. atiude

as-kciker attitude n American

ass-kicker n American a bad attitude, antisocial behaviour,
an aggressive person, a disciplinarian; sullen hostility. This use of the word
someone who kicks ass. An armed- without ‘an’ or ‘the’ probably derives
forces term which has been adopted by from the black American prisoners’
students and school pupils, among oth- shortening of the white authority fig-
ers. ures’ phrases ‘bad/negative/antisocial
as-ksi re

ass-kisser n American attitude’ or their accusation, ‘You’ve got

a sycophant, flatterer or toady. The an attitude problem’.
expression is based on kiss ass. Audi!

as-licekr Audi! exclamation American

ass-licker n American goodbye. This announcement that one is
the American version of arse-licker leaving is probably a playful deformation

ass-load(s) n American of the phrase ‘I’m out of here’, punning

a large amount. Butt-load(s) is a syno- on the brand of German luxury car cov-
nym. eted by young males. It almost certainly
an ass-load of trouble originated in black street slang where the
ass-loads of money variant forms ‘Audi 5000!’ or simply

ass-out adj, adv American 5000! are also heard. By the mid-1990s,
a synonym of balls-out heard in the the term was also in use on campuses
1990s and among high-school students.
We’ve got to go ass-out to win this thing. AuntFlo

Aunt(ie) Flo n British

‘It was a whole ass-out crazy attempt to menstruation. The expression, playing
just finish the job on time.’ on the word flow, typically appears in
(Recorded, art dealer, Chicago, May the form ‘Aunt Flo is round today’ or
1996) ‘We’re expecting Auntie Flo’.
as oevrtincups/teacups

ass over tincups/teacups adv American auntei-man

auntie-man n See antiman

head over heels. A folksy American ver- Ausie

sion of the British arse over tip/tit. Aussie n, adj


ass-wipe n American (an) Australian


1. toilet paper. A working-class, blue-col- Aussie kiss n

lar or armed-forces term. cunnilingus. By analogy with French kiss
2. a worthless, contemptible person. A and the notion of ‘down under’, the
term popular in the 1970s and 1980s. phrase was in use among males in the

at it phrase British UK and Ireland in 2003.


1. having sex. A coy euphemism typically autograph n

used by schoolchildren or the middle- a signature. Autograph is underworld
aged. argot, typically denoting a signature on
2. committing a crime or crimes, or a cheque or document, whether forged
engaged in a confidence trick. A mild or genuine.
Slang.fm Page 15 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

15 Aztec two-step
’aveit! awrgiht!

’ave it! exclamation British awright! exclamation American

a cry of encouragement or triumph pop- an alternative spelling of all right. With
ularised by the media during the 2004 drawn-out pronunciation, this forms an
European Football Championship exclamatory expression of appreciation,
avitaion bolnde

aviation blonde n British agreement or solidarity in American Eng-

a female with blonde hair that is dyed lish.

rather than natural. The male witticism aws adj American

refers to the combination of ‘blonde hair, an abbreviated form of the fashionable
black box’. slang sense of awesome, popular with

’avin’ it large, ’avin’ it phrase British college students, particularly females,

enjoying oneself, behaving boisterously. since the 1990s

Synonyms for largeing it associated axe n

especially with club culture since the a guitar. The word in this sense was
later 1990s. enthusiastically adopted by white rock
awalk ni htepark

a walk in the park n musicians in the late 1960s. Black

a very easy task, painless experience. blues and jazz musicians had originally
The phrase probably originated in Amer- applied it to any instrument (such as a
ican usage. saxophone) that was held in both hands
awya-dya and ‘wielded’. By the early 1970s the
away-day n British white use of the word, which had always
a single dose of LSD or another hallucino- had an element of self-consciousness,
genic drug. A pun on the notion of a trip was mainly confined to rock music jour-
and the name of a cheap excursion ticket nalists or fans.
on British Rail. aya!

awya withthefaire/spixes aya! exclamation American

away with the fairies/pixies adj, adv an exclamation of amazement in vogue
distracted, absent-minded, in a reverie. among teenagers in 1987 and 1988.
The first version of the phrase is com- The word may be a hearty cry or, more
mon in Scottish usage, the second is often, an affected shriek (possibly in
more often heard in Australia. Both imitation of Hispanic speech).
derive ultimately from the folk belief ayea-yeshepehrd’spie!

that forces from the fairy world can aye-aye shepherd’s pie!, aye-aye
abduct, enchant or derange human vic- Popeye! exclamation British
tims. these joky expressions of agreement or
awseome compliance originated among primary
awesome adj and junior schoolchildren, but during
wonderful, excellent, very impressive. A the early 1990s were adopted as catch-
popular teenage word, first used in the phrases by adults, particularly those
USA in the late 1970s and 1980s as part working in advertising, the media and
of the vocabulary of Valley Girls, preppies finance in London.
and hip hop music enthusiasts, among Compare okey-dokey, artichokey!; oy-oy,
others. This use of the adjective was saveloy!
imported into Britain in the 1980s, espe- Ayrotn

cially by teenage skateboarders and rap Ayrton (Senna) n British

music enthusiasts. a tenner, a £10 note. The rhyming slang
term, borrowing the name of the late
awol, A.W.O.L. adj Brazilian Formula One racing driver,
missing, not present when needed. The was still in use among London students
expression has been extended, espe- in 2004.
cially by British middle-class speakers, I’ve only got an Ayrton left to last me the
from its original meaning in army jargon month!
of ‘absent without leave’ to inexplicably ay otrpi!

absent, either with the implication of ay yo trip! exclamation

fleeing to avoid responsibilities, or wan- an exhortation or cry of solidarity used in
dering uncontrolled or running amok. hip hop and rap milieus
Aztce wto-step

‘Ollie’s gone awol again; he disappeared Aztec two-step, the Aztec two-step n
with a bottle and no one’s seen him for an attack of diarrhoea, particularly one
days.’ suffered while travelling abroad. The
(Recorded, upper-class youth, London, image is of the agitation caused by
1985) impending diarrhoea or, more specifi-
Slang.fm Page 16 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

Aztec two-step 16
cally, the frantic and undignified while on holiday in Mexico, and is a late
clenched shuffle to the nearest toilet or 1970s alternative to Montezuma’s
bush. This parody of a dance title was revenge or the British gyppy tummy and
coined by Americans who tend to suffer Delhi belly.
Slang.fm Page 17 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

the 1990s. Fanny-magnet is a more vulgar

B n American
a friend, peer. The abbreviation of British variant.

buddy and/or bro(ther) is used as a babes, the babes n, adj

greeting between males, particularly in (something) excellent, superlative. The
black street usage. usage, based on ‘babes’ as a term of
Hey B, how’re they hangin’? endearment and by analogy with the
Compare G colloquial expression ‘the tops’, has
been recorded in Scotland and is some-
B.A. n American times heard elsewhere.
a troublesome, violent or antisocial per-
son. An abbreviation of badass or ‘bad I tell you, it’s the babes!
attitude’. The letters were used as the ini- The do round Kirsty’s last night was
tials of the surly black hero ‘B.A. Baracas’ babia-maojra

played by Mr T in the US television series babia-majora n American

The A-Team in the 1980s. an extremely attractive woman or
women. A jocular item of ersatz slang
bab n British invented for the cult US TV comedy
a (doner or shish) kebab. An item of stu- sketches and movie Wayne’s World, by
dent slang in use in London and else- alteration of the Latin designation of the
where since around 2000. outer female genitals labia majora.
We’re going to pick up a bab and then babyblues

back to watch the match. baby blues n pl

the eyes. A humorous adult phrase from
babber n British the clichéd, twee or amorous descrip-
a. a baby or infant tion, ‘baby-blue eyes’.
b. a friend, companion, ‘mate’ babydyke

The term was in use in 2003 and 2004, es-

babydyke n American
a teenage lesbian or girl of ‘lesbian
pecially in the Bristol area and South
appearance’. ‘This refers to the young
generation of lesbians who are currently
babe, babes, baby n of high-school and college age; marked
a. a sweetheart, lover. A usage imported by their short and/or dyed hair, multiple
from the USA into Britain via films, pop piercings and wallet chains. Not a
songs, etc. The word had begun to be derogatory term unless used in a derog-
used unself-consciously in Britain in the atory fashion’. (Recorded, US college
late 1970s, particularly in the form babes student, 2002).
and mainly by working-class speakers. It babygirafe

baby giraffe n British

is used by both sexes, but when used by half a pint of beer. A piece of rhyming
men to women it can be considered pat- slang in vogue among pub habitués
ronising or offensive. since 2000.
b. in the form a ‘babe’, an attractive Babyoln

female. The word became a key term in

Babylon n British
a. racist white society, Britain. The term
male adolescent speech, first in the USA originates in the biblical imagery of the
and, later, elsewhere from the late rastas, but has spread, largely via the
1980s. medium of reggae music, to other black
See also robobabe youth and disaffected whites.

babe-magnet n b. the Babylon the police force when

an attractive or supposedly irresistible viewed as tokens of oppression or white
male. A common characterisation from racist authority. A specific usage of the
Slang.fm Page 18 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

baccy 18
more general term for society, now widely

backfire vb
heard among white youth. to fart. A term which is in use in Aus-

baccy n British tralia and has been heard occasionally

tobacco. This now rather dated alteration in Britain, especially among schoolchil-
of the standard term replaced the previ- dren, since the 1950s.
ous forms ‘bacca’ and ‘bacco’ early in the back garden

back garden, back way, backdoor n

20th century. (Cannabis was known joc- the anus. Predictable euphemisms
ularly in the 1960s and 1970s as wacky which are invariably used in a sexual
baccy.) context, usually by heterosexuals.
bacy bilup

baccy billup n British back intheday

back in the day adv, adj

a cigarette. In playground parlance since ‘when I was younger’ or ‘in the past’. An
2000. Baccy is an old abbreviation of item of black street-talk used especially
tobacco; billup may be an alteration of by males, recorded in 2003. The phrase
build (up) in the slang sense of construct, is from Caribbean usage.
e.g. a hand rolled cigarette or joint. back ofBourke,the

bacheloerte back of Bourke, the n Australian

bachelorette n British the ‘back of beyond’. Bourke is a remote
a single woman. A humorous categorisa- town in northern New South Wales.
tion used by students since 2000. backsid ng

backsiding n British
back n American chastising, denigrating, punishing.
a. the backside, buttocks, especially if
large or prominent. This term from black Heard in black British usage, this term
probably originated in Caribbean patois.
American usage became popularised via
the rap lyrics to ‘Baby Got Back’ by Sir ‘She give him a real good backsiding.’
Mix-A-Lot (1991). (Recorded, black female student, Lon-
b. a female or females seen as potential don, January 1997)

or actual sexual partners. As in the case backslang n

of ass, the preceding sense quickly backslang, in which a word or alteration
became generalised in this way. of a word is reversed, enjoyed some pop-

back-assed adj American ularity in Britain, chiefly among members

a. backwards, reversed of the underworld, the sub-proletariat
You got it all back-assed. and certain trades such as meat porter-
b. perverse or clumsy ing. It is also sometimes used by school-
children to disguise taboo conversations.
a back-assed way of doing things
backdo r Forms of backslang exist in other Euro-
backdoor vb pean languages, notably in the Parisian
a. to commit adultery (with) verlan which is still thriving. The only
‘In Australia, you’d never get away with well-known ‘mainstream’ example of
some of the things I’ve seen here be- backslang is yob from boy.
cause you’d get a punch in the mouth. Compare pig Latin
We don’t go in for backdooring someone backsnugring

else’s woman.’ backsnurging n British

(Jamie Addicoat, fitness instructor, Ob- sniffing female underwear for sexual
server, 30 April 1989) pleasure
b. to act illicitly, covertly or deviously; to ‘We’ve discovered how the EastEnders
deceive or betray actor, who plays Dirty Den, is a secret
backdo rman
backdoor man n (Sunday Sport, 9 May 2004)
a. a secret lover, especially a married back-ot-abckwith

woman’s lover. The term is originally back-to-back with adj, adv

black American slang dating from at least showing solidarity, in full support or
the 1950s. agreement. The usage probably origi-
‘I’m your backdoor man… the men don’t nated in black speech in the Caribbean
know, but the little girls understand.’ and/or North America.

(‘Back Door Man’, recorded by The back-up n, adj

Doors, 1968) (someone who is) prepared to use force
b. a man who sodomises. This usage is on behalf of or otherwise show solidarity
mainly applied to and by heterosexuals. with (a friend). The term, deriving from
The Australian ‘backdoor merchant’ the colloquial verb phrase ‘back (some-
means a homosexual. one) up’, was first part of the vocabulary
Slang.fm Page 19 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

19 bag
of gangs, and since around 2000 whites, but has not spread to Britain or
extended to other speakers. Australia.
back way

back way n See back garden their badass biker style

He’s been a badass since he was a kid.
backy n British bad-boy

a ride on the back of someone’s bicycle. bad-boy n British

a youth, especially a tough or admirable
Compare croggie male. A 1990s synonym for rude-boy or

bacon n American roughneck first used by black gang mem-

a police officer or the police in general. bers before being adopted by other teen-
One of several terms in underworld and agers and younger schoolchildren. Like
student usage inspired by the 1960s epi- those terms, it is typical of the tendency
thet pig. It can occur in the form of ‘(the) among transgressive subcultures to
bacon’ for the police in general or ‘a adopt for the purposes of irony and bra-
bacon’, denoting an individual officer. vado the pejorative language of their crit-
If you ask me he’s bacon. ics (as in bad, wicked, etc.)

It’s the bacon, let’s book! badmash n, adj


bacon band n British (someone who is) naughty, dissolute. A

a bulging midriff as displayed eg between term used by Hindi speakers and by
abbreviated top and low-cut trousers/ other Asians in the UK.

skirt. A synonym for muffin top recorded bad mind adj

in 2006. malevolent, malicious. An Afro-Carib-
bean usage which has been picked up by
bad1 adj UK wiggas, etc. since 2000.
good. Originally from the terminology of badmouth

the poorest black Americans, either as badmouth vb

simple irony or based on the assumption to insult, denigrate or disparage. An
that what is bad in the eyes of the white Americanism, probably originating in
establishment is good for them, this black speech, which was imported into
usage spread via jazz musicians in the British usage during the 1970s.

1950s to teenagers in the 1970s. It is still bad news n

primarily a black term, although it is a person who is unwelcome or disliked,
occasionally used, rather self-con- a bore or troublemaker. A usage that
sciously, by white teenagers in the USA was imported to Britain from the USA at
and, under the influence of rap and hip the end of the 1960s.
hop, in Britain since the early 1980s. baf

baff vb, n South African

This use of bad is normally distinguished (to) fart
from its opposite, literal meaning by a bafed

baffed, baft adj British

long drawn-out pronunciation. The baffled, confused, incapable. This
superlative form is ‘baddest’. abbreviation of baffled has been a
‘In hip hop slang “that’s bad” can mean vogue word among teenagers and some
“that’s good”, depending on the tone of young adults in the London area since
voice.’ the mid-1990s.
(Evening Standard, 11 November 1987) bafling

bad baffling adj British

bad2 n American difficult. The standard term became
a fault, mistake. A key item of black generalised as a vogue word among
street slang that was adopted by white younger speakers from around 2000,
adolescents in the 1990s, usually in possibly originating in Caribbean usage.
the form ‘my bad!’, an acknowledgment bag1 n

of guilt or blame. 1. an unattractive and/or unpleasant

bad s

badass n, adj American woman. This usage originated in the early

(a person who is) aggressive, antisocial 20th century with the idea of a shapeless,
or worthless. The word, first popular heavy or burdensome female, previously
among black Americans, is almost expressed as ‘baggage’.
always now used with an element of 2. one’s special interest or current preoc-
approval or admiration, albeit some- cupation, sphere of activity. This usage
times grudging. The ‘ass’ component came into vogue in Britain among the
simply signifies ‘individual’. In the beatniks and later the hippies in the
1970s the term came into use among 1960s. It was derived from black Ameri-
Slang.fm Page 20 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

bag 20
can jazz terminology, where it meant a Kent in 2003, defined as denoting ‘fit
‘category’ or ‘style’. By the early 1980s men’.
the term had become distinctly dated. Compare baigel
‘Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.’ bagel-bender

bagel-bender n
(Song title, James Brown, 1965) a Jew. A derogatory nickname, used
3. American a package or some meas- principally in the USA, based on the
ured amount of marihuana or another name of the baked bread rings that are
drug. The custom of American street a Jewish culinary delicacy.
dealers of grass was, and is, to sell small Compare spaghetti-eater; taco-bender
amounts in paper envelopes or cello- bag er

bagger n American
phane bags, typically ‘dime bags’ or an ugly, repellent person. The term is a
‘nickel bags’. shortening of double-bagger and, like that
See also bagger; double-bagger phrase, was in use among adolescent
4. British the sum of £1,000 in the slang and pubescent speakers in the 1990s.
of city traders. Unlike bar, pony and other bag ies

baggies n pl
similar terms, this seems to be a fairly long, wide shorts as worn by surfers
recent coinage. It is said to be based on since the 1960s
the rhyme ‘bag of sand’: grand. ‘We’ll be wearin’ our baggies, huarache
It’ll cost you at least a bag. sandals, too.’
(‘Surfin’ USA’, the Beach Boys, 1963)

bag2 vb bag y

1a. to arrest or catch. This subsense of baggy n British

the word is encountered in police usage, 1. (a devotee of) the Manchester music
from the terminology of hunters. scene of the early 1990s. The so-called
1b. to have or take. In this sense the word ‘baggy scene’ probably took its name
is used as a synonym for ‘grab’ or ‘cop’ in from the very loose clothing affected by
such instances as ‘let’s bag some beers’. devotees of rave, acid house and indie
The usage also occurs in American ado- subcultures.
lescent argot, which includes phrases For a while we were really into baggy.
such as ‘bag some z’s/rays’. 2. an unfashionable, unattractive individ-
2a. American to conceal or suppress ual. In this pejorative sense the word,
2b. to give up or abandon recorded among students and young
adults since the later 1990s to refer to a
‘Maybe I should bag this tugboat busi- supposed frump or drabbie, is either an
ness and go into politics.’ elaboration of the colloquial ‘(old) bag’,
(Legwork, US TV series, 1986) influenced by the homely images of
2c. to dismiss, fire baggy cardigans and tweeds, or possibly
These usages, popular especially among by bag lady.
bag ojb

teenagers, are all related by their sugges- bag job n

tion of discarding someone or something a theft or burglary. An underworld term
with the trash. Similar meanings of bag heard in Britain but more widespread in
were heard occasionally in Britain before the USA; not to be confused with a paper
1950. bag job.
bag aldy

3. Australian to criticise. A ‘bagging’ is a bag lady n

verbal attack or strong criticism. a female vagrant, specifically one who
4. also bag up American to divide mari- through obsession or necessity collects
huana into small amounts and/or pack- junk and carries it in bags. The term
ages before selling it originated in the USA in the early
5. American See bag one’s face/head 1970s; by the late 1980s it was occa-
sionally also being used, there and else-
bagaza n South African where, to denote any excessively scruffy
a gun, especially a handgun. Recorded female.
as an item of Sowetan slang in the Cape bag man

Sunday Times, 29 January 1995. bag man n

1. someone who collects or looks after
bagel n British money made illegally. An underworld and
an attractive male. A term, possibly from police term originating in the USA
Jewish usage, employed by young between the world wars and first applied
women since 2000, it was recorded in to those sent by gangsters to collect
Slang.fm Page 21 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

21 bake
extortion payments, illicit revenues or
bagsome ez s

bag some zees vb American

bribes. to sleep. An alternative version of cop
‘Before I got promoted I used to be a bag some zees.
man for Kellom – just nickel and dime bagsy!

bagsy! exclamation
a schoolchildren’s term that indicates
(The Big Easy, US film, 1986)
the speaker’s choice of seat, cake, bed,
2. a (male) tramp or vagrant, specifically etc.
one who collects and carries garbage in Bagsy the one with the chocolate icing!
bags baho ike

bag of bahookie n British

bag off vb British the anus. The term, of unknown deriva-
a. to have sex tion, was used by the comic Scottish
b. to be sexually promiscuous or unfaith- character Rab C. Nesbitt in the BBC 2
ful TV comedy of the same name in 1994.
A working-class usage heard particularly baide

baidie adj British

in the north of England since the late bad-tempered, aggressive, provocative.
1990s. An obscure term which is probably a dia-
bag ofruti

bag of fruit n Australian lect version of batey.

a suit (of clothes). An item of native

baigel n South African

rhyming slang. a spoilt young male. The term, which is
all done up in his best bag of fruit derived from Yiddish (‘bagels’ are the
baked bread rings often taken as
bag on

bag on (someone) vb American

to insult or deride. A term from black emblematic of Jewish exiles’ culture),
street slang from the 1990s, it is probably has a female counterpart, which is kugel.
adapted from earlier slang senses of bag Both refer to the notion of young Jewish
as in to dismiss, abandon, etc. but is people epitomising chic urban circles in
unlikely to be related to the similar Aus- South Africa since the 1990s.

tralian use of ‘bagging’ to mean criticism. bail vb American

bag one’sfaceh/ead

bag one’s face/head vb American to leave (in a hurry). A teenagers’ short-

to hide one’s face or oneself. Invariably ening of ‘bail out’. The word has been
used as an imperative, as in ‘Go bag your fashionable among Valley Girls and oth-
face!’. This expression was popular ers since the late 1970s.

among Valley Girls and other middle- bail/bale on someone vb American

class teenagers. It implies that the person to oppress, burden or trouble someone.
in question is too hideous to contemplate The bail or bale in question may derive
and should put a bag over their head. from cotton picking, as in the words
See also bag someone’s ass from Ole Man River; ‘tote that barge, lift
that bale, get a little drunk and you
bagpipe vb lands in jail’, or may refer to bailing as
to engage in sexual stimulation using in dumping water (on). The expression
the armpit rather than the usual ori- is typically used by teenagers and stu-
fices. A term whose rarity presumably dents.
corresponds to that of the practice. bait

bags bait n
bags n pl an attractive potential sexual partner.
1. trousers. The word has had this mean- This term was used in the 1950s and
ing since the mid-19th century and sur- 1960s, either alone or in compounds
vives, usually in a humorous context. such as bed-bait and the surviving jail-
2. American female breasts bait.
bag osmoenes’ as

bag someone’s ass vb American bake n British

to leave, go away, ‘get lost’. The expres- a hideaway or refuge. This example of
sion literally means to thrust into a gar- the jargon of cat burglars was recorded
bage bag and throw away. in FHM magazine in April 1996 and
‘She had no intention of having lunch defined as ‘a place to lay low while the
with him and that was that … Why constabulary run hither and thither in
couldn’t she simply tell him to bag his pursuit’. The precise origin of the term
ass?’ is uncertain, but it may come from the
(The Switch, Elmore Leonard, 1978) notion of the prison bakehouse as a
Slang.fm Page 22 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

baked 22
place where inmates can withdraw or hippy era, has rarely been used in Britain
hide illicit objects. or Australia. Originally an item of black

baked adj American argot, it gained wider popularity in the

stoned. The term usually refers to the early 1960s and, as its anatomical origin
effects of marihuana and implies a milder suggests, is generally a male usage.
intoxication than fried. ‘Presley fired me because I balled his old
baked bena,the
baked bean, the n British (The singer P. J. Proby, interviewed in
the Queen. An authentic item of rhym-
ing slang.
baknigbrownies 2. to behave in a boisterous, fun-loving
baking brownies n American and uninhibited way; to ‘have a ball’. The
breaking wind, farting. An expression term usually implies dancing, but also a
used on campus in the USA since degree of Bacchanalian, even orgiastic
around 2000. revelry far beyond that signified by the
bakshe sh

baksheesh, bakshee n standard English (hunt or charity) ball.

a bribe, tip or payment. From the colo- ‘Good golly, Miss Molly, you sure like to
nial era, the word is from the Persian ball!’
bakshish, meaning something given. (Little Richard, [ambiguous] song lyrics,

bald adj American 1958)

terrible. A vogue term among American 3. to play basketball
teenagers in 1987 and 1988. The ori- 4a. to behave ostentatiously
gins of this kind of appropriation from 4b. to excel in a particular field
standard English are unrecorded, but These senses of the word probably derive
often begin in gang code or street jar- from black speech of the 1940s and later
gon. in which to ball meant to celebrate or enjoy

bald-headed hermit n American oneself, itself influenced by the phrase

the penis. A humorous euphemism now ‘have a ball’.
used typically by adolescent males, bal

ball2 n American
although the expression seems to have a stupid and/or obnoxious person. The
originated in educated British slang of slang for testicle has also been used as
the 19th century. (Also, perhaps coinci- an insult by British junior-school pupils.
dentally, in US slang of the turn of the bal andchain

20th century, ‘bald-headed’, as well as ball and chain n

its literal sense, could mean both fool- a spouse, usually one’s wife. This jocu-
ish and deceitful.) lar phrase was heard in English-speak-

Baldwin n American ing areas throughout the 20th century

an attractive male. This vogue word and is still sometimes used ironically.

among Californian high-school students ball-breaker, ball-buster n

was featured in the 1994 US film Clue- a. a very aggressive, dominant or
less, with its female counterpart Betty demanding woman
and its antonym Barney. The choice of b. an excessively hard taskmaster or mar-
the proper name may be arbitrary or may tinet
be inspired by the name of a celebrity c. an exhausting, demanding task.
(such as Alec Baldwin, star of romantic Compare ball-tearer
TV mini-series and Hollywood movies).
badlyman,the All these terms were adopted in Britain
baldy man, the n Scottish and Australia in the 1970s from American
the penis. To ‘make the baldy man cry’ usage.
is to stimulate a male to orgasm. The baler

term was posted on the b3ta website in baller n American

2004. a male who is successful and/or ostenta-
Bailbely tious. This usage, originating in black
Bali belly n Australian speech, probably derives from the verb
an attack of diarrhoea. The Australian ball and the noun ballin’. The word has
traveller’s equivalent of Delhi belly, Mon- also been used in the argot of Los Ange-
tezuma’s revenge, gyppy tummy, etc. les gangs to mean a prominent or wealthy
ball1 vb American

drug dealer. Another derivation claims

1. to have sex (with). An American term that it refers to ‘ball players’ who have
which, apart from a brief vogue in the escaped the ghetto.
Slang.fm Page 23 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

23 bambaclaat
found in the phrase to ‘make a balls of

ballin’ n
behaving ostentatiously. An American- it/something’.
ism of the later 1990s heard occasion- 5. American money, dollars. This usage
ally in the UK since 2000. The usage was recorded in the later 1990s among
originated in black speech of the 1940s adolescents. Bollers and boyz are British
and has been defined as ‘…carrying on synonyms.
in a flash fashion, as used by hip hop ‘It’s gonna cost you mucho balls.’
types…’. (Recorded, teenager, North London,
balistic June 1995)
ballistic adj bals-ache

furious, uncontrollable. This use of the balls-ache n British

something which or someone who is
term, often in the phrase ‘go ballistic’,
very tedious or trying
has become a common expression since bals-out

the 1990s. It probably originated, balls-out adj

unsurprisingly, in the slang of the full-scale, full-tilt. A vulgar version of
armed forces, where it is still common. all-out, this fairly uncommon intensify-
‘I totally choked; my father is going to go
ing expression is normally used by
ballistic on me.’ males.

(Clueless, US film, 1995) balls up vb

balisticated to make a mess of. In this mainly British
ballisticated adj British expression, balls performs as a regular
enraged, infuriated. A more recent for- verb (‘ballsing up’ and ‘ballsed up’ being
mation from the earlier ‘go ballistic’, typ- conjugated forms). To ‘ball up’ is an
ically used by middle-class and/or American alternative.
middle-aged speakers. bals-up

balls-up n
He was totally ballisticated. a mess, mistake, disaster. This expres-
balo n

balloon n British sion has been in use in Britain since the

a boastful or loudmouthed individual, a turn of the 20th century.

blowhard or puff-bucket. The term is ballsy adj

heard particularly in the Scottish Low- courageous, spirited. A vulgar alternative
lands and the north of England. to gutsy. The word can be applied to
Aw, take no notice of the big balloon. either sex.
balo ns

balloons n pl ball-tearer n Australian

female breasts 1. a very demanding or exhausting task
2. something spectacular or sensationally
The jocular nickname/euphemism, popu- impressive
lar since 2000, is used by males.
These are versions of the international
balls n pl English ball-breaker.
1. the testicles. A predictable use of the balitc

baltic adj
word, balls was first used as a euphe- cold, freezing. It is not clear where and
mism in Renaissance England, later when this usage originated, but it was
becoming a standard, if coarse synonym. recorded among US college students
2. rubbish, nonsense. This use of the and UK adults from the late 1990s.
word, except perhaps as an exclamation, It’s bloody baltic in here!
is surprisingly acceptable in middle-class ’bama

’bama n American
speech (in such phrases as ‘it’s all balls’), an unfashionable, unsophisticated or
considering its derivation. otherwise unfortunate person. The
‘He was awarded a campaign medal, term, originating in hip hop culture and
“but I didn’t go to get mine. I wasn’t inter- in more generalised usage since 2000,
ested; I thought it was all balls”.’ evokes a provincial bumpkin. In black
(Falklands war veteran quoted in the Ob- speech Alabama was a generic term for
server review of The Fight for the Malvi- ‘the southern USA’. It means a person
nas by Martin Middlebrook, 9 April 1989) who cannot dress; a loser, backwards or
3. courage, nerve. In this sense the word unsophisticated person, it’s rap-speak,
may now be applied to women in spite of short for Alabama.
the anatomical inconsistency.
bambacal t

bambaclaat, bombaclaat, bambaseed n

4. a mess. This is a modern, mainly mid- a. a male homosexual
dle-class shortening of balls-up, usually b. a despicable (male) individual
Slang.fm Page 24 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

bammy 24
The words are based on a dialect pronun- less milk-bottle thieves; ‘gas-meter ban-
ciation of ‘bum-cloth’ as signifying both dit’ is self-explanatory.
anal contact and something worthless. bnadit

bandit2 vb Caribbean

bammy n, adj British to steal or borrow without permission.

(a person who is) crazy, eccentric. The The term was recorded in Trinidad and
term, originating as a dialect version of Tobago in 2003. Synonyms are raf and
the colloquial ‘barmy’, is heard particu- sprang.
larly in the Scottish Lowlands and the bnag

bang1 vb
north of England. 1. to have sex (with), fuck. The associa-

bam-stick n British tion with striking (as in the origin of the

a foolish or crazy person. The phrase is word ‘fuck’ itself) is said to suggest the
derived from bammy (the dialect version masculine role in sex, but in practice the
of ‘barmy’), and is used particularly in the unaffectionate term can also apply to
north of England and lowland Scotland. women, especially in Australian usage
The ‘stick’ component may be a combin- where it is more common than in Amer-
ing form denoting a person, or may refer ica. In Britain ‘bang’ in this sense has
to an actual stick used to pick up barm only been widely understood since the
(the froth on fermenting yeast). late 1960s. It was introduced via the

banana n phrase gang bang and the following

1. a foolish person. This childish term of expression.
mild abuse is now obsolescent in Britain, ‘You’re banging a major witness in a case
but predictably is still heard in post-colo- you’re trying?!’
nial English in the Indian subcontinent, (The Last Innocent Man, US film, 1987)
Malaysia, the Caribbean, etc. The 1950s 2. American to be an active gang mem-
term nana was a shorter form. ber. From the parlance of Los Angeles
2. the penis. The mock nursery term street gangs of the late 1980s, derived
tummy banana is more common. from the specific sense of gangbanger.
3. American a light-skinned black He’s been banging for two years now.
woman. A term used by black men which 3. to do something stupid. An item of
is both appreciative and offensive. street slang in London since 2000.
4. an Oriental person who affects white
bang2 n

manners or collaborates with the white

establishment. A term used by both white 1a. a sexual act. An unaffectionate term
and Oriental-language speakers, e.g. in used more often by men. In this sense
Hong Kong and on US campuses. the word does not seem to be older than
bana s
the 20th century.
bananas adj a quick bang
crazy or berserk. This now common col-
loquialism originated either in the 1b. a person rated as a sexual partner
notion of ‘softness’ (in the head) or from a good bang
the archaic ‘banana oil’, ‘soft soap’ or 2. Australian a brothel. The word is now
‘balderdash’. rather archaic, but is still heard among
bana truck

banana truck n American older speakers.

a crazy person. An expression which 3a. an exciting experience, a thrill. In this
evokes a whole truck-full of bananas, sense the word goes in and out of vogue,
hence an excess of ‘softness’ (in the particularly among schoolchildren in
head). many parts of the English-speaking
bandit1 n British

1. a homosexual. A dismissive or derisory 3b. a great success, a very popular per-

term used by avowedly heterosexual son or thing
males and deriving from longer expres- 3c. an injection of illicit drugs, especially
sions such as trouser bandit, arse bandit, heroin, morphine or amphetamines, or
chocolate bandit, etc. the resulting jolt of pleasure. From the
2. -bandit an ironic or jocular combining lexicon of drug users and addicts, origi-
word, added to suggest a desperate or nating in the 1940s or earlier and related
reprehensible character or, in police jar- to the more recent verb bang up.

gon, literally a criminal. In his Field Man- banged-up adj British

ual for Police (1977) David Powis cites imprisoned, shut away. From the second
‘milk bandit’ as an ironic term for penni- sense of the verb to bang up.
Slang.fm Page 25 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

25 banjo’d
‘A banged-up man’s no good to me. I

bang to rights adj, adv British

want to enjoy life, not spend it in prison caught red-handed, without hope of
waiting-rooms.’ escape. This 19th-century expression
(Recorded, drug-dealer’s girlfriend, Lon- (paralleled in American English by dead
don, 1984) to rights) is usually heard in the form
‘caught bang to rights’ or ‘we’ve got him/

banger n
1. a sausage. The word has been com- her bang to rights’ (i.e. helpless, indefen-
mon in this sense since the 1940s. It sible). Until the 1970s the term was part
derives of course from the explosion of of the restricted codes of the police and
the skin during frying. underworld; since then the phrase has
2. an old and/or decrepit vehicle been given wider currency, particularly
bangign by the realist plays of G. F. Newman.
banging1 adj bangup

bang up vb
exciting, powerful. Like its contemporar- 1. to inject oneself (with heroin or another
ies kicking and slamming, this term was hard drug). One of many drug-users’
in vogue from the early 1990s, especially terms with overtones of bravado. Popular
among devotees of rave culture. in Britain in the late 1960s and early
one banging gig 1970s.
I tell you, it was banging. 2. British to imprison, shut away. A work-

banging2 n American ing-class, police and prisoners’ term.

a shooting. An item of black street slang ‘Being banged up’s no joke, even in an
of the 1990s. open prison.’
bang intheboat
(Recorded, remand prisoner, 1986)
bang (someone) in the boat vb British bang-up

to punch (someone) in the mouth or bang-up adj American

face excellent, exciting. The term occurred
bangi’nweights particularly in campus usage in the later
bangin’ weights n British 1990s, but was also recorded in British
working out as physical exercise (not slang in the early 19th century where it
necessarily referring only to weight- was a shortening of phrases such as
training). An item of black street-talk ‘bang up to the mark’.
used especially by males, recorded in banjaxed

banjaxed adj Irish

2003. defeated, overcome or overwhelmed. A

bangles n pl humorous term from the early 20th cen-

a. female breasts tury, often used ruefully by husbands
b. the testicles. By association with the floored or humiliated in a domestic dis-
idea of adornment, as in family jewels, pute. This Irish word, probably formed
and with ‘dangle’. by association with ‘banged’, ‘bashed’
Both usages are most often heard among and ‘smashed’, has been popularised in
teenagers and schoolchildren all over the Britain by the Irish broadcaster, Terry
English-speaking world. Wogan, who used it as the title of a book
bang on
in 1980. It can now be extended to
bang on vb British mean stunned, flummoxed, amazed,
to nag, harangue or talk incessantly and drunk, etc.
boringly. A popular term since the banjo

banjo vb British
1980s in ‘respectable’ usage. to force entry, break in, especially by
She’s been banging on about her bloody means of the battering device to which
job all evening. the name has been given, based roughly
bang toByrties

bang to Byrites adj British on its shape. (Previously, shovels were

(of a male) dressed in poor taste/cheap known as banjos.) An item of police
clothing. The phrase is a play on the slang heard in the 1990s.
expression bang to rights (guilty or caught ‘We’re going to go round and banjo the
in the act) and Mr Byrite, the name of a house.’
now defunct chain of men’s clothing (Police officer, Network First, ITV docu-
stores. ‘Caught wearing cheap clothing mentary, February 1996)

as in footballers other than Michael Owen banjo’d, banjoed adj British

and David Beckham’. a. hopelessly drunk or under the influ-
He was caught bang to Byrites in that ence of drugs. A jocular invention, per-
purple shellsuit. haps influenced by banjaxed and
Slang.fm Page 26 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

bank 26
sometimes heard among students and

bar! exclamation British

schoolchildren in the 1970s and the an exclamation of dismissal or refusal,
1980s. synonymous to its users with the collo-
‘…stupid how they strut, smoking Wood- quial ‘no way’. The term was recorded in
bines till they’re banjoed smirking at the use among North London schoolboys in
Swedish smut’ 1993 and 1994.
(Psycle Sluts, poem by John Cooper barb

Clark, 1978)
barb n
a barbiturate. A shortening employed by
b. defeated, beaten. An armed-forces drug abusers since the late 1950s.
term of the late 1970s and 1980s. There
‘We did a load of barbs and spent the rest
may be a connection with banjaxed or of the day nailed to the floor.’
with the archaic use of ‘banjo’ to mean a (Recorded, student, Faversham, Kent,
shovel or weapon. 1974)
bank1 n American


money. A teenage vogue word of 1987 barbie n Australian

and 1988. The term was picked up by a barbecue. A common term since the
British rap, hip hop and acid house late 1960s, now spreading via Australian
enthusiasts and was still in use in 2004. TV soap operas to Britain where it has
Got any bank? been adopted by yuppies in particular.
‘Australia was full of easy-going charac-
bank2 adj American

ters like Paul Hogan, who spent the day

inferior, unpleasant. A fashionable pejo- drinking Fosters and putting a shrimp on
rative in black street slang since the the barbie.’
1990s, the term may be a blend of, or (Michael Parkinson, Daily Mirror, 17 April
inspired by, terms such as bunk and 1989)
rank, but the noun ‘bank’ was used to Babrie

mean ‘toilet’ in black slang of the 1940s Barbie (Doll) n

and 1950s. Yet another proposed deriva- a vacuous, passive and/or conformist
tion is from ‘bankrupt’. young woman. Barbie is the trademark
name of the well-known plastic doll
banked adj American originating in the USA.
drunk. An expression used on campus bare

in the USA since around 2000. bare adj Caribbean


BAP n American 1. only

a ‘black American princess’. A coinage There’s bare wiggas here!
based on the earlier JAP. 2. very
Compare buppie 3. a large amount or number
bap-head He’s got bare magazines.
bap-head n British
a foolish person. An item of playground The usage has become fashionable
slang in use since the later 1990s, pos- among young speakers of all ethnic back-
sibly borrowed from an older generation. grounds in the UK since 2000.
barebakc irdnig

baps n pl British bareback riding n

female breasts. The expression, used having sex without a condom. A phrase
typically by young males in the Midlands possibly originating among prostitutes
and north of England and Scotland, bor- and pornographers, now widespread in
rows the name of the small, round bread colloquial speech.

bun sold in various regions of the UK. barf vb American

Muffins is an equivalent North American to vomit. A popular student term dating
usage. from the 1950s. The word is imitative

bar n British in origin and is sometimes used as an

a. one million pounds or one million dol- exclamation of disgust.

lars in the argot of London City traders. barf bag n American

Used in this sense the word is probably a a. a disgusting or very unpleasant per-
revival of the Romany bar or ‘baur(o)’ son. A teenagers’ slightly less offensive
which used to mean one sovereign or one version of scumbag.
pound and was still heard among street ‘Word on the street is that you barf bags
traders and prison inmates in the 1960s. are giving the kids in the 7th grade a hard
b. one pound. time.’
See also half a bar (Vice Versa, US film, 1988)
Slang.fm Page 27 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

27 base
b. an airsickness bag. The term is rarely

barney n British
used in this sense, which derives from an argument, fight or disturbance. Per-
the verb barf meaning ‘to vomit’. haps surprisingly the origin of this com-

barf city n, adj American mon term is obscure. It is assumed to

(a place that is) disgusting, revolting. The derive from the male forename, but the
expression, from barf (‘to vomit’), is usu- connection between Barnaby and brawl
ally used as an exclamation of revulsion, or scuffle is unclear.
typically by schoolchildren and teenag- I like a bit of a barney from time to time –
ers. it helps to clear the air.

Barney n American
barf (someone) out vb American an unattractive male. This pejorative term
to disgust, nauseate someone. A Valley for a boy who is not categorised as a Bald-
Girl and teenagers’ term, usually heard win was featured in the 1994 US film
as an exclamation, as in ‘It totally barfs Clueless. The reason for the choice of
me out!’. It derives from barf meaning ‘to proper name is uncertain, but may be
vomit’. inspired by the character Barney Rubble

bark1 n British in the cartoon series and film The Flint-

cannabis. An item of prison slang based stones, hence a primitive person. The
on the resemblance between hashish term was still in use in 2004.

and tree-bark, and recorded in the early baron n British

1990s. a prisoner enjoying a degree of power

bark2 vb Australian and influence over his fellow inmates.

The source of the power is usually eco-
to vomit. By extension from the earlier nomic, with the baron controlling trade
use of bark as a humorous synonym for in cigarettes (a ‘tobacco baron’), drugs
‘cough’. or other prison currency.

barking adj British barel

barrel n American
demented. A short form of ‘barking a gun. An item of street jargon from the
mad’, evoking utter howling craziness, 1990s employing the rhetorical device
this expression is typically heard in of synecdoche, i.e. naming the whole
upper- and middle-class speech, often from a constituent part.
preceded by ‘absolutely’. ‘Teachers report that teenagers talk
‘A friend in the Business was hugely about “packing a barrel” or “chilling
amused when told of a forthcoming inter- someone with a pipe”.’
view with Carla Lane. “She’s quite (Sunday Times, 31 August 1992)
barking, you know”, he warned cheer- baries

barries n British
fully…’ fellatio. A term of unknown origin,
(Sunday Times magazine, 4 March heard since 2000 in black British usage
1990) and more recently among other young

barking moonbat n speakers.

an uncontrolled, eccentric or erratic per- She gave ’im barries.

son. A term of mild disapproval or some- Barry n British

times rueful affection in use among a boorish, vulgar or unsophisticated
hackers from around 2004. male. A social categorisation said by

barnet n British users to be the counterpart of a Sharon,

recorded in 2004.
hair, a head of hair. A rhyming-slang
term (from ‘Barnet Fair’; both the event Compare Kevin; Wayne

and the phrase in its full form were pop- barsy, barzy adj British
ular among Londoners in the second mad, lunatic. A blend of barmy and
half of the 19th century) which is still crazy favoured by some middle-class
widely used by working-class speakers speakers since the mid-1970s.
and their imitators in and around Lon- base1 n

don. crack. The term is a shortening of free-

‘I’m stayin’ in tonight and washin’ me base, a system of smoking purified
barnet.’ cocaine which pre-dated the use of the
(Recorded, social worker, Willesden, more refined and potent crack. The word
London, 1987) ‘base’ was in use among British users in
Slang.fm Page 28 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

base 28
1989, together with many other nick-

basing n See freebasing

names. basket

basket n
base2 vb American

1. a bastard. A euphemism used in Brit-

to denigrate, criticise. A term from black ain and Australia, particularly in the
street slang of the later 1990s used in the 1950s and 1960s, and especially by mid-
same way as diss. dle-class speakers.
base3 adj American

2. American the male genitals. A male

unpleasant, disgusting, inferior. The homosexual term, heard in the late
standard term, as in ‘base behaviour’, 1970s and early 1980s.

was appropriated, perhaps via black basket case n

street slang, by high-school and college a helpless invalid, a person who is men-
students in the 1980s. It is popular tally and/or physically incapacitated.
among female speakers. Originally an Americanism, this expres-
That new diner in the mall is, like, so sion (a variant of cot-case) has become
base! widespread in recent years. It is now

basehead n American often used in journalists’ jargon to refer to

a drug-user who freebases cocaine or an irrevocably ruined enterprise.
smokes crack. The term dates from the
bas ed

bassed adj British

early 1980s, the practice from the 1970s. 1. beaten up. An item of black street-talk

basements n pl South African used especially by males, recorded in

shoes. The term is usually applied to 2003.
trainers as worn by young males and 2. a variant form of baffed
was recorded in 1994.

bastard n
bash, bashy adj British the standard term for an illegitimate
exciting, lively, attractive. The terms person has been used as a term of
originate in Jamaican patois. abuse, disapproval, pity or even affec-
‘She’s goin’ on like she thinks she’s tion (particularly in British and Austral-
bashy.’ ian usage) since the early years of the
(Recorded, London student, 2002) 20th century

bashed adj American ‘Targets: banks, shops, DHSS, cop-

drunk. One of a large number of syno- shops, Job Centres, rich bastards.’
nyms evoking the idea of the drunkard (Observer, 3 April 1988)

as damaged or chastised. batey adj British


basher n British bad-tempered, irascible. A piece of

a shelter or shack made of cardboard, dated, but not yet archaic public-school
paper, plastic, etc. and lived in by a slang deriving from the obsolescent use
tramp or homeless person. The word is of ‘bate’ to mean strife or argument.

used by the ‘gentlemen of the road’ or bath n British

dossers themselves. a girl. A term used by young street-gang
‘Their “bashers” (shacks) will be forcibly members in London since around
removed by police to make way for devel- 2000.

opers who want to “yuppify” the Charing bath bun n British

Cross area.’ 1. the sun. A less common alternative to
(Observer, 16 August 1987) currant bun.
bashment1 n ‘All this bleedin’ rain. I’ve forgotten what

a party, dance, rave. The term originated the old bath bun looks like.’
in Caribbean speech and by 2003 was in (Recorded, street trader, London, 1988)
general use among UK teenagers. 2. a son
bashment2 adj
Both uses are London working-class rhym-
lively, spirited (of a person or event) ing slang from the sweet fruit bun originat-
bahs hte bsihop
ing in the city of Bath.
bash the bishop vb bathd-odger

(of a male) to masturbate. The phrase, bath-dodger n British

recorded in the 19th century with its syn- an unwashed or habitually dirty individ-
onym ‘flog the bishop’, was probably the ual. Soap-dodger is a synonym.

precursor of many similar jocular euphe- bath(e)os n pl South African

misms such as box the jesuit, spank the shoes. The term is usually applied to
monkey, etc., heard in the 20th century. trainers, and probably derives from
Slang.fm Page 29 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

29 bazza
bath-house or bathing. Recorded as an from Jamaican patois using batty, a form
item of Sowetan slang in the Cape Sun- of ‘bottom’, to denote sexuality.
day Times, 29 January 1995. baty-riders

batty-riders n pl British

batphone n British extremely short shorts or hot pants worn

a. a walkie-talkie by females. The term was associated with
b. a mobile telephone the ragga or dance-hall reggae move-
The nickname, inspired by the gadget fea- ment of the early to mid-1990s whose
tured in the Batman TV series of the female adherents wore provocative
1960s, was first recorded among police of- clothes reflecting the salacious lyrics of
ficers in the early 1990s. Squawker is a the music.
batys-e d

synonym. batty-seed n British


batso adj British a male homosexual. This term from

crazy. The word, used typically by mid- Jamaican patois (one of many based on
dle-class schoolchildren and adults, is batty, meaning the ‘backside’) was
an elaboration of the colloquial ‘bats’ or picked up, like the more common batty-
‘batty’, both based on the older expres- boy, by London schoolchildren in the
sion ‘to have bats in one’s belfry’. 1990s. The origin of the ‘seed’ element is
‘It seemed to me to be a completely batso obscure.

idea.’ baunch n American

(Recorded, London journalist, February the female genitals. A term heard on
1995) campus since 2000, it may be an alter-

batter n British See on the batter ation of bunch.


battered, batted adj British bay n British

drunk. One of a host of synonyms £1. The term has been in ‘street’ usage
employing the metaphor of (the drinker since 2000.
suffering) damage. An item of student 20 bays
slang in use in London and elsewhere I just need a bay for the machine.

since around 2000. baz, bazz n British


batting for the other side adj British an outsider, misfit or bumpkin. One of
homosexual. Invariably used of males, many synonyms for chav, steek, etc. pop-
usually pejoratively or mockingly by ular in 2003 and 2004.

males, the metaphor is from cricket. bazeracked adj British

The expression has become widespread drunk. A term in use since 2000, heard
since the late 1990s. especially in South West England.
batlec-rusier bazli no

battle-cruiser n British bazillion n American

a boozer; the pub. This London rhyming- a very large number or quantity. An alter-
slang term originated, not surprisingly, in native form of zillion, squillion and gazil-
the 1940s, but is still heard, although lion.
rub-a-dub is probably more popular now. ‘There are about a bazillion poems about

battler n Australian trees.’

a resolute, energetic or otherwise impres- (Clarissa Explains It All, US TV comedy,
sive person. The term (which used to 1994)

denote a prostitute operating independ- bazooka’d adj British

ently of a pimp) often applies to someone drunk. One of the many synonyms
who is admired for triumphing over based on the notion of the drunkard as
adversity. It also occurs in the form bot- ruined, destroyed, etc.
tler. bazumas

bazumas, bazungas n pl

batty n Jamaican female breasts. Supposedly humorous

the backside, buttocks. The word, usu- coinages (also rendered in other forms
ally used in a sexual context, is an item such as gazungas, mezoomas, etc.)
of patois based on ‘bottom’ which has which may have originated in an elabora-
spread into white urban slang since the tion of ‘bosom’.
1990s. baz a

bazza n South African


batty-boy, battyman n British a friend, fellow gang member. Recorded

a male homosexual. Nearly always used as an item of Sowetan slang in the Cape
pejoratively, this is one of many terms Sunday Times, 29 January 1995.
Slang.fm Page 30 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

B-boy 30
B-boy beanie

B-boy n American beanie n

a participant in hip hop street culture. a girl. A term used by young street-gang
This vogue term (the female counterpart members in London since around
is fly-girl) became widespread around 2000.
1982, but was first coined in the late beans

beans n pl American
1970s. The initial probably stood for dollars. A humorous synonym possibly
‘brother’ as a term of address, or for influenced by the colloquialism ‘a hill of
‘break-dancer’. beans’, meaning something worth very

beak n little.
1. the nose. Beak has been used in this ‘At least we’re sitting on around a hun-
obvious sense since at least the begin- dred beans from my brilliant idea.’
ning of the 19th century, although other (Planes, Trains and Automobiles, US
terms, such as hooter, bugle, conk, etc. film, 1987)
are more popular. In Irish speech the bear

bear n American
word is also used for the mouth or face. a police officer, especially in the vocab-
2. a person in authority, especially a ulary of CB radio. This usage derives
judge or schoolmaster. This old usage is from the US Forest Services’ fire-warn-
now obsolete in American English, but is ing posters showing ‘Smokey the Bear’
retained in Britain in public-school slang in the uniform of a ranger. It was
and in the expression ‘up before the adopted by CB enthusiasts in the mid-
beak’ (appearing before a magistrate or 1970s.
someone else sitting in judgment). beard

Attempts have been made to derive this beard n

meaning of beak from a Celtic term for a male escort posing as a boyfriend,
judgment, but the more obvious deriva- lover, husband, etc. The term (heard
tion is from the intrusive beak (the nose from the mid-1970s in showbiz and
and/or mouth) of authority. Tatler maga- ‘society’ circles) may refer to a lesbian’s
zine reported in August 1989 that beak ‘official’ partner, with whom she is seen
was still the standard Etonian slang for a in public.

schoolmaster. beast1 n
‘Finally the beak turn his beetling brow to 1. American a girl or woman. The term,
them and his xpression [sic] become typically used by male college and high-
suddenly soft, his stern eye mild.’ school students, may be either pejorative
(Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle, or appreciative.
Back in the Jug Agane, 1959) 2. the beast heroin. A drug-users’ ironic
3. cocaine nickname.
4. fellatio 3. a sex offender, in prison slang. A more
Senses 3 and 4 have both been in use recent synonym for nonce.
since 2000. ‘20 prison officers in riot uniform were
beamer observed banging their shields in unison
beamer n American and chanting “Beast, beast, beast!”.’
a BMW car. A yuppie nickname. (Observer, 8 April 1990)

beam me up, Scotty! exclamation 4. also beast man an ugly or unattractive

a request for crack or another stimulating male. The term is used by females.
drug. The catchphrase, from the 1970s beast

beast2 vb
TV series Star Trek, has been used since 1. British to bully, oppress, humiliate.
2000 in rap lyrics. The word is part of the jargon of prisoners

bean-bag n British and prison officers.

a mild term of abuse among younger 2. also beast it to move or act quickly
schoolchildren. Bean bags were used in and/or forcefully. The term is used in this
throwing games and sports. sense in the school playground and

beaner, bean, bean-eater n American armed forces.


a Hispanic American, a Mexican or Chi- beast(-man) n British

cano. A 1970s and 1980s term, highly a police officer or prison officer and, by
offensive in the USA, which refers to poor extension, any figure of authority. The
Latin Americans’ diet of frijoles or refried word was adopted by teenage school-
beans. children in the 1990s.
Slang.fm Page 31 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

31 beat-up
used by pop singer Britney Spears

beastie n, adj American

a. (someone) disgusting, coarse or dis- among others.

reputable beat-down adj American

b. (something or someone) impressive, tired, exhausted. A more recent version
powerful or enormous. This expression, of the colloquial (dead-)beat.
used typically by female teenagers, was a She was sure looking beat-down after her
vogue term among blacks and whites in weekend.
the USA in the 1980s and was adopted beatiup!

beat it up! exclamation American

ironically in the name of the white rap an exhortation to speak clearly. The
group the Beastie Boys. expression has been in use since 2000.

beasting n British Come on man, beat it up! We don’t have

a ‘dressing-down’, humiliation or all day.
instance of physical bullying. The noun,

beatnik n
like the verb to beast, is formed from the someone following a beat lifestyle or
use of beast(-man) in British prison slang modes of dress. The term was coined by
to signify an authority figure. newspapermen to deride the self-styled

beat1 n members of the beat generation but was

a member of the ‘beat generation’ or later adopted by beatniks themselves;
aspirer to its values. The term, coined by the ‘-nik’ suffix came from Russian and
the influential American writer Jack Ker- was meant to identify the beats with god-
ouac and first published by John Clellon less Communism (as well as being a
Holmes in his novel Go, is derived both derogatory word-ending in Yiddish terms
from the notion of being beaten, down- such as nudnik). Aspects of the beatnik
trodden or poor, and from the notion of lifestyle included scruffy dress (often
beatitude or holiness. The phrase ‘the black), berets, modern jazz, coffee bars,
beat generation’, coined in imitation of a slightly more liberal attitude to sex than
other literary groups such as the Lost their contemporaries, at least a pretence
Generation of the 1920s, originally at interest in modern arts and literature
applied to a relatively small group of writ- and a youth cult. Beatniks had passed
ers, artists and bohemians in America their peak by 1960, but many of them
immediately after World War II, whose (who incidentally referred to themselves
activities and beliefs were minutely simply as beats) were absorbed into the
chronicled in autobiographical, mystical hippy movement in the mid-1960s.
and experimental prose and poetry by ‘A petition signed by 2,321 residents and
Kerouac, Holmes, Gregory Corso, William holidaymakers at St Ives, Cornwall was
Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, among handed to the Mayor, Ald. Archie Knight
others. The term beatniks (employing the during the weekend. It calls for tighter va-
Slavonic ‘-nik’ suffix disparagingly) was grancy laws to rid the town of beatniks.’
applied to these and later followers by (Daily Telegraph, 21 July 1969)
members of straight society, hostile to beatof

beat off, beat one’s meat vb

what they saw as the licentious, irreli- (of a male) to masturbate. The first
gious and communistic aspects of the expression is primarily American, the
beat lifestyle. In Britain the beats were a second international English.
youth subculture of the early- to mid- beatone’sboats

1960s, which co-existed with the mods beat one’s boats vb American
and rockers and metamorphosed into the to depart, run away. A jocular term
hippies. heard since the 1990s and based on
‘The most beautifully executed, the ‘boats’ as a slang synonym for shoes or
clearest and most important utterance the feet.

yet made by the generation Kerouac him- beats, the n

self named years ago as “beat”, and a physical attack
whose principal avatar he is.’ Let’s give him (the) beats.
(Gilbert Millstein, New York Times, 5 beat-up

September 1957)
beat-up adj American
unfair. The term, used by younger
beat2 adj American speakers since 2000, is a transfer from
excellent, admirable, fashionable. A syn- the older sense of beat(en)-up as dam-
onym for cool, in vogue since 2000 and aged or decrepit.
Slang.fm Page 32 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

beaucoup 32
or complaint, but it is unclear whether
beaucoup adj See bokoo
beaut the usages are related.
beaut adj Australian 2. American to fart. The usage may be
excellent, first-rate. A well-known Aus- inspired by the rhyme or pun on ‘beef-
tralianism which, although dated, is heart’ (a meat product).
still in use. bef

beef (someone) vb
beaver n to have sex with. A vulgarism in use all
1a. American the female genitals. A term over the English-speaking world. Beef
referring to the pubic hair and vagina (‘a has had sexual connotations, deriving
beaver’). from its use as a synonym for flesh, for
1b. American a woman or women seen hundreds of years. Since the 1980s, the
exclusively as sex objects verb to pork is more common.

Let’s get some beaver! beef bayonet n

These terms became known, though rarely the penis. A humorous euphemism on
used, outside the USA via pin-up maga- the lines of mutton dagger, etc. The
zines in the late 1960s. phrase was first popularised in Britain by
Barry Humphries’ Barry McKenzie comic
2. a beard, especially a full or luxuriant strip in the satirical magazine Private Eye
one. A light-hearted 19th-century usage, in the 1960s.
still heard among older adults. befcuratins

He’s sporting a handsome beaver. beef curtains n pl

Bedfordshier the female genitals. A late 1980s vogue
Bedfordshire n British term among some male teenagers, par-
a bed or bedtime. A nursery joke-form of ticularly those affecting ‘street credibil-
the standard words, from the parents’ ity’.
catchphrase ‘up the wooden hill to Bed- ‘Man, look at the beef curtains. Yeah, the
fordshire’, meaning ‘(go) up the stairs to blonde one, know what I mean.’
bed’. This usage is in fact 200-year-old (Recorded, youth, Baker Street station,
peasant humour. London, 1985)
be f bergog le

beef1 n beer goggle(s) n

1. a complaint or grudge. This use of the impaired judgment and/or vision due to
word has occurred in American English intake of alcohol. A term popular among
since the early years of the 20th century, students and other drinkers since the
originating in the speech of criminals, mid-1990s.
pugilists and marginals, etc. Since the I copped off with a right munter – I was
1940s British speakers have also wearing the beer goggles.

employed it and it has become a vogue beergoggle vb

term in youth slang since 2000. The rela- to drink until incapacitated

tionship between this sense of the word beer-tokens n pl British

and its literal meaning is not clear; the one-pound coins or money in general, in
colloquial notion of ‘brawn’ may be the argot of students and other adoles-
involved. cents since the late 1980s. ‘Beer-
‘I just wanna tell you, I got no beef about vouchers’ is an alternative form.
last night.’

bees ’n’ honey n British

(Miami Vice, US TV series, 1987) money. A piece of London rhyming
2. British a fight. An item of black street- slang which, while never being a popu-
talk used especially by males, recorded lar term, is still heard occasionally.
in 2003, based on the older colloquial

bee-stings n pl
sense of beef as a grudge or complaint. small female breasts. A jocular term
There was beef. employed by both sexes.
be f betni’

beef2 vb beetin’ adj

1. to complain. In the 19th-century lan- angry, annoyed. A term used by young
guage of street sellers, and later in the street-gang members in London since
theatre, beef was associated with shout- around 2000.

ing, yelling and hence complaining. By beetle vb British

the early 20th century the word was in to hurry. A dated colloquialism revived by
use in the USA in the sense of a grudge Sloane Rangers in the early 1980s. It is
Slang.fm Page 33 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

33 bender
inspired of course by the scuttling of the ‘He’s scared to get his bell-end out!’
insects. (Away The Lads, BBC 2 TV documentary,
I had to beetle along to Jonty’s before February 1993)
lunch. bell-end2, bell-ender n British


beevo(s) n American a stupid and/or obnoxious person. The

beer. A college students’ term probably terms refer to the tip of the penis.
distantly related, via ‘beverage’, to the belyflop

bellyflop n
British bevvy. The fact that the Czech a. a shallow dive, landing stomach-first
word for beer is pivo may be coincidental. on water

be geese vb American b. an ignominious or total failure

to leave, hurry away, disappear. From the beletr

belter n
argot of rappers and hip hop enthusiasts, something wonderful, excellent or excit-
the phrase may be an alteration of ghost. ing. An expression of enthusiasm, heard
Yo, we be geese. predominantly in the north of England,
beg ar

beggar vb, n which can be applied equally to a girl-

a euphemism for (to) bugger (except in friend, a car, party, etc. This noun
the ‘respectable’ idioms ‘beggar the derives from the colloquial senses of the
imagination’ or ‘beggar description’ when verb ‘to belt’, denoting thrashing,
the meaning is to render impoverished or speeding, etc.
surpass) Just look at her. She’s a right belter isn’t
beg ar’svevlet

beggar’s velvet n American she?


another term for dust bunny belting, beltin’ adj British


begiggidy adj American excellent, exciting. A synonym for the

excited, ‘giddy’. An expression used on more common blindin’ popular among
campus in the USA since around 2000. chavs in 2005.

Is she getting all begiggidy over that stud? ben, benner n British

begonias n pl American a £10 note or the sum of ten pounds


female breasts. The term is coined by bender n

analogy with other multi-syllable syno- 1. a bout of heavy drinking, a riotous
nyms beginning with the letter ‘b’, such spree. The term may have originated in
as bazumas and bazungas. North America in the mid-19th century
behindwiht hterent

behind with the rent adj when ‘hell-bender’ meant any event or
homosexual (of a male). The phrase, spectacle which was outrageous, aggres-
which is rhyming slang for sense 2 of sive or exciting. An alternative derivation
bent, has been heard in London since at is from bend the elbow. In its narrower
least 2000. sense of an unrestrained spree, the word
beige was introduced in Britain at the end of
beige adj American the 19th century.
dull, boring, insipid. A vogue term in the ‘When his marriage collapsed, Dick went
affected slang of West Coast adolescents, on a four-day bender.’
heard since the 1980s. It may have orig- (Recorded, business executive, London,
inated as a gay disparagement of straight 1986)
taste in decor, clothing, etc.
bel 2. British a homosexual. A term of con-
bell vb, n British tempt, originally for a passive male
(to make) a telephone call (to some- homosexual who supposedly bends over.
one). A working-class usage which has The term is now probably heard less fre-
become almost universal since the quently than in the late 1960s and early
1970s in the form ‘give someone a bell’ 1970s.
or, more racily, ‘bell someone’. It is also ‘It’s not every day that a man wakes up to
in Australian use. find he’s a screaming bender!’
‘I got a bell from old Milward yesterday.’ (Blackadder II, BBC TV comedy, 1988)
(Recorded, businessman, London, 3. British a makeshift shelter. The word
1988) derives from the ‘bender tents’ used by
bell-end1 n British

gypsies or other travellers and made by

the (tip of the) penis. A vulgarism popu- stretching cloth or tarpaulin over bent-
larised by Viz comic. Helmet is a syno- over saplings. It was brought into com-
nym. mon currency by the women peace pro-
Slang.fm Page 34 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

bendered 34
testers camped outside the US base at applied by British servicemen to inhab-
Greenham Common in the mid-1980s. itants of the Falkland Islands in 1983.
bendre d

bendered adj British See also throw a Bennie

Beny Hil

drunk. A back-formation from the older Benny Hill n British

noun bender, used by students since a till or cash box. An item of market-trad-
2000. ers’ rhyming slang based on the name of

bend one vb the late comedian and recorded in the

mid-1990s. A synonym from the same
to have sex. A vulgarism used typically environment is Buffalo Bill.
by and about males since around 2000.
Just hold on while I unlock the Benny
I was bending one and she just lost inter- Hill.
est. bnet

bendovre bent adj

bend over, bend down vb 1a. criminal, crooked, dishonest. This
a. to invite or submit to buggery. A euphe- usage has been widespread in Britain at
mism popular among all social classes in least since the beginning of the 20th cen-
Britain in the 1960s and early 1970s. tury. It is still used by the police to refer to
‘He’d bend over on Blackfriars Bridge for anyone who is not straight, and by crimi-
ten bob.’ nals and others to refer to corrupt police
(Recorded, public schoolboy, London, officers (often by the cliché phrase ‘a
1970) bent copper’ – ‘bent coppers’ were dam-
b. to yield or submit to abuse or attack, by aged coins that could not be used in pub-
extension from the first sense. A term lic lavatories in the 1950s and 1960s). A
popular among businessmen in the more colourful embroidery sometimes
1980s. This may be a shortening of the heard in Britain is ‘bent as a butcher’s
phrase ‘bend over backwards’ and is a hook’.
more brusque version of ‘take it lying ‘Remember, this happened in the 1960s
down’. when many detectives were bent.’
‘I’m certainly not going to bend over for (Former detective quoted in Inside the
them.’ Brotherhood, Martin Short, 1989)
(Recorded, company director responding 1b. stolen, forged
to takeover attempt, London, 1988) a bent motor
bendthe blow
2. sexually deviant, homosexual. A com-
bend the elbow vb mon term in Britain, mainly in working-
to drink alcohol. A hearty euphemism class usage, since the 1940s. A London
used by habitués of bars all over the variant popular in the 1960s was ‘as bent
English-speaking world since the 19th as a nine bob note’ (a non-existent, obvi-
century. ously forged denomination).

Benjamin n American 3. American drunk or under the influ-

a. a one hundred dollar note, from the ence of drugs. This usage is rather
image of Benjamin Franklin thereon archaic, but the longer ‘bent out of
b. Benjamins money in general shape’ is still heard among college stu-
Man he’s really rakin’ in the Benjamins. dents and preppies.
‘When I’m rollin’ in the Benjamins I will 4. American angry, furious. This seems
throw you and your dog a bone.’ to be an armed-forces term in origin. It is
(School of Rock, US film, 2003) also more usual in the form ‘bent out of
ben ei
bennie n beout!

be out! exclamation British

a tablet of Benzedrine, a trademark for an all-purpose cry of encouragement or
a variety of amphetamine used and enthusiasm in use among dancefloor-
abused from the 1940s to the 1960s culture devotees in London since the
Ben y

Benny, Bennie n British mid-1990s

ber sk

a foolish, clumsy person, misfit. The beresk adj

name of a slow-witted male character berserk, out of control. A humorous cor-
(played by Paul Henry) in the long-run- ruption perhaps inspired by a genuinely
ning TV soap opera Crossroads was mistaken pronunciation, or possibly by
adopted as a nickname for unfortunate the influence of ‘bereft’. An alternative
males and lasted into the late 1990s. is ‘besrek’. Both forms have been heard,
The word became notorious when it was mainly among middle-class speakers in
Slang.fm Page 35 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

35 bevvied
Britain and Australia – students and ‘We’re going to get a right pounding and
rugby players are typical users – since they’ll [the IRA] make berties of us.’
the early 1970s. (Londoner calling an LBC radio phone-in
programme, 25 October 1993)
berifta n, adj
(something) disappointing, depressing. 3. See do a Bertie

The word may be a deformation of, or berties n pl British See take berties

influenced by ‘bereft’. It seems to have besrek n See beresk

operated as an antonym of the equally bes ie

bessie n British
mysterious bifta in the speech of middle- best friend. A term which probably origi-
class adults since 2000. nated in North West England but which,

berk n since 2000, has become widespread,

a fool. This word, which has been wide- especially in the speech of younger
spread since the early 1960s in Britain females. Bra is a contemporary synonym.

and Australia (where it was introduced best! exclamation British

via British TV comedies), is used as a an ambivalent exclamation that may
form of mild derision by many speakers indicate approval or the sarcastic
who would be shocked by its original reverse; in these senses it has been
meaning in rhyming slang. The origin is defined by one of its users as ‘that’s
‘Berkeley hunt’ or ‘Berkshire hunt’, good, ain’t it?’ ‘Not!’. The term was
meaning cunt which, in the late 19th and recorded in use among North London
early 20th centuries, was a cockney syn- schoolboys in 1993 and 1994.
onym for a fool. besite

bestie n British
‘How tempting it must have been to add: an unpleasant or despicable individual.
“…despite what you may gathered from A term of playground abuse from ‘besti-
that posturing berk, Chirac”.’ ality’.
(Quentin Letts writing in the Daily Mail, Bety

Betty n
24 June 2005) a girl, particularly a non-participant in

berko, berco adj Australian sports such as skateboarding. A mildly

enraged, uncontrollable. The term may derisory usage among some teenagers,
originate as a contracted form of ‘ber- possibly inspired by the character
serk’. It is also heard in Ireland where it played by Michelle Dotrice in the TV
can also denote drunk. comedy series Some Mothers do ’ave
He went completely berko! ’em. In the late 1980s Betty became a
vogue word in the USA, often used to
berlimey! exclamation British mean an attractive or popular girl. (In
an expression of surprise or wonder, East Anglian dialect Betty – perhaps
sometimes feigned. An item of student coincidentally – is a prefix signifying
slang in use in London and elsewhere female, as in ‘Betty-cat’.)
since around 2000. It is an exaggerated Bety Bracelts

pronunciation of the old ‘blimey’. It was Betty Bracelets n British

still in use in 2005. a police officer or the police in general. A
bernei jocular and ironic nickname bestowed by
bernie n British members of the gay community from the
the sum of £1 million. In UK financial later 1950s. (Bracelets is archaic slang
slang the term commemorates the for manacles or handcuffs.)
attempt by motor racing impresario ‘I was sitting there minding my own busi-
Bernie Ecclestone to donate this sum to ness when up comes Betty Bracelets
the Labour Party in 1997. looking all obstreperous …’
(Recorded, male transvestite, London,

bertie n British
1. a male homosexual. The connection 1992)

between the name and the subject is beverage n

unclear. alcohol. This (uncountable) usage is
He looks a bit of a bertie to me. popular with young males.
2. a fool, dupe. In this sense the word Let’s get some beverage.
bev ied

(probably based on the names Albert and bevvied adj British

Herbert as supposedly epitomising foolish drunk. From the increasingly popular
individuals) is typically used in London use of the noun and verb shortenings of
working-class speech. ‘beverage’.
Slang.fm Page 36 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

bevvy 36
world of low-end equipment, limited soft-

bevvy, bevvie vb, n British

(to take) an alcoholic drink. A predomi- ware and all-caps mode’.
nantly working-class abbreviation of 3. the vagina
‘beverage’ in use since the 19th cen- bif

biff vb British
tury, usually referring to beer. The term to have sex (with). A rarer alternative
gained a new popularity among stu- form of boff, heard particularly among
dents, etc. from the end of the 1980s. male adolescents since the early 1990s.
They’ve been bevvying since lunchtime. The word can be used both transitively
‘We had a few bevvies on the way here.’ and intransitively.
(Recorded, workman, York, 1986) bifa

beoynd hteblakc stump biffa, biffer n British

beyond the black stump adj Australian 1. an ugly or unattractive female. Biffa is
See black stump sometimes used as a children’s nick-

Bezz, Bezzie n British name, usually denoting a burly, boister-

a cloddish, unsophisticated person. ous individual, so probably from the
This term from the 1980s street slang colloquial verb ‘biff’ meaning to hit. It is
of Manchester probably derives from an also the name of a UK waste disposal
eponymous individual who bore this company. ‘Biffa Bacon’ is the name of a
nickname, such as Mark Berry of the male cartoon character in Viz comic.
band the Happy Mondays. The music 2. the vagina. A vulgarism heard in the
impresario Tony Wilson, when reminisc- North of England.
ing, commented of the band New Order, 3. a spliff
‘They were all Bezzies’. bifage

B.F. biffage n British

B.F., b.f. n British an attractive female or females in gen-
‘bloody fool’. A pre-World War II, mainly eral. The usage derives from biffa 2. Dam-
middle-class, euphemism, now sounding age is a synonym.
rather dated. The initials have sometimes bif e

been used with more vehemence, proba- biffie n Canadian

bly on the assumption that the ‘f’ in ques- a toilet. The origin of the word, heard in
tion stood for fucker. the 1960s and currently popular among

B.F. Egypt n American male adolescents, is obscure. It might

a disguised version of Bumfuck Egypt possibly be a corruption of the French
B-igrl buffet in the sense of a bench or stool.
B-girl n American bifta

1. a prostitute or woman of dubious mor- bifta1 n

als who frequents bars a. a cigarette
2. the female counterpart of a B-boy. Fly- b. a marihuana cigarette
girl is a more common synonym. c. marihuana, cannabis

bi- n, adj In the sense of cigarette the word origi-

(a person who is) bisexual nated in playground slang in the 1970s. It
bile is a deformation of the medical term spina
bible n See Tijuana bible bifida.

bible-basher n bifta

an over-enthusiastic evangelist Chris- bifta2 n, adj

tian (something) wonderful, impressive. In
bicycle this sense the word is of uncertain ori-
bicycle n See town bike/pump gin. It often occurs in the phrase ‘the

bif, biff n British full bifta’.

1. a cigarette. A vogue term among ado- Compare berifta
lescents from the later 1990s, the deriva- biftad

tion is given at bifta. biftad n American

Chas’s just caned my biffs. a male preppie. This comic but probably
2. an Internet user deemed to be embar- ephemeral coinage was recorded in use
rassing or unfortunate, in the patois of among American teenagers in 1987. It is
cyberpunks and net-heads. This categori- a combination of two supposedly arche-
sation is defined in Surfing on the Inter- typal preppie nicknames, as in the
net, by J. C. Hertz (1994), as ‘the exchange:
archetypal ultimate loser-cum-cyber- ‘Say, Biff…’
punk-wannabee stuck in the fantasy ‘Yes, Tad?’
Slang.fm Page 37 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

37 big up
bigA,the bigjim eis

big A, the n Australian big jimmies n Scottish

a shortened form of the phrase ‘the big a large backside, prominent buttocks.
arse’, meaning the heave-ho or the Jimmies refers to the actor/musician
elbow. Jimmy Durante, whose name was bor-
See also arse1 4 rowed as a rhyme for pantie(s) in Glas-
BigApple,the wegian slang. The phrase big jimmies
Big Apple, the n American was used by Scottish singer Sharleen
the nickname for New York City. It Spiteri in 1999.
seems to have originated among jazz Look at the big jimmies on those two.
musicians, perhaps from the notion of bigjobs

‘a bite of the apple’ meaning a chance big jobs n pl British

excrement, defecation. A mainly mid-
of success. dle-class nursery term, in use since the

big-ass adj American 1940s.

very large biglicks

big licks n pl

big cack, the n Australian (a display of) enthusiasm or energy, e.g.

a wild celebration, an enjoyable experi- on the dancefloor. A term from late
ence. Cack in this case is probably a 1990s club culture.
short form of ‘cackle’ with a nod to its She was givin’ it big licks.
other ruder sense. The term was popular-
bigman on campus

big man on campus n American See

ised by Australian revellers in London in B.M.O.C.
1994. It denotes, according to the Sun- bign-oet

big-note vb Australian
day Express, ‘the holy grail of funlovers, to boast or to praise. The term probably
the ultimate party experience’. referred originally to large denomination

big E, the n bank notes.

the elbow. ‘I big-noted myself.’
See also arse1 4 bign-oetr
(Mel Gibson, Australian actor, 1987)

big enchilada n American big-noter n Australian

an important or self-important person, a braggart, boastful person. From the
the boss. A humorous phrase from the verb form.

1970s. An enchilada is a Mexican filled bigs, biggins n British

pancake. The term is a later imitation of something of no importance, often as a
the pre-World War II colloquialisms ‘big dismissive exclamation, probably from
cheese/potato’. the phrase ‘(no) big deal’. Others claim

big fuck-off adj a reference to the ubiquitous minor

enormous, excessive, impressive celebrity and party-goer, Christopher
big irl’sblouse Biggins.
big girl’s blouse n British bigspti,the

big spit, the n

a weak, ineffectual or pathetic male. A an act of vomiting
phrase usually heard in the north of BigSwingnigDick

England. It first came to prominence in Big Swinging Dick n

the late 1960s. a forceful, powerful individual. The term
evokes a large virile male and is in use
‘Naff ballet roles – the big girl’s blouse in particularly among financial traders, first
“Les Sylphides”.’
in Wall Street, and subsequently in the
(The Complete Naff Guide, Bryson et al., City of London. Impressive female col-
1983) leagues were known in London as Honor-

big hair n American ary Big Swinging Dicks. The term was
a spectacular teased or bouffant female sometimes disguised as B.S.D.
hairstyle. This Americanism, dating bigtime

big time adj

from the 1950s, began to be used in very much, a lot
other English-speaking areas in the ‘Have you got a lot of work?’ ‘Yeah…big
1990s, usually sarcastically. time!’

big house, the n American You’re in trouble big time.


a prison, especially a federal prison. big (someone) up vb British

This underworld euphemism was publi- to boost someone’s confidence, praise
cised by its use as the title of an Oscar- someone. This fairly widespread slang
winning film of 1930 starring Wallace phrase of the late 1990s probably orig-
Beery. inated in black British usage.
Slang.fm Page 38 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

bike 38
‘She were biggin’ ’im up, goin’ gwaarn, father’s famous cartoon figure Old Bill
gwaarn! at ’im…’ (he of ‘If you know of a better ’ole, go to
(Recorded, black teenage girl, London, it’) on a recruiting campaign. It may
March 1997) also be significant that when the Flying

bike n See town bike/pump Squad was first motorised, all their
licence plates had BYL registrations.
biked adj British
deceived or defrauded. This item of ‘A banner was draped from cell windows
taxi-drivers’ jargon often refers specifi- [at Wandsworth prison where police had
taken over from striking warders]
cally to the driver’s dilemma when the reading: support the screws – Old Bill
passenger disappears into a building out.’
without paying. It was recorded in the (Guardian, 3 January 1989)
Evening Standard, 22 April 1996. Bil and Ben

Bill and Ben n British
biker n yen (Japanese currency). An item of
a motorcycle rider, a member of a rhyming slang from the lexicon of Lon-
motorcycle gang. This American usage don City traders in the 1990s. The
was unknown in Britain until the late names are those of the two ‘Flowerpot
1960s when biker style and hardware Men’, heroes of a 1950s children’s TV
began to be imitated. puppet show.
bik e

bikie n Australian bilards

billiards n pl See pocket billiards/pool

the Australian version of biker biles

billies n pl American
bill1 n British

money, dollar bills. A popular term

1. a £100 note or an amount of one hun- among Valley Girls and other teenagers
dred pounds. An item of black street-talk since the early 1980s.
used especially by males, recorded in bilt

2003. billit n British

a marihuana cigarette, spliff. A term used
I gave him two bills to take care of it. by young street-gang members in Lon-
2. the penis. The word was used in this don since around 2000.
sense by adolescent males in 2000. bils

bills n pl British
bill2 vb

male underpants. The term, in use in the

1. American to depart, leave. One of Liverpool area in 2003, is said to refer
many fashionable synonyms in use in especially to boxer shorts. It has given
black street slang, later adopted by white rise to the expression chill one’s bills;
adolescents in the late 1990s. It is prob- relax, calm down.
ably an alteration of the earlier bail. A bilup

variety of euphemisms (like its contem- bill up, build it up vb British

poraries bail, book, jam and jet) for ‘run to construct a spliff
away’ are essential to the argot of gang You built up yet?

members and their playground imitators. Billy n British

Someone’s coming, we better bill! speed. The term is a shortening of ‘Billy
2. British to have sex (with). The word Whizz’, the name of a character from the
was used in this sense by adolescent children’s comic Beano; whizz is an ear-
males in 2000. lier nickname for the drug.

Bill, the Bill, the Old Bill n British Billy (Bunter) n British
the police. A working-class London term an ordinary member of the public, a cus-
which slowly entered common currency tomer. This item of rhyming slang mean-
during the 1970s, partly owing to tele- ing punter – borrowing the name of the fat
vision police dramas. The term’s origins schoolboy hero of children’s stories – was
are obscure. It seems to have passed widely used in the service industries in
from ‘Bill’ or ‘Old Bill’, a mock affec- the 1990s.
tionate name for individual police offic- ‘Billies is our name for the clients…no
ers, via ‘the Old Bill’, a personification disrespect.’
of the police force as a whole, to ‘the (Club 18–30 representative, Sunday
Bill’. It can also be used in expressions Times magazine, 24 September 1995)

such as ‘(look out) (s)he’s Bill!’, mean- Billy-and-Dave n

ing he or she is a police officer. Coinci- a friendless individual, misfit, outsider.
dentally or not, in 1917 the The phrase is formed from the witticism
Metropolitan Police used Bruce Bairns- ‘Billy no-mates, Dave all gone!’. An item
Slang.fm Page 39 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

39 bins
of student slang in use in London and

bimboid adj
elsewhere since around 2000. vacuous, having the attributes of a bimbo

Billy no-mates n

bimboy n
a friendless individual, misfit, outsider. A a male bimbo. This humorous item of
very widespread usage since the late journalese is a synonym for the (possibly
1990s. Norman no-mates is synonymous. more common) himbo.

bin1 n

bim n
a shortened form of bimbo and bimboy 1. a pocket, usually in trousers. This
‘He wanted some bim to be skating down example of the jargon of cat burglars was
the slopes in a bikini.’ recorded in FHM magazine in April
(Blind Date, TV dating show, March 1996.
1997) 2. the bin British a mental hospital or asy-
lum. A shortening of loony bin.
bimbette n
a silly, empty-headed young girl. A jocu- ‘If she goes on like this she’s going to end
lar diminutive of bimbo, popular in the up in the bin.’
mid-1980s, first in the USA and then, via (Recorded, housewife, London, 1988)
bin2 vb British

magazine articles, in Britain, where it has

been enthusiastically taken up and over- to throw away, reject. A sharper or more
used in the tabloid press. imperious version of ‘chuck it’ or ‘dump

bimbetude n it’ is ‘bin it’, heard since the late

1980s, especially in offices and in a
combined physical attractiveness and broader business context.
intellectual vacuity. This humorous com- bind-ivng

bining of bimbo and ‘pulchritude’ was bin-diving n British

briefly recorded in the early 1990s. rummaging in rubbish in search of food
or valuables
bimbo n bingle

1. a silly, empty-headed or frivolous bingle n Australian

woman. This is the sense of the word in a car crash

vogue since the late 1980s, imported to bingo n British

Britain and Australia from the USA. The an arrest, a successful search. A cus-
origin is almost certainly a variant of toms officers’ term employing the tri-
bambino, Italian for baby. In the early umphal cry from the popular game of
1900s a bimbo, in American colloquial chance.
use, was a man, especially a big, unintel- We got a bingo finally after three weeks.
ligent and aggressive man or a clumsy bingo bling

bingo bling n British

dupe. By the 1950s the word was used cheap, ostentatious jewellery as worn,
as a nickname for boys in England, per- e.g., by chavs. A synonym of Argos bling
haps inspired by a popular song of the recorded in 2005.
time. By the 1920s bimbo was being bingo wings

applied to women, especially by popular bingo wings n pl British

crime-fiction writers, and it is this use flabby upper arms. The mocking pejora-
that was revived in the 1980s with the tive term is typically applied to females.
return to fashion of glamorous but not It was popularised by the TV comedy Bo
over-cerebral celebrities. In the late Selecta in 2003 and 2004. The bingo
1980s the word was again applied occa- reference may be to elderly women wav-
sionally to males, although with less brut- ing their arms at bingo sessions.
bin er

ish and more frivolous overtones than binner n British

earlier usage. a vulgar person. A middle-class term of
‘Daryl Hannah plays an interior designer social denigration ‘used about people in
and Gekko’s part-time mistress who tracksuits on council estates’ since
turns her attention to Bud Fox’s apart- 2000.

ment and bed. She’s meant to be a rich bins n pl British

man’s bimbo.’ 1a. glasses, spectacles. A cockney short-
(Oliver Stone, US film director, Sunday ening of binoculars, sometimes spelled
Times magazine, February 1988) binns. The term has been in use at least
2. British the bottom, backside. A nurs- since the 1930s and is still heard.
ery and schoolchildren’s word of the 1b. the eyes. An extension of the previous
1950s, now rarely heard. usage.
Slang.fm Page 40 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

bint 40
2a. headphones. Part of the jargon of
bird orp ings

bird droppings n pl British

recording engineers and rock musicians an adolescent euphemism for chickens-
in the late 1960s; the term was eagerly hit in the sense of something derisory or
picked up by hi-fi enthusiasts and musos pitiful
in the 1970s, although cans is more prev- birdnig

alent in this context. birding n British

pursuing or trying to ‘pick up’ women. A
2b. hi-fi or concert speakers. By exten- northern English working-class term of
sion from the above sense. the 1960s and 1970s, from the more

bint n British widespread use of bird.

a girl, a (young) woman. Bint is Arabic

birf n British
for daughter or girl; the word was a coy or jocular shortening of ‘birthday’,
adopted by soldiers serving in Egypt and used typically by teenage magazine
became widespread in Britain from the journalists since the 1980s
1920s to the 1960s. In English the birl

word nearly always had, and still has, birl n See burl

deprecatory overtones. biscuit n American

‘I’ve got to keep him and that Russian 1. an attractive person. The term, heard
bint one step ahead of the police.’ in the late 1990s, can be used by, and of,
(Room at the Bottom, TV comedy, 1987) either sex.
bniter Wow, a total biscuit!
binter, binta n British Compare earth biscuit
a girl. A variant form of bint heard since 2. the head
bnitnig The result was Chrissie bumped her bis-
binting n British cuit.
pursuing or seducing females. A term biscutis

biscuits n pl American
used by (generally unsophisticated) the buttocks
young males, from the noun form bint. Man, scope those biscuits.

bio-head n American bishb-ashb-osh

bish-bash-bosh adv, adj British

an unstylish person, a nerd. The expres- quickly, efficiently, in quick succes-
sion was recorded in the late 1990s sion. A vogue catchphrase in use among
among college students and Internet fashionable young professionals in Lon-
users. don in the mid-1980s and still heard.

biotch n American It was bish-bash-bosh/a bish-bash-bosh

a. an unpleasant female job.
b. a female Compare bosh

An alteration of bitch in use among stu- bit adj American

dents since 2000. disappointed, resentful. A folksy version
of ‘bitter’ or ‘bitten’ used by country peo-
bird n British ple and poor blacks (in pre-war slang it
1. a girl. A very common term in the late usually meant ‘cheated’); adopted as part
1950s and 1960s, it is now somewhat of preppie language in the 1970s.
dated and considered offensive or pat- She sure was bit when she found out she
ronising by most women. The word was hadn’t been chosen.
first a 19th-century term of endearment, bitch

ultimately from Middle English, in which bitch n

bird could be applied to young living a. a pejorative term for a woman which,
things in general, not merely the feath- although not strictly speaking slang, is
ered variety. normally highly offensive. As a term of
2. a prison sentence. From the rhyming denigration bitch, like its alternatives
slang birdlime: time. ‘sow’, ‘vixen’, etc., has been widespread
since the Middle English period. In black
He’s doing bird in Wandsworth. American speech ‘bitch’ can be used

birdbath n British with proprietorial or condescending over-

a silly person. A humorous variant form tones rather than with personalised mal-
of the colloquial ‘birdbrain’ typically ice.
used since the 1970s by parents and ‘Ultimately, it [N-W-A’s album]’s just an-
children. other extension of the black underclass
Slang.fm Page 41 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

41 blab
machismo which casts all women as

bits n pl British
“bitches”.’ 1. primary sexual characteristics. In ori-
(Independent, 8 September 1989) gin possibly a shortening of ‘naughty
b. a spiteful or vindictive male homosex- bits’, the word has become popular with
ual all age groups since around 2000.
c. an infuriating or gruelling task Show us yer bits!
d. something impressive, admirable. This He was doing acrobatics and his bits fell
is another example of a negative term out.
being employed in a contradictory sense 2. See in bits
(compare bad, wicked, etc.) It usually bister

occurs in the appreciative phrase ‘it’s a bitser, bitza n

bitch!’ in American speech. a mongrel (usually a dog). A witticism
bitch-bag based on the idea that the animal’s ped-
bitch-bag n igree is composed of ‘bits of this and
an unpleasant female. The term, heard bits of that’. The expression, which
since 2000 and used both pejoratively probably originated in Australia, can
and sometimes affectionately, is an elab- also be applied to anything put together
oration of bitch. from disparate components.

bitchin’ adj American bivy

bivvy1 vb British
excellent, first class. From the collo-
quial phrase ‘it’s a bitch!’, expressing to bivouac, make camp. A shortening
great enthusiasm. used by scouts and the armed forces in
bitch out the 1970s and 1980s.
bitch (someone) out vb American bivy

to criticise, nag, denigrate bivvy2 n British

Do you expect me to just go home and 1a. a bivouac, camping place
have the wife and kids bitch me out? 1b. a tent, especially a small tent. Both
terms are, predictably, part of the vocab-
bite vb American ulary of soldiers, scouts, campers and
to be repellent, inferior, worthless. Since ramblers, etc.
around 2000 ‘it bites’ has been synony-
mous with ‘it sucks’. 2. an alternative form of bevvy

bite me! exclamation American biz, the biz n

a cry of contempt or defiance a. show business. A term used by the
self-consciously theatrical, originating as
biting n ‘show biz’ in the style of journalese popu-
selling a graffiti artist’s pen name to larised by Variety magazine.
another young person. Usually seen in
this form rather than the verb ‘to bite’. b. any sphere of activity, such as the
It is a specialisation of the colloquial music biz, the public relations biz, etc.,
sense of bite meaning ‘coercion’. by extension from the first sense. It is
bitofish often used ironically to add a sheen of
bit of fish n British cheap glamour to difficult or thoroughly
sexual contact with a female. The fish mundane jobs. In the company of cogno-
reference is to the supposed smell asso- scenti, any such group may be referred
ciated with female sexuality. This vul- to as the biz.
garism is a successor to the obsolescent c. a term of approbation, as in ‘this is the
‘handful of sprats’. biz’ or ‘he’s the biz’

bit of fluff, bit of stuff n British biaztch

a woman, seen as attractive but frivo- bizatch, biznatch n American

lous, or not to be taken seriously. A con- a. an unpleasant female
descending male term from the early b. a female
1900s, still fairly widespread in the Altered pronunciations of bitch heard for
1960s and not yet quite obsolete. example on campus since 2000.
bitofrough blab

bit of rough n British blab vb

a lover of either sex who exhibits or feigns to inform (on someone), to tell tales or
primitive, aggressive or socially inferior reveal information. The term often has
characteristics. A phrase often used joc- the sense of a garrulous or inadvertent
ularly in the 1980s, originally a variation revelation of a secret or confidence.
of the prostitutes’ and homosexual term Like blabber, the word has meant ‘(to
rough trade. engage in) voluble or indiscreet talk’
She’s always preferred a bit of rough. since the 16th century.
Slang.fm Page 42 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

blabber 42
blab er blade

blabber n Australian blade n

a TV remote control. This item of domes- a knife, particularly when used for pro-
tic slang of the 1980s refers to the mute tective or offensive purposes
capability. No universal slang term for the blag

remote control has yet emerged, though blag n, vb British

zapper is a recorded alternative. a. (to carry out) a robbery. This is the
blackbagjob sense of the term familiar to most people
black bag job n American since its use in TV shows of the 1970s
a break-in or other covert operation car- giving a realistic perspective on criminal
ried out by a government agency. A milieus.
piece of jargon from the time of the
Watergate scandal. b. to scrounge, cadge, deceive or bam-
blackbombers boozle, or the booty from such an activity
black bombers n pl British The word ‘blag’ has been in widespread
capsules of Durophet (a form of use in both sub-senses in underworld and
amphetamine popular among drug police circles since the early 1950s. It is
abusers in the 1960s), named for their presumed that it derives from the French
colour and their powerful effects
black-hole-Bil blague, meaning a joke or blunder, but the
black-hole-Bill adj British details of this etymology are unclear. There
depressing, miserable. An expression have been suggestions that it is more sim-
heard, especially among males, since ply an elaboration of to bag.
around 2000. blah

The weather’s black-hole-Bill today. blah n, adj

I’m feeling black-hole-Bill. (something) dull, tedious, listless, inert.
blackmaria A pejorative term deriving from an
black maria n exclamation of boredom or resignation.
a prison van or police car or van. The The word spread from the USA to Brit-
nickname originated in the USA in the ain before World War II.
mid-19th century (Maria is probably an blair

arbitrary borrowing of a female name as blair, blare (out) vb British

a familiarising device). to criticise, denigrate, belittle. A word

black rat n British of obscure origin (it precedes the media

a traffic patrol officer. An item of police attention paid to the Labour leader Tony
slang recorded by the Evening Standard Blair), it may have originated in black
magazine in February 1993. The black speech and may simply be an appropri-
refers to the uniform and the rat to other ation of the standard meaning of blare,
officers’ and motorists’ dislike of the i.e. to shout, trumpet. The term was
traffic police. recorded in use among North London
schoolboys in 1993 and 1994.
black stump n Australian blam nig

a very remote region. The mythical start- blamming adj British

ing point for ‘the back of beyond’. exciting. Like its earlier synonyms bang-
See also Woop-woop ing and slamming the usage (among stu-
dents, urban gang members, etc. since
blad n British around 2000) derives from the equation
an Afro-Caribbean pronunciation, or imi- of percussion or explosion with physical
tation thereof, of blood, in the sense of 2 and/or emotional stimulus (‘blam’ being
blad erd

bladdered adj British imitative of gunfire in cartoons).

drunk. An increasingly common term blang

blang n American
among middle-aged speakers as well as
students, etc., since the early 1990s. It a later variant form of bling, recorded in
was used in the TV soap opera Brook- 2004

side. blank (someone) vb British

‘“What I like to do on a Monday night is to snub or refuse to speak to someone or
go out and get bladdered”, says Mick.’ acknowledge them. A mainly working-
(Daily Telegraph magazine, 15 June class expression becoming increasingly
1996) popular in London since the later
‘… the conversation begins to steer blad- 1980s. The past participle form
deredly through a number of topics …’ ‘blanked’ in particular is a vogue term
(Q magazine, March 1997) among schoolchildren.
Slang.fm Page 43 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

43 blimp
‘Donna went to see her and she totally evokes the notion of someone struck
blanked her.’ (down) or punished (which has been
(EastEnders, British TV soap opera, rendered by ‘blat’ and ‘blatter’ in dia-
March 1988) lect for centuries).
blast blaw

blast n blaw n British

1a. a party or celebration cannabis, marihuana. An altered pro-
1b. any enjoyable or exhilarating experi- nunciation of blow, heard since 2000.
ence blaezd

blazed, blazed up adj

2. an inhalation of cannabis or another a. intoxicated by drink or drugs
euphoric drug b. in a heightened state of excitement,
3. British a gun. A term used by young anger, etc.
street-gang members in London since bleka

around 2000. bleak adj South African

depressed, disappointed
blat n Australian bleder

a short trip on a bicycle. The word, bleeder n British

which was featured in the long-running an individual, particularly an unfortu-
soap opera Neighbours in 1996, has nate or despicable person. This work-
been adopted by British schoolchildren. ing-class term often conveys strong

blatant adj dislike or contempt. It dates from the

1. obvious. Can be used to express sur- 19th century, but has lost popularity
prise, as in: ‘What the blatant pantsgan since the 1960s.

do you think you’re doing?’ bleeding adj British

2. outright an intensifying term, currently out of
3. excessive, outrageous. A vogue term fashion except in the expression ‘(the)
(invariably used to indicate approval) bleedin’ obvious’, but widespread in the
among adolescents since the mid-1990s. 1960s when it was significantly stronger
‘Crispin was being blatant again as usual than bloody. This usage probably dates
when we went to TuTu’s.’ from the 19th century in working-class
(Recorded, London University student, speech.

December 1996) Blighty n British

4. Blatant! an exclamation of agreement Britain. An anglicisation of the Hindus-

blates adj, adv British tani bilayati, meaning foreign. The word
a short form of blatant or blatantly in their was originally used with some affection
slang senses by the pre-World War I colonial army,
but is now used only to suggest mock
blathered adj British jingoism.
drunk. The term has been used by stu-
dents since 2000. Synonyms include ‘I was blown through the door and put my
bladdered, blatted and lathered. hand to my head. It was covered in blood,
blatherskiet but we had no thoughts of Blighty. We
blatherskite, blatherskate, bletherskite n didn’t want to go back, we’d only just
a. a boastful or bombastic person, a come.’
‘windbag’ (World War I veteran David Watson, Inde-
b. a villainous or disreputable person pendent, 12 November 1988)
This picturesque word is the American blmi

and Australian version of the Scottish dia-

blim1 n British
a very small portion of a drug, usually
lect word ‘bletherskate’. Although it is a
fairly innocuous term of mild abuse, it de-
hashish. A coinage recorded among
rives from ‘blether’ meaning a bladder or
drug users and dealers in London from
the late 1980s.
to blather, and ‘skate’, a dialect variant of
blim2 vb British

shit. The image evoked is of someone who

is ‘full of shit’. During the War of Independ- to drop burning embers of cannabis
ence, Americans became familiar with the ‘You’re not skinning up in here, you
word from the Scottish song, Maggie blimmed the carpet last time.’
Lauder. (Recorded, Southampton, 2000)
blated blmi p

blatted adj British blimp n

intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. A popu- a fat person. A favourite American col-
lar word among adolescents since the lege-student term of derision, also
1990s. Like many synonyms, the word heard among British schoolchildren and
Slang.fm Page 44 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

blimp out 44
others since the 1980s. From the name term was reported in the Observer news-
of the World War I barrage balloon. paper in February 2004.: it refers to bling
‘When I was playing tennis I was just a fat as an emblematic term of youth affilia-
blimp waddling round the court.’ tion.
(Annabel Croft, Today, 7 February 1989)

blimp uot
blissed-out adj
blimp out vb American ecstatic, euphoric or in a trance, specif-
to become sated and/or collapse from ically as a result of a religious experi-
overeating. An elaboration of blimp in the ence. The term is from the jargon of
sense of a fat person. In black street transcendent ‘fringe’ or alternative reli-
slang of the 1990s it was often shortened gious cults of the late 1960s.
to ‘blimp’. blitzed

blitzed adj

blind adj South African very drunk or stoned. The usage ulti-
unpleasant, painful. Recorded as an mately derives from the German Blitz
item of Sowetan slang in the Cape Sun- (lightning) and Krieg (war).
day Times, 29 January 1995. ‘Jesus, she was completely blitzed, abso-
lutely out of her head.’

blinder n British
an impressive or exciting action, thing (Recorded, photographer, London,
or person. The word, which is often used 1989)

for a sporting feat, commonly in the bloater, bloat n British

phrase to ‘play a blinder’, implies some- a fat or overweight person. A bloater is
thing ‘visually stunning’. an edible fish, but the slang term is

Blind Freddie n Australian probably derived from ‘bloated’.


the personification of a slow-witted, blob n British

ignorant individual. The term is usually 1. a corpse, road-accident victim. An
employed in phrases such as ‘even unsympathetic term used by ambulance
Blind Freddie knows that’. men, the police and tramps.

blinding adj, exclamation British 2. an ulcer, excrescence

excellent, outstanding, astonishing. This 3. a bodily protuberance, a breast or a
old term of approbation from the lan- testicle
guage of middle-aged Londoners was 4. a condom.
adopted as a vogue term by adolescents See also on the blob
in the 1990s, sometimes in the form of an The second and third senses of the word
exclamation. (The colloquial blinder, are recent mock-childish coinages in use
meaning a dazzling feat, has been popu- particularly among schoolchildren and
lar since the 1970s.) students.
It was a totally blinding bop. In archaic British slang, blob has been
‘Recently I bought a copy of the Big used in a variety of sexually related con-
Issue. The man took the money and then, texts, e.g. ‘on blob’, meaning sexually
instead of the usual “Cheers!” or even aroused, and ‘blobbing’, meaning suffer-
“Thank you!”, he said, “Blinding!”’ ing from a venereal infection.
(Daily Telegraph magazine, September blobocracy

1996) blobocracy n British

members of middle management or
bling, bling-bling n office workers, especially those consid-
a. jewellery
ered unimaginative and undynamic.
b. ostentation, conspicuous display. This dismissive epithet was heard in the
See also chav office slang of the 1990s, typically
These terms, from US hip hop and street used by senior executives of their subor-
usage, became emblematic of an assertive dinates.
vulgarity and conspicuous consumption in ‘If you want to get anything done, the sim-
popular culture and the media from plest thing is just avoid the blobocracy
around 2000. and push it upstairs as fast and hard as

blingage n American you can.’

a more recent version of bling (Recorded, advertising sales executive,

blinglish n British London, 1995)


an imitation by white or Asian speakers of blob-strop n British

black speech patterns, especially of hip a bout of bad temper on the part of a
hop slang and a Caribbean accent. The female. The term, from on the blob and
Slang.fm Page 45 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

45 blooter
strop, refers to pre-menstrual tension and derived from the Hindustani for a man;
is used by speakers of both sexes. in Dutch blok means a fool. Whatever
She threw a terrible blob-strop. its ultimate origin, bloke entered British
Sorry, it’s just a blob-strop. usage early in the 19th century and is

blob wagon n British still thriving in colloquial speech.

an ambulance. From the language of ‘I went into the boozer the other day and
tramps and dossers. there was this bloke I hadn’t seen for 25
‘Being rescued by the “blob wagon” for years.’
hospital treatment.’ (William Donaldson, Independent, 26
(Observer, August 1987) August 1989)

blonde adj

block n British
1. the head. Since the early 1950s this slow-witted, vapid, scatterbrained. The
old term has only been used as part of pejorative use followed the rash of jokes
phrases such as ‘knock someone’s block which circulated internationally from
off’ or ‘do one’s block’. around 1999, based on the supposed
2. the block solitary confinement. A pris- vacuity of blonde females and rein-
oners’ term which is a shortening of ‘pun- forced by Hollywood comedies such as
ishment block’. Down the block denotes Legally Blonde. ‘Blondespeak’,
being (sent) in(to) solitary confinement. recorded in 2004, denotes simplified

block (in) vb British language as supposedly used by or to

to have sex (with). A working-class male blondes.
vulgarism heard from the late 19th cen- Don’t be so blonde!
tury until the 1960s. It may now be That was real blonde.

obsolete. blood n American

a term of endearment or address used

blocked adj British

under the influence of drugs, especially by black men to fellow males, it is a
pep pills or amphetamines. This word shortening of ‘blood brother’, or a ver-
was popular in the early 1960s among sion of ‘young blood’ as applied to tribal
mods, who used it to refer to the state of warriors. By 2005 it was a common
intoxication caused by ‘pep pills’ or greeting among youths in East London,
amphetamines, such as purple hearts, usually pronounced ‘blad’.
blues, black bombers, etc. The origin is

blood-house n Australian
probably in the idea that one’s block, or a squalid, disreputable establishment,
head, is completely taken over and partly usually a bar, pub, café or hotel. The
incapacitated by the drug. This is rein- term probably arose in the 19th cen-
forced by the fact that a side-effect of tury. An East London theatre specialis-
amphetamines is to make the user ing in gory melodramas was nicknamed
tongue-tied, so that communication is lit- ‘The Blood-hole’ in the late 1800s.
erally blocked. blody

bloody adj British

‘“Does that mean you’re blocked out of an intensifying adjective which is now
your mind on stage?” considered fairly mild, but which was
“It means we’re blocked out of our minds held to be taboo in many circles until
all the time”.’ the later 1960s. The standard folk ety-
(Pete Townshend of The Who, inter- mology is from the oath ‘by our lady’,
viewed on the television programme A but the word is more probably a simple
Whole Scene Going, 1966) extension of the literal meaning.

bloke n bloper

blooper n American
a man. The most widespread slang term a mistake, blunder. A coinage influ-
in Britain and Australia from the enced by ‘bloomer’.
1950s, when it superseded ‘chap’ and
‘fellow’, to the 1970s, when ‘guy’ began ‘TV Censored Bloopers.’
to rival it in popularity amongst younger (US TV programme featuring humorous
speakers. The exact origin of the word is out-takes from films and TV series, 1988)

mysterious. It seems to have entered blooter n British

working-class slang from vagrants’ jar- a failure, mess, an instance of excessive
gon; either from Shelta, the Irish travel- behaviour. The origin of the word is
lers’ secret language, or from Romany. unclear, but it is presumably related to
Romany has a word, loke, which is ‘bloomer’ and blooper.
Slang.fm Page 46 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

blootered 46
blo ter d blowaway

blootered adj British blow (someone) away vb

drunk. The term is heard particularly in to kill someone, especially by shooting
the Scottish Lowlands and the north of them. A widespread euphemism origi-
England, and is perhaps influenced by nally in American underworld and mili-
the noun blooter or by blotto. tary usage.

blot n Australian blower,the

blower, the n British

the anus. One of many Australian vul- a telephone. A slang term which was
garisms for this. common by the 1940s and is still

blotto adj heard. It may originate in ‘blow’ as an

drunk. The word appeared around archaic term meaning ‘to talk’, or from
1905. It implies that the person in the habit of blowing into an old tele-
question has soaked up alcohol in the phone mouthpiece before speaking.
manner of blotting paper. Get Nelson on the blower, will you.
blouseb-un eis

blouse-bunnies n pl blowfurt

blowfurt, blowfoot, blue foot n British

female breasts
a white person who affects black man-
The jocular nickname/euphemism, popu- nerisms, clothing, etc. A highly pejorative
lar since 2000, is used by males. term of uncertain derivation used by
blow1 vb American

black teenagers in the early 1990s; it

1. to leave, go suddenly. A shortening of may originate in Caribbean patois. Mild
‘blow away’. disapproval is indicated by the more
I better blow town before the cops come widespread wigga.
looking for me. blowhadr

2. to perform fellatio (upon someone). In blowhard n

this sense the term may either derive a pompous and/or aggressive person, a
from blow job or may be the source of blusterer. The term seems to have arisen
that expression. in American speech but is now heard in
‘Who blew and were blown by those
all English-speaking regions. Puff-bucket
human seraphim, the sailors, caresses of is a near synonym.

Atlantic and Caribbean love.’ blowin’ adj

(Howl, poem by Allen Ginsberg, 1956) angry or annoyed. An item of black
3a. to smoke. In this sense the verb is street-talk used especially by males,
typically used by devotees of cannabis. recorded in 2003.
Let’s get together and blow a couple of blow-in

blow-in n Australian
numbers. a newcomer and/or interloper. The
3b. to sniff, snort. A cocaine (and occa- noun, usually referring to an unwelcome
sionally amphetamine) users’ term for visitor, is based on the colloquial verb
inhalation. ‘to blow in’ meaning to arrive unexpect-
4. to be repellent. A rarer synonym of to edly.
suck, heard among school and college I’ve got enough to do without having to
students. deal with bloody blow-ins.
‘Nice party, Dorothy’ blowjob

‘It blows.’ blow job n

(Valentine, US film, 2001) an act of fellatio. This term, now wide-
5. to play a musical instrument (not nec- spread in English-speaking countries,
essarily a wind instrument) in hip talk spread from the USA in the 1960s. A
puzzling misnomer to many, to blow in
blow2 n

this context is probably a euphemism for

1a. cannabis for smoking (hashish or ejaculate, a usage occasionally recorded
marihuana). A drug users’ term. in the 1950s. This may itself be influ-
1b. tobacco. A usage encountered espe- enced by the ‘there (s)he blows’ of whal-
cially in the speech of prison inmates. ing cliché. An alternative and equally
Both instances are based on the use of the plausible derivation of blow job is from
verb to blow to mean smoke. the black jazz musicians’ hip talk expres-
2. cocaine. The use of blow to mean sion blow, meaning to play (an instru-
cocaine spread from the USA to Britain in ment). This term probably caught on in
the later 1970s. Britain and Australia simply because
From the slang use of the verb to blow to there was no well-known alternative in
mean both inhale and consume. existence.
Slang.fm Page 47 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

47 blow the gaff

eralised to cover less momentous

blown away adj

1. killed. A cold-blooded euphemism on instances of surprise, awe, admiration,
the same lines as dusted. etc. Now dated, the expression is still in
2. (pleasurably) surprised, ‘transported’, many people’s passive vocabulary,
gobsmacked allowing it to be used, e.g., in advertis-

blown out adj ing copy as late as 1989.

1. American tired, exhausted or hung ‘Happiness is hard to find – we just want
over. A high-school and preppie term peace to blow our minds.’
probably adapted from the following (Lyrics to Revolution by Tomorrow, 1967)
sense. ‘She blew my nose and then she blew my
2. American intoxicated or euphoric after mind.’
taking drugs, high. This use is still heard, (Honky Tonk Woman, Rolling Stones,
but less commonly than during the hippy 1971)
era. ‘The way she came on to me – it com-
3. American ruined, failed. Used typically pletely blew my mind.’
of an event or an opportunity. (Recorded, student, London, 1976)
4. full of food, gorged. From the verb to blowout

blow out vb
blow out. 1a. to reject someone (especially a lover)
5. rejected, cast aside, expelled. From or something. From the image of violently
the verb to blow out. expelling something.
Her past is littered with the corpses of 1b. to cancel, especially unexpectedly. In
blown out lovers. this sense the phrase applies typically to

blown-up adj American a pop group cancelling a tour or concert.

a. excessive, impressive. An expression 2. to over-eat as a matter of sensual
used on campus in the USA since indulgence. From the image of the stom-
around 2000. ach being blown out like a balloon.
That party sure was blown-up; there blow-out

must’ve been two hundred people there. blow-out n

b. strong, powerful an occasion of over-indulgence, partic-
ularly excessive eating and drinking
Man that spliff was blown-up.
blowof ‘Have a blow-out at Les Trois Marches.’
blow off vb (Mail on Sunday, ‘You’ magazine, March
1. British to fart. A children’s term of the 1988)
1950s which was revived in the 1980s. blowsomeone’smind

‘We were right in the middle of the restau- blow someone’s mind vb
rant and Kitty blew off in front of them all.’ a. to give someone a hallucinogenic drug
(Recorded, father, London, 1986) b. to astound, transport, bamboozle or
2. American to reject, get rid of someone overwhelm someone, or in some other
or something. A less common variant of way to radically and rapidly alter their
blow out. mood or consciousness. An extension of
3. American to absent oneself, avoid, the first sense.
waste time. The verb, popular in campus ‘We’re not out to blow people’s minds
usage, can be employed transitively or however. We’re out to get through to
intransitively. them.’
We decided to blow off the class and hit (Pete Townshend, Oz magazine, June
the beach. 1969)
Don’t go to the office today; blow off Both senses of the phrase were part of the
instead. hippy lexicon of the 1960s and are now
dated. (The Beatles were castigated for
blowones’ cokeis/doughnuts/groecreis/lunch/grits

blow one’s cookies / doughnuts /

groceries / lunch / grits vb American their ambiguous use of ‘I want to blow your
to vomit. Colourful euphemisms from mind’ in the lyrics of A Day in the Life in
the lexicon of high-school and college 1967.)

blowones’ mind
blow the gaff vb
blow one’s mind vb to give away information, reveal a secret,
to be transported beyond a normal state inform on someone. This picturesque
of mental equilibrium, experience sud- phrase was derived from the archaic
den euphoria or disorientation. A key term ‘gaff’ meaning a trickster’s strategy
term from the lexicon of drug users of or paraphernalia. Although it dates from
the 1960s, this phrase was rapidly gen- the early 19th century and often evokes
Slang.fm Page 48 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

blub 48
the world of spivs or gangsters, the

bluebottle n British
expression is still used. Confusingly, blow a police officer. A term popular in the
the gaff could conceivably also now 1950s and still heard. It has been used
mean ‘leave (blow) the premises (gaff)’. in Britain since the 16th century, well

blub vb British before policemen wore uniforms, and

to cry, weep. A middle-class children’s indeed existed in any organised form,
and public-school term, typically used which suggests that the original refer-
derisively. It is a shortening of the collo- ence was to an annoying pestilential
quial ‘blubber’. presence.
‘But the boiled egg made his gorge rise, ‘Before you could turn round the place
and it was as much as he could do to stop filled up with bluebottles.’
himself blubbing over the toast and mar- (Recorded, pub habitué, London, 1987)
bulefo t

malade.’ blue foot n British

(Scandal, A. N. Wilson, 1983) a prostitute. An ephemeral word of

bludge vb Australian uncertain origin.

to cadge, scrounge, shirk or loaf. Origi- (Recorded by Deputy Assistant Commis-
nally the word meant to bully and was a sioner David Powis in his Field Manual for
shortening of bludgeon. It later meant to Police, 1977)

live off immoral earnings. The word, bluie, bluey n

which has given rise to the more com- 1. British a five-pound note or an amount
mon bludger, was introduced to Britain of £5, from the turquoise colour of the
via Australian TV soap operas in the late banknote. A term used by young street-
1980s. gang members in London since around

bludger n Australian 2000.

a cadger or scrounger, a disreputable or 2. Australian a red-headed man. A com-
despicable person. (A dole-bludger is the mon facetious nickname also rendered
Australian equivalent of the British ‘dole as blue.

scrounger’.) blunt n
a marihuana cigarette, joint. This term,
blue n fashionable in the USA and the UK since
1. Australian a violent row or fight the early 1990s, originally referred to a
‘They got into a blue – Kelly pushed Char- cigar hollowed out and filled with a com-
lene into a gooseberry bush.’ bination of cannabis and cocaine.
(Neighbours, Australian TV soap opera, We prefer to spark up a blunt and kick
1987) back.
2. British an amphetamine tablet. A term bulnts

blunts n British
from the 1960s when these tablets were cigarette papers. The term was recorded
light blue in colour and also known as in 2001.
‘French blues’ and ‘double-blues’. B.MO. C.

(Strictly speaking blues were tablets of B.M.O.C. n American

drinamyl, a mixed amphetamine and ‘big man on campus’; a preppie and stu-
barbiturate preparation, prescribed for dent term for an influential fellow stu-
slimmers.) dent.
3. a police officer. A rare usage, but occa- Compare B.N.I.C.

sionally heard in all English-speaking B.M.W. n American

countries; it is usually in the plural form. a successful black male. The initials,
4. Australian a red-headed man. A nick- punning on the brand name of a favourite
name mentioned in Rolf Harris’s well- German car, stand for ‘Black Man Work-
known song ‘Tie me kangaroo down, ing’. An item of black street-talk included
sport!’. in so-called Ebonics, recognised as a
blue blas

blue balls n legitimate language variety by school offi-

a condition of acute (male) sexual frus- cials in Oakland, California, in late 1996.
tration, jocularly supposed to bring on a Compare B.N.I.C.

case of orchiditis, the testicles swelling B.N.I.C. n American

to bursting point. This American expres- a successful or dominant black male.
sion of the 1950s, popular then among The initials stand for ‘Boss Nigger In
college students, has since spread to Charge’. An item of black street-talk that
other English-speaking communities. was included in so-called Ebonics, recog-
Slang.fm Page 49 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

49 bobo
nised as a legitimate language variety by
bob le and scar)f

bobble ((hat) and scarf) vb, n British

school officials in Oakland, California, in (to) laugh. A rhyming slang phrase heard
late 1996. since around 2000. Bubble-bath is a syn-
Compare B.M.O.C.; B.M.W. onym.

boak vb British You’re ’avin a bobble mate.

bob y

to vomit. The term, probably echoic in bobby n British

origin, is heard particularly in the Scot- a policeman. A widely known nickname,
tish Lowlands, the north of England and usually applied to constables or uni-
Northern Ireland. It occurs in the work formed officers. Rarely heard except in
of the Scottish novelist James Kelman jest since the 1960s, the word derived
and the Northern Irish poet Tom Paulin. from the Christian name of Sir Robert
It makes me want to boak. Peel, who founded the Metropolitan
We could hear him boaking in the next Police in 1828.
bob ydaz elr

room. bobbydazzler n British


boat n American something or someone impressive or

a desirable, attractive individual. This dazzling. The word dates from the late
item of adolescent slang is a clipping of 19th century.
bob ysoexr

the colloquial dreamboat. bobby soxer n American


boat (race) n British a teenage girl. The phrase referred to

the face. A piece of London rhyming the short white socks worn as part of a
slang which is still heard in both the standard ensemble in the 1930s and
shortened and full form. (The Oxford 1940s. The term itself survived until
and Cambridge boat race provided an the 1960s.

annual excursion for many East End- BOBFOC n British

ers.) a female with an attractive body but an
‘Nice legs, shame about the boat race.’ ugly face. A very widespread male pejo-
(Sexist catchphrase from the 1970s) rative. The expression, popular since
2000, has been defined as ‘…a woman
bob1 n

with a great rack and pegs, but a face

1. Canadian a fat or well-built woman. like a builder’. The letters stand for
The term, which can be used pejoratively ‘body off Baywatch, face off Crime-
or with mild affection (usually conde- watch’. It is pronounced as a word
scending), is an abbreviation of ‘big ol rather than letter by letter. A 2005
bitch’. review of this dictionary wrongly
2. British the male genitals as visible claimed that the term was an invention
through tight clothing. The term was by lexicographers. In 2006 an alterna-
inspired by the pop musician and impre- tive spelling, BOBFOK, was proposed by
sario Bob Geldof. The female counterpart would-be wits: it stands for ‘body of
is Paula. Barbie, face of Ken’ (the glamorous
bob2 vb American

doll’s square-jawed male consort).

to have sex (with). This fairly inoffensive Bob Hope

Bob Hope n British

term, heard among American adoles- cannabis, dope. Rhyming slang from the
cents, began to be used by younger name of the British-born American
speakers in Scotland and the north of comedian. The term is usually said in full,
England in the late 1990s. Like many as in ‘We’ve run out of Bob Hope, let’s
similar terms (boff, biff, etc.) it probably call the man’. The ‘H’ is often dropped, in
derives from the use of the same word (in self-conscious imitation of the appropri-
this case in British dialect) to denote a jab ate accent (compare the self-conscious
or punch. glottal stop in, e.g., bottle). This is an
‘You hear lads saying they just want to example of rhyming slang used, and
bob her. Not me, mate.’ probably coined, by young middle-class
(Guardian, 15 July 1996) soft-drug users in imitation of traditional
working-class cockney rhyming slang.

bobbins n British bobo

rubbish, worthless items. This usage bobo n

arose in the north of England, referring a ‘bourgeois bohemian’ (person who
originally to the waste bobbins in the simultaneously favours materialistic
wool mills, and is still heard in its gen- behaviour and ‘alternative’ tastes). The
eralised sense. word began to be used in New York in
Slang.fm Page 50 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

bob oneself 50
2001, although it originates in French

bodgie n Australian
as bohème bourgeois. a male member of a youth cult, similar to

bob oneself vb British the British teddy boys of the 1950s. (The
to shit oneself. A vulgarism recorded in female counterpart was a widgie.) In the
2001. 1930s bodgie was apparently used in
American jive talk to denote a male jitter-
bocat vb bug (dance) fanatic; some authorities
to perform oral sex. A term used by dispute this and derive bodgie from the
young street-gang members in London British and Australian verb to bodge.
since around 2000. bdogy

bock bodgy adj British

bock n British inferior, malfunctioning or out of order. A
bad luck. This obscure term, cited as an late-1980s adolescent term based on
example of the jargon of cat burglars, bodge-up.
was recorded in FHM magazine in April ‘Hey mate, your machine’s bodgy!’
1996. (Recorded, video arcade habitué, 1989)

bod n BO. F.

B.O.F., b.o.f. n British

1. the body. The short form is usually a ‘boring old fart’. An expression of deri-
heard in American speech, as in ‘check sion institutionalised by rock-music jour-
out his great bod’. In British middle-class nalists in the mid- and late 1970s,
speech it refers to an individual, as in usually applied by devotees of punk
‘odd-bod’. music to musicians of the hippy era who
2. British a tedious, intrusive, pretentious were entering middle age.
or otherwise irritating person. A vogue ‘Taking all my B.O.F. records and paper-
term among the fashionable young in the backs down to [the] jumble sale…’
later 1980s. The word may be a shorten- (Sincerely yours, Biff, Chris Garratt and
ing of the synonymous ‘wimp-bod’. Mick Kidd, 1986)
‘We are going to create a club without boff1 vb

bods…No bods. Bods being the sort of 1. to hit, punch. A nursery variant of biff,
chaps who’ve got onto the scene and just occasionally used semi-facetiously by
stuck like glue.’ adults.
(Evening Standard, 12 June 1989) 2. to have sex (with), fuck

bodacious, boldacious adj ‘“He’s a logical choice”.

fearsome, enormous, impressive, feisty. “So the fact he’s boffing her has nothing
The word is now often used in black to do with it?”’
speech and by teenagers and has spread (Vice Versa, US film, 1986)
from American usage (where it origi- The term boff came to temporary promi-
nated) to the language of British teenag- nence in Britain in 1974 when newspa-
ers. It appears to be a blend of bold and pers reported it as current among the
audacious, but Chapman’s New Diction- upper-class set of which Lord Lucan (fugi-
ary of American Slang derives it from tive and alleged murderer) was a member.
‘body-atiously’, meaning bodily. This gentle-sounding word, with its sug-

bodge n, vb Australian, British gestions of ‘puff’, ‘buff’ and ‘buffer’, next

(to do) a slapdash job, especially in con- appeared as a convenient euphemism
structing something. The term may be a employed in US TV series, such as Soap,
back-formation from ‘bodger’, a rural of the late 1970s and 1980s, where verisi-
craftsman who works out-of-doors in militude would demand a more brusque
primitive conditions roughly shaping alternative. It is unclear whether the word
and turning, e.g., chair-legs and spin- is American or British in origin or a simul-
dles, or may be from the related stand- taneous coinage. It may derive from its
ard verb to ‘botch’. nursery sense of ‘to hit’.
boff2 n
bodge-up bof

bodge-up n British
1. a makeshift repair, a ramshackle con- 1. British the backside, buttocks
struction. The result of someone bodging ‘A kick up the boff.’
a job. (Only Fools and Horses, British TV com-
2. a mess or disaster. A variant of balls- edy series, 1989)
up or ‘botch-up’ influenced by the above 2a. American a successful joke
sense. 2b. American a hearty laugh
Slang.fm Page 51 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

51 bog off
Both senses of the word are part of the jar-

bogan n Australian
gon of the entertainment industry and are a member of a social group first identified
probably imitative of an explosive chortle, by journalists in the 1970s, consisting of
or else like ‘biff’ denote a ‘hit’. uneducated working-class young adults,
3. British a swot. The word is probably a roughly the equivalents of US trailer trash
shortening of the colloquial ‘boffin’. and the more recent UK chavs
‘Some took so much pride in never being ‘Identifying a Bogan is not difficult. Males
seen with a book, they had virtual slaves sport a distinctive hair growth called a
carry their books to and from school…the “mullet”…Female Bogans are entrusted
worst thing you could be was a “boff” or with the raising of multiple offspring.’
an “anorak”.’ (www.effect.net.au, September 2004)
(Independent, 17 November 1996)

bogart vb
4. British a sweet. In this sense the word to monopolise or fail to pass on a joint or
has been used by schoolchildren since cigarette during communal smoking.
2000. This popular hippy term of the late 1960s
Crash me some boffs. was prompted by the actor Humphrey

boff3 adj American Bogart’s habit in films of keeping a ciga-

rette in his mouth for long periods. The
a variant of the vogue term buff verb originated in the USA and quickly
‘You sure look boff to me.’ spread to other English-speaking areas.
(California Man, US film, 1992) ‘Don’t Bogart that Joint.’

boffo adj American (Song title, The Holy Modal Rounders,

excellent, first-rate. A piece of jargon featured on the soundtrack to the film
from the entertainment world (derived Easy Rider, 1969)
by most experts from ‘box-office’) which

bogey n
has entered popular journalese. 1. British a police officer. Probably from
bof la

boffola adj, n American the notion of the ‘bogey man’.

an uproarious joke or laugh. The word is 2. an enemy aircraft or other enemy pres-
a form of boff with the Spanish -ola suffix ence; a service term from the notion of
denoting large-scale or extra. the ‘bogey man’
3. British a piece of mucus from the nose
bog n British bog ing

a mess, disaster. The word occurs in the bogging, boggin’ adj British
phrase ‘make a bog of (something)’, stinking, filthy, disgusting. The term is
popular in the 1980s. heard particularly in the Scottish Low-
bog lands and the north of England, and is
bog(s) n British probably based on bog in the sense of toi-
a toilet. A widespread vulgar term, prob- let.
ably coined by students or servicemen ‘My jeans are just boggin’.’
in the 19th century in the form of ‘bog- (Singer Sharleen Spiteri, 2000)
house’ to describe foul communal lava- bog o

tories. The term is used in Australia, boggo adj, n British

too. standard, ordinary (merchandise). This
variation of the colloquial ‘bog-stand-
‘“I ran into Shane”, said Spider Stacey, ard’ has been recorded among adult
“at a Ramones gig at the Roundhouse.
speakers since the 1990s.
He was standing on top of the bog, for
some reason”.’ ‘It makes me laugh all this fuss in the pa-
(Evening Standard, 17 March 1988) pers about Porsches and Mercs being
what we’re after – we’re coming for your
bog (up) vb British boggo stuff.’
a. to make a mess of, spoil. Usually heard (Car thief, quoted in the AA Magazine,
in the form ‘bog it’ or ‘bog it up’. A term 1995)
especially popular in public schools and bogin

bog in vb Australian
the armed forces. to begin (a meal), to eat with relish. A
b. to make the end of a cigarette or joint vulgar alternative form of the colloquial
wet and mushy while smoking it ‘tuck in’.

bog-all n British bog off vb British

a synonym for fuck-all, bugger-all, ‘naff- to leave, go away. Nearly always used as
all’, etc. an aggressive exclamation or instruction.
Slang.fm Page 52 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

bog-roll 52
A vulgar term that existed in armed-serv-

boiler n British
ice use before becoming a vogue succes- a woman. A contemptuous, derogatory
sor to naff off around 1980. In spite of the term, implying a lack of both attractive-
brusque nature, the phrase is not taboo ness and intelligence, commonly used
and is used by women. by young working-class males. The
‘If he’s going to treat her like that he can phrase ‘dodgy boiler’ suggests the extra
just bog off.’ possibility of sexually transmitted dis-
(Recorded, secretary, York, 1981) eases. The word in this sense originated

bog-roll n British pre-World War II when it referred to an

a. a toilet roll older woman with the dimensions and
b. paperwork or a computer printout explosive attributes of the contraption.
bog-troter An alternative derivation is from ‘boiler’
bog-trotter n British as used to denote a tough or scrawny
an Irish person. A pejorative term heard chicken.
since the 17th century. The alternative boink

form ‘bog-hopper’ is sometimes used in boink vb American

to have sex (with), fuck. A 1980s varia-
the USA. tion of bonk, sufficiently inoffensive to be

bogue adj American used in TV series such as Moonlighting.

1. suffering from drug withdrawal. An bokoo1 adj American
bok o

obsolescent term of unknown origin from very. This facetious adoption of the
the jargon of narcotics addicts. French beaucoup (‘much’ or ‘many’)
2a. worthless, counterfeit. From under- probably originated in black bebop or
world usage. white Cajun usage, but by the 1990s
2b. unpleasant, insincere. An adolescent was fashionable among hip hop aficio-
term. nados and white adolescents. (Some
2c. inferior, ersatz. A vogue term among authorities claim alternatively that it
adolescents, it is a shortening, like the was adopted by US servicemen from the
two preceding senses, of bogus, itself a French-speaking Vietnamese. The same
key item of fashionable youth slang. French word appeared in British slang
after World War I in the form ‘boko’,

bog-up n British
a mess, a badly improvised job. A more now obsolete.)
vulgar form of ‘botch-up’ and bodge-up. The program was, like, bokoo boring.
bokoo2 n American
bok o

bogus adj American

unpleasant, unacceptable. The stand- a large quantity or a number of items.
ard meaning of bogus (the word is said The noun form is probably less common
to have been the name of a counterfeit- than the adjectival.
ing machine) was adapted in adolescent She said how much did you want and I
usage to become an all-purpose vogue said, bokoo.

term of disapproval. bold adj British

‘Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey’ flamboyant, daringly fashionable. A
(Title of US film, 1991) vogue word of the mid-1960s, originating
bog-wagon as a camp code word for a fashionable or
bog-wagon n Australian overt gay. The word was adopted by mods
a private van, particularly one which has as a term of approbation in 1965 and was
been customised and/or decorated used as the name of a chain of men’s
inside. Like shaggin’ wagon, it sometimes boutiques.
denotes a vehicle equipped for seduc- bolid

tion. bolid n British

hashish. The word is an alteration of the
boho adj earlier solid, in use among students in
bohemian, often in the sense of scruffy the south of England in 2002.
and/or irresponsible. This Americanism bolers

bollers n British
was fashionable from the late 1980s money. The term is probably a humorous
among London journalists. alteration of dollars, perhaps influenced

bohunk n American by boyz. It may mean simply money or a

an East European immigrant. This old large quantity of money, as in ‘He’s got
term deriving from Bohemian/Hungar- bollers’. The term was recorded in use
ian is offensive and occasionally still among North London schoolboys in 1993
heard. It is synonymous with ‘oaf’. and 1994.
Slang.fm Page 53 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

53 bona
bolixed bolox

bollixed, bollixed-up adj bollox, bollocks adj British

ruined, messed up. A derivation of bol- bad. An adjectival form of the earlier
locks which, in American English, is used noun, used by younger speakers since
as a less offensive version of ‘ball(s)ed- 2000.

up’. bolt vb American

bol ck

bollock1 n British to leave, go away. A Valley Girl and teen-

a ball (in the sense of a dance). A Sloane agers’ expression usually denoting a lei-
Ranger witticism said quite unselfcon- surely departure.

sciously by girls as well as boys, Hunt bol- bolted-up adj British

locks and Charity bollocks being regular a synonym for fitted up or framed, in crim-
features in the annual social calendar. inal jargon of the late 1980s
bol ck
‘I’ve got about 30 previous – about half of
bollock2 vb British those, I was bolted-up.’
to chastise, severely scold or dress (Recorded, bag snatcher, London, 1988)
down. The word has been used in this bom

way since the early years of the 20th bom adj British
century. exciting, impressive. The term, used by
bol cking young black speakers in London since
bollocking n British 2000, may be a form of bomb or boom.
a severe telling-off, chastisement or bomb

bomb vb
dressing-down to put one’s tag (personal signature) on a
‘He was all set for giving me a bollocking building. From the jargon of graffiti art-
for parking where I shouldn’t.’ ists.
(Guardian, 12 December 1987) ‘Welcome to a freshly-bombed station.’
bol ckn-aked

bollock-naked adj British (Graffito, East Putney underground sta-

completely nude. A more vehement ver- tion, London, 1988)

sion is ‘stark bollock-naked’. In spite of bomb, the n, adj

its etymology, the expression may on (something) superlative. A vogue term in
occasion refer to women. the USA in hip talk, teenage and campus
bol cks

bollocks slang since the later 1990s, now also

heard in other English-speaking areas. It
1. n pl the testicles. A version of this word is often rendered as ‘da bomb’ in imita-
has existed since Anglo-Saxon times; in tion of Afro-Caribbean speech or hip talk.
Old English it was bealluc, a diminutive or bombacal t

familiar elaboration of bula, meaning ball. bombaclaat n See bambaclaat


For much of its existence the word, usu- bombed adj

ally spelled ‘ballocks’, was standard (if drunk or stoned on illicit drugs. ‘Bombed
coarse) English. out of one’s mind/skull’ is a common
2. n pl British rubbish, nonsense. Often elaboration.
used as an exclamation or in expressing ‘Harvey decided his only real option was
derision or dismissal such as ‘a load of to get bombed out of his skull; some
(old) bollocks’, this sense of the term has things never went out of style, thank
existed since the early 20th century. God…’
‘Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex (The Serial, Cyra McFadden, 1976)

Pistols.’ bomber n
(Title of LP, 1977) 1a. a pill or capsule of an illicit drug,
See also bollock1 especially amphetamines.
3. n, adj the bollocks British (something) See also black bombers
excellent. A shortened form of the dog’s 1b. a joint, especially a large or powerful
bollocks, used by younger speakers one
since around 2000. 2. a graffiti artist. From the verb to bomb.
bol ckesd
3. South African a train. Recorded as an
bollocksed adj British item of Sowetan slang in the Cape Sun-
drunk. An item of student slang in use day Times, 29 January 1995.
in London and elsewhere since around bona

2000. bona adj, exclamation British

bol cky
excellent, fine, the real thing. An all-pur-
bollocky adj Australian pose term of approbation increasingly
a variant form of bollock-naked heard among working-class Londoners in
Slang.fm Page 54 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

bonce 54
the 1980s, probably derived from ‘bona

bones n pl
fide’ or from the Spanish and Italian 1. dice
words for good (buena and buona). In 2. American money
the 1960s bona was part of the camp lex- 3. the drug crack
icon (popularised in Kenneth Horne’s bnoeyard

radio comedy shows), originating in the- boneyard n

a cemetery
atrical performers’ and prostitutes’ argot
bong1, bhong n

of the 19th century, in which it often

meant ‘beautiful’. a water-pipe for smoking cannabis,
a bona geezer strictly one with a carburation hole so that
bonce the smoker can add air at will to the
bonce n British smoke. The typical bong is smaller than a
the head. Bonce was a mid-19th-cen- hubble-bubble but larger than a pipe. A
tury dialect and schoolboy term for a big part of late 1960s drug paraphernalia.
marble. The word was soon adapted to From the late 1980s the word referred
mean the head, and in that sense also to a crack pipe.
remained popular in young people’s bong2, bong on vb

usage until the 1960s. It now sounds a. Australian to smoke cannabis in a

old-fashioned or affectedly upper class, water-pipe (a bong)
but may be due for revival, in common b. American to smoke crack
with other obsolescent but ‘jolly’ words. bonged

bone bonged adj

bone1 vb stoned after smoking cannabis or crack
to have sex. A vulgarism, originating in bongo’d

bongo’d adj British

American speech, in use in many Eng- thoroughly intoxicated by an illicit drug
lish-speaking areas. Common from the or, less commonly, alcohol. A variant
mid-1980s, it was recorded among black form of synonymous terms such as
Londoners in 1999. This usage may be a bombed and banjo’d.
back-formation from boner. bnok

bonk vb British
‘I hate them. to have sex (with). A vogue word of the
Yeah but would you bone them?’ late 1980s; first heard in the late 1970s
(Buffy the Vampire Slayer, US film, 1992) and quickly picked up by the media as a

bone2, bones n useful, vigorous, but printable euphe-

mism for fuck. (The word was first broad-
the drug crack. In this sense the usage cast in a British TV comedy series; at a
appeared around 2000. later date, the tennis champion Boris
boneh ad

bonehead n British Becker was dubbed ‘Bonking Boris’ by

a. a complete fool the gutter press.) It is a childish synonym
b. a skinhead of unusually low intelli- for ‘hit’; the sexual sense may derive from
gence and/or extremely right-wing views. the sound of energetic bouncing. Alter-
The expression was used by skinheads natively, an extended correspondence in
themselves to characterise their more Private Eye magazine suggested that this
brutal fellows, who may also differentiate had long been a schoolboy term meaning
themselves by having almost completely to masturbate or ejaculate. It may also be
shaven heads. significant that the immediately prece-
boner dent vogue word for copulate among
boner n teenagers was knob, which in backslang
1. a clumsy error, serious mistake. The would give bonk.
origin of the term is not clear; it may be ‘They do call it bonking after all, which, as
inspired by ‘bone-headed’ or by a ‘bone- everyone knows, is THE word used by
jarring’ blow. promiscuous people who DON’T REALLY
2. an erection. ‘Bone’, ‘hambone’ and LIKE SEX.’
‘jigging bone’ are all archaic slang terms (Julie Burchill, Elle magazine, December
for the penis. 1987)

‘Do you really want to get all dressed up bonkers adj

so some Drakkar Noir-wearing Dexter a. crazy. A common colloquialism in Brit-
with a boner feels you up?’ ain since the mid-1960s (it seems to
(10 Things I Hate About You, US film, have existed in restricted use since the
1999) 1920s), bonkers has more recently been
Slang.fm Page 55 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

55 boom
adopted by American teenagers. The ciation with boob and ‘booby’ is obvious;
inspiration behind it is uncertain, but it hatch or hutch is an archaic term for
may refer to a bang (‘bonk’) on the head. many different enclosures and contain-
b. fun. Influenced by the associated ers.
notions of wild, excessive and unre- bo c-o

boo-coo(s) n, adj American

strained, this adapted sense of the term variant forms of bokoo
has been popular among adolescents bo f

since 2000. boof, boof-head n Australian

We had a bonkers day out. a stupid person. The terms are heard
throughout the English-speaking world,
bonzer adj Australian but probably originated in Australian
excellent, great. A word sometimes usage before World War II.
adopted for humorous use by British bo g

speakers. It may derive from bonanza or boog n British

from Latinate words for ‘good’. a foolish, unfortunate or unpleasant per-
son, a misfit. In use among adolescents
boo n American since 2000. It is probably an arbitrary
1a. a term of endearment, especially coinage, possibly influenced by booger
towards a partner of either sex and/or bugger.
1b. a ‘significant other’, e.g. a partner, bo ger

girl/boyfriend booger n American

An expression used on campus in the USA a piece of mucus from the nose. This is
since around 2000. the American version of bogey.
bo k

2. marihuana. A former black slang word, book1 vb American

adopted by hippies in the late 1970s. It is to depart, leave. A fashionable term of
possibly a pre-World War II adoption of the 1990s in black street usage and also
jabooby, an African term for fear, or else heard among white adolescents. A vari-
derives from the adjectival sense. ety of euphemisms (like its contemporar-

boob1, boo-boo vb ies bail, bill, jam and jet) for ‘run away’
to blunder, commit a gaffe or error. The are essential to the argot of gang mem-
verb to boob, based on the earlier nouns bers and their playground imitators. The
‘booby’ and ‘boob’ in the sense of a fool, origin of this usage is not certain; it may
has been in use since before World War derive from an earlier phrase ‘book it’,
II, the reduplicated form boo-boo since meaning that someone has to return
the 1960s. home quickly in order to record a trans-
bob action.
boob2 n British bo k

jail. An item of prison slang from the book2 adj British

1990s, probably a shortened version of cool. When using predictive text in text
booby hatch in the sense of an institution messaging, an attempt to enter ‘cool’ will
in which one becomes crazy. prompt the option ‘book’, hence its ironic
bobs substitution by teenagers also in speech.
boobs n pl bo m

female breasts. The only slang word for boom1 n

the breasts which is currently acceptable 1. American a stereo cassette player,
in ‘polite circles’. (It is also used in the particularly one fitted in a car. A teenag-
singular form, ‘boob’.) It is a less brusque ers’ term recorded in California in 1987.
variant of the more vulgar bubs or bubbies 2. a party. A teenagers’ term in use in
which probably derive from the noises Britain and the USA since the early
made by suckling babies. Boobs has 1980s.
been a fashionable term since the mid- bo m

boom2 adj
1960s; bubbie since the 17th century. a. excellent, exciting
‘Gimme the good old days – when a pair b. sexually attractive
of boobs was a couple of dumb guys.’
The usage, popular since 2000, probably
(Smokey and the Bandit III, US film,
originated in Afro-Caribbean speech. In
2005, pupils at a South London secondary
booby hatch n school excused their apparent booing of
a psychiatric hospital. A jocular term, Prime Minister Tony Blair by claiming that
originally from North America. The asso- they were in fact chanting ‘boom!’
Slang.fm Page 56 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

boomer 56
bo mer bot

boomer n boot vb
1. Australian a particularly large kanga- 1. American to vomit. This preppie
roo. ‘Boom’ is an archaic term meaning expression is either echoic or is a blend of
to rush or move forcefully. barf and ‘hoot’.
2. Australian something excellent, admi- 2. to leave, depart. Like bail, book, break
rable, exciting a key term in the argot of street gangs.

3. American a member of the so-called booted adj

baby-boom generation born between 1. American expelled, ‘booted out’ (of
1945 and 1960. The term came into school or college). A preppie term of the
prominence in the 1990s as the adult 1970s.
lifestyle of this age-group came under 2. British ugly. One of a set of terms,
renewed scrutiny. including busted and kicked, in vogue
bo m-ting

boom-ting n British since 2000 and employing a damage

something excellent or impressive. An metaphor.
botei acl

item of black British slang adopted by bootie call n

adolescents during the 1990s, combin- a request or demand for romance or sex.
ing the slang sense of boom and the Afro- An expression from the lexicon of rap and
Caribbean pronunciation of ‘thing’. hip hop, adopted by UK teenagers from
bo ndocks
around 1999.
boondocks, the boondocks n American botelg

an out-of-the-way place, a rural commu- bootleg adj American

nity, the back of beyond, the sticks. In inferior, of poor quality, malfunctioning.
Tagalog, a language spoken in the Philip- A generalisation of the term as previ-
pines, bundok means a mountain (area). ously used for recordings, branded
The word was picked up by US service clothing, etc.

personnel in World War II. booty, bootie n

He comes from somewhere out in the a. the backside, buttocks
boondocks. Check that booty.
bo ng

boong n Australian b. sex

a coloured person. An offensive racist Get some booty.
epithet based on an Aboriginal word, Since the late 1990s this US variant form
but used as a catch-all term regardless of the Caribbean batty has become an em-
of nationality. blematic item in the lexicon of rap, hip
Compare choong hop, R ’n’ B, etc.

bo nie,sthe
booze vb, n
boonies, the n pl (to drink) alcohol. ‘On the booze’ may
shorter forms of boondocks mean habituated to alcohol or on a
bo st

boost vb drinking binge. The word originated in

1. American to steal. Originally from Middle English as bousen, from the
black slang, perhaps influenced by lift, Middle Dutch and Flemish busen, a
hoist and heist, the term is now in general word based on the root bus-, meaning
use among young people. It usually ‘swelling’.

refers to petty theft, often shoplifting. booze-up n

‘Some gals go in for boosting, or paper- a drinking bout or drinks party
pushing or lifting leathers. Others work bop

bop1 vb
the chloral hydrate.’ 1a. to dance
(Wild Town, Jim Thompson, 1957)
‘Bop till you drop.’
2. South African to assist or help. (Record title, Ry Cooder, 1974)
Recorded as an item of Sowetan slang in 1b. to move in a fast but relaxed way. This
the Cape Sunday Times, 29 January usage became popular in Britain in the
1995. late 1960s and is still heard.
bo sted

boosted adj Why don’t we bop down to the supermar-

pleased, proud. This slang usage, ket and grab some beers.
recorded among London students in 2. to hit or punch
2001, may derive from phrases such as Say that again and I’ll bop you a good
‘boost one’s self-esteem’. one.
Slang.fm Page 57 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

57 bother
bop2 was popularised by the comic persona

1. a fast, cool style of modern jazz intro- Ali G played by Sasha Baron Cohen and
duced in the 1940s; also known as then by its use as the title of an anar-
bebop. Bop was accompanied by rapid chic UK TV comedy starring Avid Mer-
nonsense lyrics and dancing. rion.

2. a dance. A word from 1950s America, bosfotick adj British

revived in the 1970s and still popular in drunk. An item of student slang in use
Britain, among teenagers and students in in London and elsewhere since around
particular. 2000.
Are you going to the art school bop? bosh

bosh vb British
bpo er

bopper n an all-purpose verb which, in club and

1. American a cool musician, dancer or DJ culture, can replace, e.g., play, con-
devotee of bop sume, go, finish, etc. The term was
2. a teenybopper. This shortened form of posted on the b3ta website in 2004
the word was especially popular in Britain bos

boss1 adj
in the 1970s to describe a vivacious, excellent, first-rate, superlative. Currently
party-loving (usually small or childlike) a fashionable word among teenagers all
young girl; a raver. over the English-speaking community,

boracic, brassic(k) adj British boss originated in American black street

penniless, broke. The word is a shorten- jargon of the early 1960s. It was picked
ing of the rhyming slang ‘boracic lint’: up by other speakers, but it remained an
skint. A genuine example of London Americanism. (The music industry
working-class argot, this term was attempted to promote the ‘Boss town
adopted into raffish speech in general sound’ in order to establish Boston as the
from the early 1970s. (Boracic is an US equivalent of Liverpool in 1964;
older name for boric acid used as a Duane Eddy had a 1960s hit with Boss
weak antiseptic impregnating band- Guitar.) In the 1970s and 1980s the
ages, etc.) usage spread through the language of

borer n British disco, funk and rap to the young of Britain

a knife, especially when carried or used and Australia.
boss2 n

as a weapon. An item of black street-

talk used especially by males, recorded a term of address for a stranger or friend,
in 2003. like blood, bredren, cuz, bro’, etc. An item
of black street-talk used especially by

born-again combining form British

an intensifying phrase used to prefix males, recorded in 2003 in the UK.

another pejorative term, the usage bostin’ adj British

(which may have arisen in armed-serv- excellent. The word may be a form of
ices’ speech) is based on the notion of ‘bursting’, or derive from bust which,
a ‘born-again Christian’ being a particu- since the 19th century, has had the slang
larly extreme or intense example of the sense of a wild spree or party. Bostin’ is
variety common in northwest England and the
‘In my humble opinion he behaved like a East Midlands.
born-again bastard.’ bot

bot vb, n
(Recorded, executive, Guildford, Eng- a. Australian (to behave as) an irritant or
land, 1995) cadger. A shortening of ‘bot-fly’ (a native
See also ocean-going parasite) or ‘botulism’.

BORP n British b. British a shortened form of ‘bottom’,

an unattractive person of the opposite arse
sex. The initials stand for ‘big old rough bother

bother n British
piece’, and are typically used by males trouble, violence, aggression. A typical
of a female. An item of student slang in example of menacing understatement as
use in London and elsewhere since it occurs in London working-class speech
around 2000. (spanking, seeing-to and ‘have a word
bosle cta!

bo selecta!, bo! exclamation with (someone)’ are other examples).

an expression of enthusiasm, approval, The use of bother by police officers and
etc. The phrase, from the garage music thugs as a euphemism for violence
scene, literally meaning ‘excellent DJ’, reached public notice in the late 1960s
Slang.fm Page 58 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

bottibasher 58
when it became a skinhead rallying cry, ‘You’re an absolute bottler, you are – the
usually rendered as bovver. most powerful woman I’ve ever…!’

bottibasher n See botty-basher (Let The Blood Run Free, Australian TV

comedy, 1993)
bottle1 n British

bot mo burp

courage, bravery, ‘nerve’, especially in bottom burp n British

the phrases to ‘have a lot of bottle’, to lose a fart. An example of ‘schoolboy humour’
one’s bottle and ‘his/her bottle’s gone’. It not confined solely to schoolchildren.
bot mo f-eder

derives from ‘bottle and glass’, rhyming bottom-feeder n

slang for arse. Most users of bottle are an individual engaged in ‘doubtful’, sor-
ignorant of its derivation (compare the did or disreputable activities. The image
earlier berk). The word is long-estab- evoked is of a scavenging fish (swimming
lished in the repertoire of South and East in murky waters) and the phrase is used
London rhyming slang, but surfaced in in the slang of the workplace, sometimes
widespread usage only in the mid-1970s as a synonym for bottom-fisher.
(probably via television renderings of Compare pond scum
police or criminal speech) to enjoy a bot mo f-isher

bottom-fisher n
vogue culminating in the adoption of the a trader in cheap and/or disreputable
slogan ‘Milk has gotta lotta bottle’ for a shares or commodities in the jargon of
nationwide advertising campaign in financial traders of the 1990s
1985. The word is pronounced with a ‘The bottom-fisher pulled an archer from
medial glottal stop by cockneys and their his bag.’
imitators. (Evening Standard, 9 December 1994)
‘If you’ve got an old PC trained twenty bot -ybasher

botty-basher, botty-bandit n British

years ago and he’s got no bottle, then you a male homosexual. A term of abuse
have to have somebody chase and get it
[a stolen car].’
among hip hop aficionados and school-
(Inside the British Police, Simon Holda-

way, 1983) boughetto adj American

materialistic, fashion-obsessed. A blend
bottle2 vb British

of bourgie and ghetto. An expression

1. to hit with a bottle. A widespread used on campus in the USA since
brawler’s tactic which seems to have around 2000.
become less widespread since the ‘As boughetto as Shannon is, she’s still
1960s. my friend.’
2. to collect money on behalf of a busker (Recorded, US student, 2002)
or other street entertainer buolder-hloder

botle nad gals boulder-holder n

bottle and glass n British a brassière. A supposedly humorous
arse. The rhyming slang phrase, still phrase used invariably by males since
heard in 2004, probably dates back to the 1960s.
the 1960s, if not earlier. It is also the ori- buonce

gin of the better-known bottle, meaning bounce

courage. 1. vb to leave
botle ti I’m bored. Let’s bounce.
bottle it vb British 2. vb to behave aggressively. The word
a later synonym for the more widespread has been used in this sense by London
expression bottle out, recorded among teenagers since the 1990s, but bounce
London football hooligans in the late denoting swagger dates from the late
1980s 17th century.
‘Blair had decided to cancel his reshuffle. Look at that plum bouncing.
After last year’s fiasco…he effectively 3. n the bounce
“bottled it”, knowing that the wheels were 3a. the sack (from one’s job) or a rejec-
already coming off.’ tion (by a sweetheart). A later version of
(Sunday Times, 25 July 2004) ‘the boot’.
botle uot

bottle out vb British 3b. one’s fate, an inevitable result. Usu-

to lose one’s nerve. From bottle in the ally in expressions of resignation, such as
sense of courage. ‘that’s the bounce’.
botler bounced

bottler n Australian bounced (out) adj

a powerful, forceful or impressive person. fired from one’s job, ejected, expelled
It is probably an alteration of battler. or rejected. The image is one of forcible
Slang.fm Page 59 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

59 box
and speedy ejection resulting in one attempting to provoke trouble. A coinage,
bouncing off one’s backside on the floor based on the noun bovver, from the late
or pavement. 1960s.

bouncer n b. someone who is brought in to do a dif-

a dud cheque, in debt collectors’, ficult job, a trouble-shooter. By humor-
underworld and police jargon all over ous analogy with the above.

the English-speaking world bowl1 vb


bouncy-bouncy n a. to leave in a hurry

an act of sexual intercourse. A coy or b. to swagger, adopt an aggressive gait
joky euphemism invented by adults in Look at him bowling along.
imitation of children’s language. It is

bowl2 n
usually used in the expression ‘play an exaggerated walk. The walker falls to
bouncy-bouncy’. one side and swings his arms. An

bounty bar n British emblematic term from youth slang in

a black person who apes white manner- the UK and USA since the late 1990s.
isms or collaborates with white society, Mmm, have you seen that bowl!
an ‘Uncle Tom’. Bounty bar, derived from bowler

bowler n British
the trademark name of a type of confec- a chav. The term may refer to a suppos-
tionery, like the synonym coconut, edly characteristic bowl or swagger. The
implies that such people are dark (like term was posted on the b3ta website in
the chocolate) outside and white inside. 2004.
The term is typically used by black or bowser

Asian teenagers. bowser n British


bourgie, boojie adj an ugly or unattractive woman. A male

term of contempt coined on the basis of
supposedly middle-class in taste and/or dog and the later bow-wow.
behaviour, materialistic, snobbish. The bow-wow

pejorative words, from bourgeois, origi- bow-wow n

nated in US speech. a. an unattractive woman

Bourneville boulevard n b. anything inferior, unappealing or

the anus. The vulgarism (Bourneville is a worthless
trademark for Cadbury’s chocolate) is Both senses of the nursery word are more
heard in such phrases as ‘cruising the recent synonyms for dog in its (originally
Bourneville boulevard’, referring to American) slang sense. In City slang ‘bow-
‘active’ and ‘predatory’ male homosexual wow stocks’ are poorly performing shares.
behaviour, and was reported by the bow-wows

bow-wows n pl American
former Sun journalist and LBC radio pre- dogs in the sense of the feet
senter, Richard Littlejohn. Marmite box

motorway is a contemporary British syno- box n

nym; Hershey highway is the American 1a. the anus. An old term popularised by
equivalent. male homosexuals in the 1970s.
bov er

bovver n British 1b. the male genitals. A term occasionally

used by British schoolboys (influenced
trouble, aggro. A spelling, in imitation of a by ‘cricket box’, a protective shield for the
London accent, of bother in its menacing
genitals) and by male homosexuals.
euphemistic sense of physical violence or
extreme aggravation. ‘You want bovver?’ 1c. the vagina. An uncommon, but per-
was the standard challenge issued by sistent usage since the 1950s in all parts
skinheads. of the English-speaking world. The origin
bov e-rbots may be an unaffectionate reference to a
bovver-boots n pl ‘container’ or may derive from ‘box of
heavy boots as worn as part of the skin- tricks’.
head uniform in the late 1960s. Skin- 2a. a coffin
heads first wore army surplus boots, later 2b. a safe. Used by criminals, among
adopting ‘Doc Martens’ (DMs). others, throughout the 20th century.
bov e-rbyo

bovver-boy n 3. a guitar. This usage was adopted by

a. a youth, particularly a skinhead, who British rock musicians in the late 1960s
enjoys fighting and conflict and is always from America, where it was originally
Slang.fm Page 60 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

boxed-up 60
used by black jazz and rock musicians in

boystown n
the 1950s. the male homosexual scene, the gay
4. American a portable cassette/radio milieu or part of town. A code term from
player. A version of the longer ‘ghetto/ the 1970s gay lexicon derived from the
beat/rasta box’, heard in the later 1970s. cult 1938 film Boys’ Town, dealing senti-
5. the box television. No longer really mentally with juvenile delinquents.
slang, but a common colloquialism, boyz

boyz n British
especially in Britain. £1. The term always appears in the

boxed-up adj seemingly plural form, so that one boyz =

1. British comfortable, content. This £1, ten boyz = £10. It was recorded in
vogue term of the early 1990s probably use among North London schoolboys in
derives from the notion of a homeless 1993 and 1994. Bollers and luka are
person comfortably accommodated in a contemporary synonyms.
squat or a basher, etc., but was general- bozack

bozack n American
ised to refer to any state of contentment. the backside, buttocks. A term from hip
Made-up is a near synonym from north- hop vocabulary recorded in 2002.
ern English speech. boz

A new girlfriend and a flat and a car; I’m

bozo n
well boxed-up. a buffoon, a clumsy or foolish person. A
mild term of contempt which can some-
2. American intoxicated by drugs or alco- times sound almost affectionate. It has
hol. This usage may be related to the ear- been widely applied to the former US
lier ‘boxed out’, meaning uninhibited or president Ronald Reagan. Originally
wild (by contrast with the colloquial from the USA and Canada, and dating
‘boxed-in’). from at least the 1920s, the word is

boxhead n Australian now in limited use in Britain and Aus-

a stupid person. The term was one of tralia. Before the 1960s it meant a man
many insults employed by the former or simple fellow, since then it has been
Australian prime minister, Paul Keat- adopted as a name for circus clowns.
ing, in outbursts in Parliament during Attempts have been made to derive the
the 1990s. word from Spanish origins such as
vosotros (the familiar plural form of
boxteh ejsuit

box the jesuit vb American

(of a male) to masturbate. The phrase ‘you’) or a Mexican slang term for facial
was coined by analogy with the earlier hair. In Italian bozo means a lump or
bash the bishop and was adopted as the bump.
name of a 1990s rock band. ‘Capable of putting up with every bozo

boy n and meathead who comes his way.’

heroin. Although this coded use of the (Jonathan Keates reviewing Malcolm
standard word became common in the Bradbury’s Unsent Letters, Observer, 5
1990s, it originated in US street slang June 1988)
boz -iflter

of the 1920s. Its ultimate derivation is bozo-filter n

obscure, but may possibly evoke the an alternative name for a killfile in the
image of a boy as an ever-present serv- 1990s patois of cyberpunks and net-
ant or a term of address for a slave. heads

He was trying to score some boy. bra n British

best friend. The word has been popular

boyf n
a. a boyfriend among younger speakers since the late
b. a boy 1990s. Bessie is a synonym.

The abbreviation may have occurred in brace vb American

teenage usage, but in the UK was notable to accost, shake down. A rather old-fash-
as an example of journalese attempting to ioned underworld term.

replicate adolescent speech. The more brackers adj British

generalised later sense mirrors this. broke, penniless. A word heard in the

boy racer n British 1980s which is an invention based on

an irresponsible young car owner. A boracic or a deformation of ‘broke’.

term of contempt applied to youths who Brad (Pitt) vb, n

characteristically decorate or customise (to) shit. ‘(An attack of) the Brad Pitts’
cars and drive dangerously. denotes a case of diarrhoea. An item of
Slang.fm Page 61 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

61 breakers
student slang borrowing the name of the

brass-monkeys adj British

Hollywood movie star, in use in London extremely cold. A shortening of ‘brass-
and elsewhere since around 2000. monkey time’ or ‘brass-monkey

Brahms (and Liszt) adj British weather’, this phrase refers to the
drunk. Rhyming slang for pissed. A fairly widely known vulgar saying ‘cold
popular cockney term since the 1930s enough to freeze the balls off a brass
which was given wider currency by its monkey!’. A rather far-fetched explana-
use in television comedies of the early tion of the catchphrase is that a ‘brass
1970s. monkey’ was a rack of cannonballs on

brainless, braindead adj British board a warship.

bras enck

drunk. The term is heard particularly in brass neck n British

the Scottish Lowlands and the north of an intensive form of neck in the sense of
England. ‘cheek’ or ‘nerve’

brallin’ n British brecahen

breachen n Jamaican
fighting. An item of black street-talk
friend(s), brother(s). A term from reggae
used especially by males, recorded in
2003. It is an Afro-Caribbean pronunci- music culture synonymous with bredren,
ation of ‘brawling’. hidren, idren.

bran n British bread n

a. cannabis money. In the 1960s this usage sup-
b. heroin for smoking planted the earlier dough in hip parlance;
The term is an alteration of brown. by the late 1970s the word was dated and
barndy in the 1980s had largely been replaced
brandy n British by a variety of colourful alternatives (in
the backside, buttocks. Used in this Britain, words like dosh, rhino, etc.)
sense the term has been heard among ‘This year two chicks and I got enough
the London gay community since the bread together and flew to Eilat (Israel) to
1960s and may have originated from the see what was happening out there.’
rhyming slang expression ‘brandy and (Reader’s letter in Oz magazine, Febru-
rum’: bum. ary 1970)

brasco n Australian bredabasket

a toilet breadbasket n
the abdomen. A pugilists’ euphemism,
brass1 n British

first recorded in 1753.

1. money. Brass has been an obvious bredahead

metaphor or euphemism as long as the breadhead n

metal has been used in coins. The word someone who is motivated by money, a
is currently more widespread in northern mercenary person. A term of disapproval
England. from the hippy era, applied to those pro-
2. a prostitute. Originally in the form fessing loyalty to the counterculture but
‘brass nail’, this working-class usage is who openly or covertly sold out to com-
rhyming slang for tail, in its sexual sense. mercialism or profit.
3. a shorter form of brass neck ‘Bob Geldof, then an impoverished pho-
brass2 adj British
tographer’s assistant, sold him photos of
1. broke, penniless. Pronounced to Jagger and Pete Townshend which are
rhyme with ‘gas’, never the southern Eng- still reproduced. Goldsmith, always an
unrepentant “breadhead”, parted with
lish ‘class’, this is a short form of boracic
ten quid.’
or brassick heard among teenagers in the
1990s. (Sunday Times magazine, June 1989)

2. a shorter form of brass-monkeys break vb American

to leave, depart. A synonym for boot, jam,
bras ey

brass eye n British

the anus. This obscure vulgarism, used jet, bail, heard since 2000. It may be
by schoolboys, was adopted as the influenced by the phrase ‘make a break
name of a controversial satirical TV for it’ or possibly ‘break for the border’.

comedy in 1997. breakers adj British


brassick adj British excellent, exciting. A vogue term among

broke, penniless. An alternative spelling clubbers, hip hop aficionados, etc.,
of boracic. since the later 1990s.
Slang.fm Page 62 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

breakfast 62
Caribbean. It occurs in the cult novel

breakfast n
1. British ketamine. The drug is also Yardie (1993) by Victor Headley.
bre der

nicknamed ‘Special K’ after a breakfast breeder n

cereal, hence this play on words. a heterosexual. A pejorative term in use
‘…you got any breakfast? …Man, you among gay speakers, quoted by the San
look like you already had yours…’ Francisco writer Armistead Maupin.
bre ze

(Recorded, art student, UK, 2002) breeze vb

2. See dingo’s breakfast; dog’s breakfast; to move quickly, rush, run. A term used
Mexican breakfast by young street-gang members in Lon-

break it down vb British don since around 2000.

bre ze!

to enjoy oneself, act boisterously. A breeze! exclamation American

vogue term among teenagers and devo- an exhortation to relax, calm down. An
tees of dancefloor and acid house culture expression used on campus in the USA
from the end of the 1980s. The term, per- since around 2000.
haps American in origin, was also No need to get so aerated – just breeze.
bre zy

recorded in use among North London breezy adj, exclamation American

schoolboys in 1993 and 1994, some- excellent. The term was fashionable
times as an exclamation. among adolescents in the early 1990s,

break north vb American often used as an all-purpose exclama-

to depart, leave. A vogue term in black tion of approval.

street slang of the 1990s, the origin of the Brendon, Brendan n British
term is obscure but may evoke the a misfit, outsider, unattractive person. A
escape of a slave from the southern synonym for Billy no-mates recorded in
states. A variety of euphemisms (like its 2002. The original reference is unclear.
contemporaries bail, book, jam and jet)

brer n
for ‘run away’ are essential to the argot of a friend. The term of address originated
gang members and their playground imi- in southern US and black speech as a
tators. dialect pronunciation of brother. It is now
widely used in the UK by chavs.

breathing out of one’s arse/hoop/ring brew

adj brew n
tired, exhausted. The phrase, evoking a 1. beer or a drink of beer. A word used by
desperate need for extra oxygen, is in northern British drinkers (usually without
army and Officer Training Corps usage. the indefinite article) and by American

bred vb British college students (usually in the form ‘a

to behave in a sycophantic manner, brew’).
curry favour, ‘suck up’. A term in use 2. British tea. A term popular in institu-
among schoolchildren and students tions, especially in the 1950s.

from around 2002. brewer’s droop, brewer’s n, phrase

Stop bredding Mr Green. impotence, usually temporary, caused
bred er
by drinking alcohol. The term is com-
bredder n British mon in Britain, where it is now some-
a sycophant times shortened to brewer’s, and in
top bredder Australia. (Brewers featured in many

bredgie n British comic or ribald expressions from the

a friend. The word is an alteration of 16th to the 19th centuries.)
bredren. A term from Caribbean speech, brewin’

brewin’ adj British

also heard in the UK since 2000, espe- annoyed, infuriated. A term from black
cially among younger speakers. speech adopted by white and Asian

bredren n British speakers since 2000.

a good friend, welcome stranger. A term

brewski n American
from Caribbean speech, also heard in the a beer. An elaboration of brew popular
UK since 2000, especially among with students.
younger speakers. Hidren and idren are Brian

Brian n British
alternative forms. a boring, vacuous person. Supposedly a
bre d

breed vb American typical name for an earnest and tedious

to make (a woman) pregnant. An item of working-class or lower-middle-class
black speech probably originating in the male. The term was given humorous
Slang.fm Page 63 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

63 broad
currency in the late 1970s and 1980s

brillo-pads adj British

by joky references to the TV sports com- excellent. An elaborated form of brill,
mentator Brian Johnson and a well- used by London schoolchildren from the
known sketch in the TV series Monty late 1980s, borrowing the trademark
Python’s Flying Circus concerning foot- name of kitchen scouring pads.
ballers. However, it was already heard brnigdown

among schoolboys in London in the late bring down vb

1960s. to depress or disappoint. A black Ameri-
can and beatnik term, like the other
‘Educating Brian.’ phrasal verbs ‘come down’ and put down,
(Title of an article on ‘academic’ football- adopted in Britain in the early 1960s by
ers, You magazine, March 1988) jazz enthusiasts among others. The

brick n British phrase became one of the standard

a mobile phone items in the hippy vocabulary. The past
brick ti
form ‘brought down’ was also used in
brick it vb British Britain to mean suddenly depressed,
to be extremely nervous, overcome with especially after an initial drug high.
fear. A recent usage derived from the vul- ‘Don’t Bring Me Down.’
garism shitting bricks. (Title of song by the Pretty Things, 1964)
‘Although I was bricking it, when the light brnigdown

came on on top of the camera, it was like bringdown n

this fifth gear…’ a. a disappointment, a depressing expe-
(Evening Standard, 2 September 1988) rience. A black American and beatnik
brickwit term popular among hippies in Britain.
brickwit n British The word implies high expectations
a fool. A less offensive version of fuckwit unfulfilled, or depression following ela-
recorded since 2000. tion.

brief n British ‘What a Bringdown’

1. a lawyer. Derived from the ‘briefs’, or (Title of song recorded by Cream, 1969)
documents containing a résumé of each b. a depressing or morose person
case, with which the lawyer is prepared Don’t invite John – he’s a real bringdown
or ‘briefed’. A working-class term used since Sally dumped him.
since before World War II by both police brnigiton!

bring it on! exclamation British

officers and criminals. a cry of defiance, encouragement or
2. a passport. A word from the lexicon of invitation, in vogue in 2004
drug smugglers, among others. brsitlos

bristols n pl British
‘They picked him up with a suitcase full female breasts. A common vulgarism,
of cash and three false briefs.’ from the rhyming slang ‘Bristol City’: tit-
(Recorded, convicted cocaine smuggler, tie. (Bristol City is the name of the city’s
London, 1987) chief football team.)

brights n American Brtiney

Britney (Spears) n pl British

intelligence, awareness. The term is a beers (rhyming slang). From the name
near synonym for smarts and is often of the American singing star.
used in the admonition ‘turn up your Are you coming out for a few Britneys?
brights!’. bro’

bril bro’ n American

brill adj British a shortening of ‘brother’. An affection-
wonderful, exciting. A teenagers’ short- ate term of address used typically by
ening of brilliant, used as an all-pur- black Americans to each other.
pose term of approval since the late broda

broad n American
1970s. a woman. A disparaging term in that it is
‘They are a wicked group and steam up exclusively used by men and implies a
the charts with brill singles in the US’ lack of respect for the woman in ques-
(Heavily ironic reader’s letter, NME, 8 tion. The origin of the word is not docu-
July 1989) mented but is probably from ‘broad-ass’
‘I am having a completely utterly brill or something similar, denoting an
time…’ accommodating woman. (Immorality is
(Postcard from a 9-year-old, London, not an integral part of the meaning in
1989) modern usage.)
Slang.fm Page 64 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

broccoli 64
‘We’ve got Dustin Hoffman fighting Meryl 2. British a ten pound note or an amount
Streep for a four-year-old in “Kramer vs of £10, from the colour of the banknote
Kramer”…Thirty years ago, the Duke 3. British a cigarette, almost invariably
would have slapped the broad around used in the plural form, presumably from
and shipped the kid off to military school.’ the colour of the tobacco
(Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche, Bruce I’m going to pick some browns.
Feirstein, 1982) 4. British heroin
broc oil

broccoli n brown

brown2 vb American
1. money to sodomise, perform anal intercourse
2. marihuana The idea of browning really geeks me out!
Both usages, inspired by the colour of the brownbread

brown bread adj British

vegetable, are popular in the argot of hip dead. A rhyming-slang expression which
hop aficionados and on campus. probably originated in the 1960s and

brok adj British which is still in working-class use in

broken, damaged, in disarray. This alter- London.
ation of ‘broke(n)’ probably originated in

brown envelope n British

black dialect. It was a vogue term among a full confession. The term, used by
teenage gangs (bruck[ers] is an alterna- criminals and police officers in the
tive form). The term was recorded in use 1990s, derives from the phrase ‘to give
among North London schoolboys in 1993 (someone) a/the brown envelope’ and
and 1994. typically describes the action of a
Brnox che r

Bronx cheer n American ‘supergrass’ who confesses in return for

a farting noise made with the lips and a light sentence. The envelope in ques-
tongue; a raspberry. The Bronx is a tion probably evokes a mysterious pack-
mainly working-class borough of New age (e.g. containing a note or payment).

York City. brown eye n

bro m-bor m

broom-broom n British the anus. An Australianism also heard

a car. A nursery word sometimes used in Britain, not to be confused with ‘big
facetiously by adults. brown eyes’, a colloquialism denoting
He’s got himself a new broom-broom. female breasts or nipples.
brothelcre pers

brothel creepers n pl British brown hatter n

a male homosexual. A derogatory term
shoes with thick crepe soles, fashionable from the 1950s, still occasionally
among teddy boys and others in the
heard. The term refers both to the idea
1950s (‘brothel stompers’ is an American
of contact between the head of the
version). Brothel creepers has some-
penis and excrement and to the archaic
times also denoted suede shoes or
upper-class notion that the wearing of
‘desert boots’.
brown hats on certain formal occasions
‘Red tiger-stripe brothel-creepers are all marked out a man as socially unaccept-
the rage.’ able.
(Tatler, March 1987) brownie

brother brownie n British

brother n a Scotch, drink of whisky. A word used
1. a friend, often shortened to bro’ in rap by middle-class and usually middle-
and hip hop parlance aged drinkers.
2. British a lesbian. Although a fairly pre- brownei-hound

brownie-hound n
dictable coinage, it may in fact be an a male homosexual. One of several
ironic male response to the feminist use 1980s epithets combining humour and
of ‘sister’ to indicate solidarity. hostility and evoking an image of a pred-
‘They’re all brothers in the canteen.’ atory sodomite (‘chasing’ or ‘stealing’
(Recorded, London student, September excreta). Turd burglar and chocolate ban-
1995) dit are synonyms.

brown1 n
brownie points

brownie points n pl
1. American the anus. In this sense the credit for good deeds, an imaginary
word is probably an abbreviation of brown award for virtuous actions. An American
eye. colloquialism which has caught on in
in/up the brown Britain since the late 1970s.
Slang.fm Page 65 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

65 buck
brown-ose B.SD. .

brown-nose vb, n B.S.D. n See Big Swinging Dick

to flatter, behave sycophantically bub a

bubba n American
(towards), or a flatterer or sycophant. A a young man, especially an uncompli-
vulgarism common in all English-speak- cated extrovert. The jocular term, evoking
ing countries at least since World War beer- and sport-loving, possibly well-to-
II. ‘Brown-noser’ is an alternative ver- do redneck youths, was applied in the
sion of the noun form. From the image mid-1990s to US president Bill Clinton
of kissing another person’s backside. and there was a brief attempt to promote
(Private Eye, the satirical magazine, has the idea of a new social category under
instituted a regular column in which the the same name (a magazine called
‘order of the Brown Nose’ is awarded for Bubba was published) along the lines of
nauseating sycophancy.) the laddish tendency in the UK. The word
brown-nosing the boss originated as a ‘baby-talk’ pronunciation
‘Now he is on his knees, brown-nosing of ‘brother’ used as a nickname or term of
with the rest of them.’ endearment applied to young adult
(Private Eye, 1 April 1988) males in the southern states of the USA.

brown trousers n, adj British bubble1 n British

bub le

(a situation that is) very frightening. A a Greek. Rhyming slang from ‘bubble
light-hearted reference to the terrified and squeak’, an inexpensive dish of
person losing control of their bowel fried leftover mashed potatoes and
movements. Now mainly middle class in greens. The term probably dates from
usage, the term probably dates from the 19th century, but is still in use in
World War II, but has not previously London. In spite of its friendly sound,
been recorded in writing. bubble is not a jocular term and can be
a brown trouser job used abusively.
Getting up in front of all those people was ‘They also call him [George Michael] the
brown trousers. bubble with the stubble.’

bruck adj British (News of the World, 29 May 1988)

broken, destroyed. A dialect form of bub le

bubble2 vb British
‘broken’ in the speech of the southern to weep. The term is now heard particu-
USA and of the Caribbean, this term larly in the Scottish Lowlands and the
passed from black British usage into north of England. It occurred in public-
general adolescent usage in the 1990s. school slang as long ago as the 1920s.
‘Bruckers’ is an elaborated form of the For God’s sake, stop your bubbling, you
same word. big softie!

bruck out vb bub le-bath

bubble-bath vb, n British

to dance, especially frenetically. The laugh. Bobble hat (and scarf) is a contem-
phrase, heard since around 2000, orig- porary synonym, tin bath an archaic ver-
inates in Jamaican usage and is a dia- sion.
lect pronunciation of ‘break out’, in the
You’re havin’ a bubble-bath, aren’t you?
sense of erupt, burst free. bub le-head


bruck up vb British bubble-head n

to beat (someone) up. Originally from a version of airhead
bub ly

black speech, the phrase was adopted bubbly n

by younger speakers of other back- Champagne, or any other sparkling wine
grounds from around 2000. a bottle of bubbly
Brummie bubkes

Brummie, Brummy n, adj British bubkes n American See bupkes

a. (someone) from Birmingham. From buck

buck n
the city’s nickname Brummagem. 1. American a dollar. A buckhorn knife
b. the speech of Birmingham handle was used apparently as a counter

brutal adj in 19th-century card games and ‘buck-

excellent. A typical appropriation of a skins’ were earlier traded and used as a
negative (compare bad, wicked, chronic) unit of exchange in North America.
as a faddish adolescent form of all-pur- 2. a young male gang member. A term
pose approval. Brutal has been recorded adopted by British black youth and foot-
at different times in the UK, USA and ball hooligans from the street gangs of
Australia. the USA, who themselves appropriated a
Slang.fm Page 66 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

bucket 66
word applied to young Red Indian something given or a gift, and dates
braves. from the colonial era.
bucket bukc-wild

bucket1 n buck-wild adj American

1. a pejorative or humorous term for a car uncontrolled, uncontrollable, running
or boat amok. The term uses the intensifying
2. British the mouth. In this sense the combining form ‘buck-’ which probably
word is typically heard in working-class originated in the speech of the southern
speech in such phrases as ‘shut your USA.
bucket!’ or ‘stick this in your bucket!’, bukcy

bucky n British
recorded in the mid-1990s. a gun. An item of black street-talk used
3. American an unfortunate person. An especially by males, recorded in 2003.
item of possibly ersatz slang from the lex- The same word is a term of endearment
icon of the cult 1992 film, Wayne’s or address among males in the southern
World. Pail is a synonym. USA.
4. British the vagina. A vulgarism used by bud

males and females since around 2000. bud n American

bucket cannabis, marihuana. The use of the
bucket2 vb word is probably inspired by the appear-
1a. to move quickly. Usually, but not ance of the flowering heads and round
always, in the phrase ‘bucketing along’. seeds of marihuana plants.
This usage dates from the 19th century. bud

bud (accent) n
1b. to pour (with rain). Usually heard in
the expression ‘it’s bucketing down’. used by young British Asians to
describe a very strong Indian accent. It
2. Australian to criticise or denigrate. This comes from the racist term ‘bud bud’
use of the word probably arose from the denoting any Indian or Pakistani
image of tipping a bucket, e.g. of excre- accent.
ment, over a victim, although the noun budha

‘bucketing’ was recorded in England in buddha n

1914 in the sense of a harsh or oppres- marihuana. In the 1970s ‘Thai sticks’,
sive task. then one of the strongest strains of mar-
ihuana, were also known as ‘Buddha
bucket shop n sticks’.
an establishment selling cheap and/or budy

low quality items in large quantities. buddy n

The phrase has become a standard Brit- a. American a male friend, from ‘butty’, a
ish colloquialism for a cut-price travel British dialect or gypsy diminutive of
agency. The expression originated in the brother. ‘Butty’, or ‘but’, is heard in parts
USA in the 1880s when it referred to of Wales to mean a close friend (of either
share-selling operations, by analogy sex).
with cheap saloons. b. a volunteer companion to an AIDS

buckfucker n British patient


an unpleasant and/or obnoxious person. budgered adj British

In playground usage since 2000. drunk. Probably a comical mispronunci-

Buckley’s hope/chance n Australian ation of buggered, it is an item of student

no chance at all or very little chance. slang in use in London and elsewhere
The eponymous Buckley was an since around 2000.

escaped convict who surrendered to the buff1 n

authorities after 32 years on the run, 1. an enthusiast, expert or aficionado. An
dying one year later in 1956. American term which, in forms such as

bucko n film-buff, opera-buff, etc., has become

a term of address or affection between established in other English-speaking
males. The word was popular in club countries. The word is said (by American
culture from around 2000. lexicographer Robert L. Chapman among
others) to be inspired by the buff-col-
buckshee adj oured raincoats worn by 19th-century
free, without charge. Like baksheesh, New York firemen, later applied to watch-
meaning a bribe or tip, this word derives ers of fires, hence devotees of any activ-
from the Persian bakshish, denoting ity.
Slang.fm Page 67 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

67 buggerise
‘Having your life dragged through the

bug2 vb American
popular press for scrutiny by a nation of to irritate or annoy. The image is of a
voyeurs and trivia-buffs…’ crawling, buzzing or biting insect. The
(London Australasian Weekly, 4 Septem- use of this term spread to Britain in the
ber 1989) beatnik era but has never fully estab-
2. the buff the nude. From the colour of lished itself.
(white) skin. ‘Stephenson said Mark Allen had “kept
buff2 adj American

bugging them to burn down his neigh-

a. excellent, attractive. A vogue term of bour’s flat”.’
appreciation or approval in use among (Independent, 1 November 1989)
adolescents since the early 1990s, first bug3 n, adj American

associated with the slacker and grunge (something) excellent, superlative. In

subcultures as well as the language of the expression ‘it’s the bug!’.
college students. Boff is a variant form. bug ed

‘She’s buff!’ bugged adj

(Sneakers, US film, 1993) 1. angry, irritated. From the verb to bug.
b. physically fit 2. suffering from abscesses. A prisoners’
In both senses, the word had been and drug addicts’ term.
bugger1 n
bug er

adopted by UK adolescents by 2000. The

superlative form is buffest 1. a sodomite. The Bogomil (‘lovers of
buf gae

buffage n American God’) heretics sent emissaries from their

an attractive person or persons. A vogue base in Bulgaria in the 11th and 12th
term of 1993 using the -age suffix, as in centuries to contact heretics in Western
grindage, tuneage, etc., with the vogue Europe. These travellers were known as
term buff, especially in the appreciative Bulgarus (late Latin), and bougre (Middle
description or exclamation ‘major buff- French), a name which was imported
age!’, popular particularly among into Middle English along with a loathing
females. of the heretics and their practices. One
BufaolBil offence which heretics of all persuasions
Buffalo Bill n British were accused of was unnatural vice,
a till or cash box. An item of market trad- hence the transformation of Bulgarians
ers’ rhyming slang recorded in the mid- into buggers. The word is now a very mild
1990s. A synonym from the same envi- pejorative often meaning little more than
ronment is Benny Hill. ‘fellow’.
Just hand it over and I’ll bung it in the old 2. an awkward or difficult task or person
Buffalo Bill.
buf laode This is a bugger to get open.
buffaloed adj American
bugger2 vb
bug er

a. bullied, cowed, overwhelmed or bam-

boozled 1. to sodomise
b. knocked flat or knocked out 2. to ruin, wreck, incapacitate, thwart.
Both senses of the word evoke the crush- This figurative application of the term is
ing force of a stampede. several hundred years old.
bug e-ral

buf te

buffet vb American bugger-all n British

to have sex. The term was recorded on nothing, none. A synonym of sod-all and
campuses in the 1990s. fuck-all. It occasionally denotes almost or
bufty virtually nothing.
bufty n British, esp. Scottish bug eartoin

a male homosexual. It is possibly an buggeration n, exclamation British

altered pronunciation of poof(tah). ruin, confusion. The word is often used
as an exclamation of impatience by
bug1 n

a. an insect middle-class and upper-class speakers.

bug erd

b. a covert listening device buggered adj

c. a virus or infection incapacitated, ruined, useless. This
d. a fault or flaw in a machine or system usage is encountered in British and
e. an enthusiast, devotee. A racier syno- Australian speech.
bug eirse

nym of buff. buggerise vb Australian

The word ‘bug’ originates in the Middle to damage, mishandle, etc. The term is
English bugge, meaning a hobgoblin or also used in the phrase ‘to buggerise
scarecrow. around’, meaning to waste time
Slang.fm Page 68 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

bugger off 68
bugerof busg ubn y

bugger off vb, exclamation bugs bunny n British

to leave, go away. A common verb and money. A rhyming-slang term heard in
expletive in British and Australian raffish and underworld use since the
speech. 1960s.
bugery bucik

buggery n buick vb, n

1. anal intercourse. The word is still, in (to) vomit. An imitative term employing
Britain, the official designation of the act the name of an American make of auto-
in legal terminology. mobile and recalling such words as puke
2. British oblivion, destruction, ruin. The and hoick.
word usually appears in phrases such as buldier’sbum

builder’s bum n British

‘all to buggery’. a visible buttock cleft above trousers, as

bugging adj American often revealed by labourers, etc. bend-

irritated, agitated, discomfited. This ing over in public places
vogue term, fashionable among adoles- buldis

builds n British
cents at the end of the 1990s, may have the components needed to construct a
originated in prison or underworld usage, joint. The term may apply to cigarette
itself derived from the verb to bug or the papers alone or to the tobacco, card-
adjective ‘bugs’ in the sense of crazy. board, etc. required.
‘Those guys were all looking at me like I ‘I’ve got the puffy, I just need the builds.’
was a freak and I didn’t belong there and
I was like totally bugging…’ (Recorded, university student, London,
(Recorded, female student, California, bulti

1995) built adj

Bug nis’turn

Buggins’ turn n British physically well-developed; statuesque

an automatic privilege that comes in turn or strong. An American term of the
to members of a group, regardless of 1970s, now heard in Australia and Brit-
merit, seniority, etc. A piece of bureau- ain. It is used to express appreciation of
crats’ slang. Buggins is an imaginary sexual attractiveness by men of women
name, perhaps inspired by muggins. The and vice versa.
term probably dates from the 1940s and Man, is she built.
bulti ike abirckshtihuose

is still heard in local government and built like a brick shithouse adj
civil-service circles. heavily, strongly or solidly built. The
‘The committee’s leader is still selected term is used usually of people; when
on the principle of Buggins’ turn.’ referring to men it is generally appreci-
(Recorded, member of Brent Council, ative, when used of women it is more
London, 1987) often disparaging. This is a very popular
expression in Australia, but it is used
bug house, bug hutch n American throughout the English-speaking world.
a mental hospital In polite company ‘outhouse’ can be

bugle n substituted for ‘shithouse’.

the nose. An old London working-class bul

bull1 n
usage, paralleled in Canada, Australia 1. a uniformed policeman. A 200-year-
and elsewhere. old term still heard in North America and
‘If you go on doing all that cocaine, you’ll Australia, but never in Britain.
perforate your bugle!’ 2. a shorter and more acceptable version
(Recorded, artist, Vauxhall, London, of bullshit. In armed-service usage it par-
1976) ticularly refers to excessive regimentation

bugle-duster n of unnecessary formalities; in civilian

a handkerchief speech it often denotes empty talk.

bull2 adj

bug out vb American

1. to leave hurriedly. The bug component bad. In this sense the word, probably a
in this adolescent expression is essen- shortening of bullshit, has been used in
tially meaningless. several English-speaking areas since
2. to go crazy, become enraged. A hip- 2000.
sters’ expression revived by clubbers and some bull weed
hip hop aficionados since 2000. That band is bull.
Slang.fm Page 69 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

69 bum
sometimes shortened to the less offen-
bul andcow

bull and cow n British

a noisy argument, a fight or brawl. Still sive bull, the verb form, especially in
thriving London rhyming slang for row. American speech, is shortened to
There was a right bull and cow in the pub shit(ting), as in ‘come on, you’re shittin’
last night. me’.
bul atrist
Don’t try to bullshit me, I know the score.
bull artist n bulshtier

a more polite form of ‘bullshit-artist’ bullshitter n


bulldyke n a bombastic, verbose or insincere per-

a masculine, dominant or aggressive les- son; a habitual source of bullshit
bian. An offensive term which was com- ‘“Mi-Lords! Laydees! and Gentlemen!!!” A
monly heard until the late 1960s (by VOICE FROM THE DARK SHOUTS, “Go
which time gay women’s styles had home you Welsh bull-shitter!”’
largely moved away from imitation of (Spike Milligan, Adolf Hitler, My Part in
male roles). Bulldyke was almost invaria- his Downfall, 1971)

bly used by men and was invariably pejo- bum1 n

rative; it was sometimes extended to 1. British the bottom, backside, buttocks.
apply to any lesbian. From the Middle English period to the
See also dyke end of the 18th century it was possible to

bulling n Irish use this word in English without offending

behaving aggressively, obstreperously respectable persons. By the 19th century
bulong it was considered rude, perhaps unsur-
bullong n British prisingly, in that its suggested origin was
a large penis. An item of black street-talk in ‘bom’ or ‘boom’, an imitation of the
used especially by males, recorded in sound of flatulence.
2003. Wullong denotes an even larger 2. a tramp, down-and-out, wastrel. This
member. sense of the word is probably unrelated
I gave her the bullong/ma bullong. to the previous one. It is a 19th-century
bul sesoin

bull session n shortening of ‘bummer’, meaning an idler

a period of earnest or bombastic but or loafer, from the German Bummler,
shallow conversation; talking bull. The meaning a ‘layabout’ (derived from bum-
expression usually refers to energetic meln, meaning ‘to dangle, hang about’).
group discussions between friends (usu- ‘It kind of upsets me that they talk about
ally males). him as if he’s a hopeless bum.’
(Recorded, Canadian teenage girl, Lon-

bullsh n
an abbreviated, euphemistic version of don, April 1996)
bullshit, which seems to have originated See also on the bum
in Australian usage 3a. sodomy or the opportunity thereof. A
bullshit1 n

vulgarism used mainly by heterosexuals,

nonsense or falsehood, especially when referring to homosexual activity.
blatant or offensive; empty, insincere or 3b. an act of sexual intercourse. A heter-
bombastic speech or behaviour; tedious osexual synonym for tail.
attention to detail. The term has bum

bum2 adj
become particularly widespread since a. worthless, inferior, bad
the late 1960s, before which it was a bum cheque/trip
more often heard in American speech
than British (where it was, however, a b. incapacitated, out of order
well-known part of armed-service lan- a bum ankle
guage). These usages are inspired by the Ameri-
‘I’m not allowed to talk about it …[Roald] can noun sense of tramp, meaning an
Dahl grumbled from his Buckingham- idler.

shire home. It has something to do with bum3 vb

security or some such bullshit.’ 1. to cadge or scrounge. From the noun
(Evening Standard, 8 September 1989) form bum meaning a down-and-out or

bullshit2 vb beggar. This use of the word is predomi-

to try to impress, persuade, bamboozle or nantly British.
deceive with empty, boastful or porten- Can I bum a cigarette from you, man?
tous talk. Whereas the noun form is 2a. British to sodomise
Slang.fm Page 70 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

bumbass 70
2b. British to have sex with. A childish sieged by the press, inundated with
usage, popularized by the wigga comic bumpf of one sort or another.’
Ali G and still in vogue in 2006. (Ian Fleming in a letter to Somerset
The postman’s been bummin’ your mum! Maugham, quoted in John Pearson’s bi-
ography, 1966)
3. to practise enthusiastically, enjoy. This bumfluf

usage, fashionable among adolescents in bumfluff n British

2006 is probably inspired by the earlier light facial hair on a pubescent boy.
sexual senses of the word. Usually a term of mild derision, espe-
cially referring to a youth’s first
She really bums that band.
attempts to grow a moustache or beard.
bumbass, bum-ass n British Bumfukc Egypt

Bumfuck Egypt, bumfuck n American

an unpleasant and/or obnoxious person. a very remote and/or backward place.
In playground usage since 2000, the The phrase apparently originated
second ‘b’ is sometimes sounded, among British military personnel serv-
sometimes silent. ing overseas as an imaginary address or

bumblefuck n American location evoking squalor, ignominy and

a less widespread synonym for Bumfuck
They’re sending you away to Cow Col-
Egypt lege? Man, that’s Bumfuck Egypt.

bumboy n British I had to park in bumfuck because all the

1. a homosexual or a youth (not neces- good spots were taken.

sarily homosexual) who consents to bug- bummage n British

gery. A term of contempt, originating 1. sex
several hundred years ago and wide- 2. enjoyment, enthusiasm. The word,
spread since the 1950s, especially derived from the verb bum, was in vogue
among schoolchildren. among adolescents in 2006.
bumed out

2. a sycophant, an arse-licker. The term bummed out adj American

is rather archaic, having been sup- disappointed, dejected, having suffered a
planted by stronger alternatives. bummer

bum chum n bummer n

a male homosexual partner. A school- 1. a bad experience, a disappointment.
An American expression (said to have
children’s term, usually used jokingly to originated in the jargon of the racetrack
jeer at close friends. where it meant a loss which reduced one
‘Those two are supposed to be definite to the status of a bum) which spread to
bum chums.’ Britain and Australia in the hippy era of
(Recorded, female care-worker, London the late 1960s. It is still heard, although
1993) by the late 1980s it was dated. The

bumf, bumpf, bumph n British meaning of the term was reinforced by

the expression ‘a bum trip’, referring to
information on paper; forms, instruc- an unpleasant experience with LSD.
tions, brochures, etc., especially those
‘So okay, it looks like a bummer. But
considered unnecessary, annoying or in maybe…maybe you can still get some-
excessive quantity. This term is now an thing out of it.’
acceptable middle-class colloquialism (The Switch, Elmore Leonard, 1978)
although its origin is more vulgar. It 2. British a male homosexual, in play-
derives from ‘bum fodder’, a pre-World ground usage
War II public-school and armed-forces bump

term for toilet paper. This was applied bump vb

1a. to remove someone surreptitiously
scornfully in wartime to excessive from a waiting list, in order to substitute a
bureaucratic paperwork. In Australia more favoured client. A piece of jargon
the usage is sometimes extended to from the world of air travel which entered
mean unnecessary or verbose speech. the public consciousness in the late
The phrase ‘bum fodder’ in full is now 1980s due to the prevalence of the prac-
obsolete, but was used from the 17th tice.
century to refer to waste paper. We were bumped at the last moment.
‘A glimpse of the unpestered life you lead They offered to bump someone to get us
at Cap Ferrat, deluged with fan mail, be- on.
Slang.fm Page 71 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

71 bundle
1b. British to cheat, swindle. This sense ers (such as bums) by the collar and the
of the word, popular among London seat of the pants and bodily hustling
schoolchildren since the mid-1990s, them out into the street. The phrase is
may derive from the earlier jargon sense. almost always used in the expressions
Yeah! He’s trying to bump you. ‘give someone the bum’s rush’ or ‘get the
We got bumped. bum’s rush’.
2. American to kill. An item of street ‘Personally I think Ange should have
slang, abbreviating the now dated collo- given Den the bum’s rush.’
quialism bump off. (Biff cartoon, 1986)
3. a shortening of bump ’n’ grind used by

bum tags n pl British

adolescents and rappers in the mid- another term for dingleberries
1990s bumwda

bumwad n

bumper n Australian toilet paper. A vulgarism heard in Brit-

a cigarette end ain and Australia.

bumpers n pl bunce

bunce n British
1. female breasts money or profit. A word dating from the
2. tennis shoes or baseball boots, espe- 19th century and almost obsolete by
cially those (in the style of the 1960s) the 1960s, except among street traders
with extra-thick rubber round the toe- and the London underworld. In the late
caps, resembling the bumpers of Ameri- 1980s the word was revived by middle-
can automobiles class users such as alternative comedi-

bumph n British ans in search of colourful synonyms in a

an alternative spelling of bumf climate of financial excesses. Bunce

bumpin’ adj may originally have been a corruption of

exciting. A vogue term, especially in ‘bonus’.

dancefloor culture, from black speech buncey, buncy adj British

heard since the late 1990s. Synonyms profitable, lucrative. The adjectival use
are banging, rinsin’. postdates the noun bunce.
bump’n’grind bunchof ives

bump ’n’ grind vb, n bunch of fives n British

(to make) pelvic motions in simulation a fist. A 19th-century pun on a hand of
of sexual thrusting, usually as part of cards (or, later, a handful of ban-
dancing or of ‘heavy petting’. The term knotes), typically used in describing
is North American in origin. threatening or violent behaviour.
bumpof bunch-punch

bump off vb bunch-punch n American

to kill. A ‘tough-talking’ euphemism now a gang bang or train
largely replaced by more sinister locu- bunco

bunco n American
tions such as blow away, waste, etc. a swindle, fraud. A version of ‘bunk’ or
bumpone’s ugms

bump one’s gums vb American ‘bunkum’ which has not been exported.
to talk, speak or converse. An item of bundle

bundle n
black street-talk which was included in 1. a large quantity of money or of some-
so-called Ebonics, recognised as a legiti- thing else desirable, such as narcotics
mate language variety by school officials I lost a bundle.
in Oakland, California, in late 1996. A 2. British a fight, brawl or rough-and-
variant of the earlier flap/snap one’s tumble. Used especially by schoolchil-
gums. dren from the 1950s onwards, typically

bumps n pl as a cry or chant to attract onlookers to a

female breasts. A mock-childish term. playground or street fight, it is the British

bump tummies vb equivalent of the American rumble. Bun-

to have sex (with). A humorous euphe- dle is also used as a verb.
mism invented by adults in imitation of 3. the male genitals, normally as seen
nursery language. Usually said by mid- through tight clothing. A term used by
dle-class speakers. homosexuals and heterosexuals since
bums’ ursh,the

bum’s rush, the n the mid-1960s.

an unceremonious ejection. This is North 4. American an attractive woman. A con-
American saloon terminology of the early descending term which is probably a
20th century, referring to barmen or shortening of ‘bundle of joy’.
doormen grabbing undesirable custom- See also drop a bundle
Slang.fm Page 72 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

bundle of sticks 72
usage since the 19th century. The com-

bundle of sticks n American

a male homosexual, a humorous defini- parison of the stomach or abdomen with
tion of faggot. An expression used on an oven is older still.

campus in the USA since around 2000. bunjie n British


bung n British an alternative form of bungy

a bribe. A term used by police officers bukn

bunk1 adj American

and criminals, almost always to refer to a unfashionable, uncool. A teenage vogue
bribe being given to a policeman. This word from 1987 which is a deliberate
normally implies something more sub- shifting of the standard sense of bunk
stantial than a drink. The earlier verb and bunkum (as signifying nonsense). It
form to bung (someone), meaning to was still in use in 2005.
bribe or pay protection money to, is now a real bunk thing to do
rare but not yet obsolete. That’s bunk, man.
He wants a bung of a monkey to square
it. See also bank2
bunk2 vb American

bung (someone) vb British

to bribe, pay protection money to. An to cheat. A verb formed from the collo-
item of underworld and police jargon. quial nouns bunk and bunkum and the
We’re going to have to bung him if we slang term bunco.
bukn ni

want to stay out of trouble. bunk in vb British

bunghole1 n

to gatecrash, enter illicitly or surrepti-

the anus. A vulgarism found in the tiously. Bunk in occurs in many con-
works of the celebrator of low life, texts as a version of bung, meaning to
Charles Bukowski, among others. throw forcibly; here the image evoked is
bunghole2 vb
of being lifted or hoisted, e.g. through a
to sodomise, bugger window.

bung it on vb Australian ‘I told him I’d never been to drama

to behave in a presumptuous or preten- school, so he said: “RADA the Royal
tious manner. The term denotes Academy of Dramatic Arts is just down
the road. Let’s go and bunk in”.’
‘putting on airs’, from which phrase it
(Philip Roth, Observer, Section 5, 9 April
may derive.
bungeld 1989)
bungled adj bukn of

ugly. One of a set of terms including bunk off vb British

cruttess, off-key and cake-up which have to play truant or absent oneself. A term
been in vogue among street-gang mem- now heard mainly among schoolchil-
bers, hip hop aficionados and students in dren, bunk off is a variant of ‘do a bunk’
the UK since 2000. which has been a common expression
bungona blue
since the 19th century. There is no con-
bung on a blue vb Australian nection with bunk bed, but rather with
to lose one’s temper, indulge in a dis- the sense of bunk (like ‘bung’) meaning
play of irritation ‘to hoist or toss’.

bungy, bungie, bunjie n British bukn-up

bunk-up n British
a rubber eraser. A schoolchildren’s term
since at least World War II, it was in use 1. an act of sexual intercourse, especially
among office workers as early as the when furtive and/or brusque. A term
1930s. The sound of the word is influenced more by the notion of being
intended to convey the shape and con- ‘up someone’ than the erotic possibilities
sistency (influenced by words such as of bunk beds.
bung and spongey). The ‘g’ is usually a bunk-up behind the bike sheds
soft. 2. a lift, help in climbing something
‘If i thro a bit of bungy at peason he will Give me a bunk-up over this wall and I’ll
bide his time and thro an ink bomb back scrump us some apples.
[sic].’ Both uses were common schoolchildren’s
(Back in the Jug Agane, Geoffrey Willans currency in the 1950s and 1960s. The
and Ronald Searle, 1959) sense of bunk evoked is hoist or throw; it is

bun in the oven n British a variant form of ‘bung’.


‘to have a bun in the oven’ has meant to bunnies n pl

be pregnant in working-class British female breasts
Slang.fm Page 73 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

73 burn
The jocular nickname/euphemism, popu-
bup ie

buppie n
lar since 2000, is used by males. a member of the black middle class, a
bnu in’

bunnin’ n black yuppie. An American categorisation

smoking (cannabis or, less commonly, of the late 1980s also heard in Britain
tobacco). A term from Caribbean and still in use over a decade later.
speech, also heard in the UK since ‘Establishing a black middle class won’t
2000, especially among younger speak- help anybody except a few buppies – all
ers. yuppies, black and white, are scum.’
bnu y
(Reader’s letter, NME, 8 July 1989)
bunny n burb

1. British incessant talking, chatter. This burb n British

is a later version of rabbit (a shortening of a stylish or good-looking male. The der-
the rhyming slang ‘rabbit and pork’: talk). ivation of the word, recorded in 2000, is
As rabbit entered non-cockney colloquial obscure, although it may refer to the
speech, so working-class Londoners Burberry brand.

adopted this more raffish alternative. It is burbs, the n pl American

sometimes used in the verb form. the suburbs. A vogue word of the later
2a. Australian a dupe or victim. Partridge 1980s.
dates this usage to the 1920s, although burg

burg n American
the word was briefly used in a similar a town, place. From the Germanic com-
sense by British teddy boys in the 1950s ponent added to many American place-
and by the US novelist Sinclair Lewis. names.
2b. a girl or young woman. A patronising Let’s split this burg for good.
male term with similar implications to the burl

previous sense. burl n Australian

bnu y-boielr a try. Usually in the phrase ‘give it a
bunny-boiler n burl’, meaning to make an attempt at,
a vengeful, dangerous female. The ref- to try (a task or activity). Probably a
erence is to the 1987 film Fatal Attrac- blend of the colloquial expressions
tion in which a jilted woman kills (by ‘have a bash’ and ‘give it a whirl’. Give
boiling) the pet rabbit belonging to her it a burl is one of many Australian
ex-lover’s family. The term has become expressions given currency in Britain by
very widespread. the cartoon strip The Adventures of
‘Coronation Street bunny-boiler Maya Barry McKenzie, written by Barry Hum-
Sharma tries to wreck love rival Sunita phries, which ran in the satirical maga-
Pareklis’ wedding plans…’ zine Private Eye between 1965 and
(Daily Mirror, 16 July 2004) 1974. Some of the more colourful of

buns n pl these expressions were in fact coined,

1. American the buttocks. A popular term or embellished, by Humphries himself,
since the early 1970s which is not partic- but this phrase was well established in
ularly vulgar and which is gaining cur- Australia by the early 1960s.

rency outside North America. The origin burly1 n, adj American

may be an obsolete northern British dia- (something) difficult, hard to achieve,
lect term for ‘tail’, a variation on bum, or problematical. A teenage vogue term
may simply refer to the parallels in form from 1987, in use among the successors
and texture with edible buns. of Valley Girls and preppies, among oth-
2. Australian sanitary towels or tampons. ers. It may originate in black street slang,
A shortening of ‘jam buns’ used almost where standard terms are often appropri-
exclusively by men. (‘To have the buns ated for use as gang code words, or from
on’ is to be menstruating.) surfers’ slang.

burly2 adj

bupkes, bupkiss n American

a. an insignificant amount or trivial matter excellent. A reversal along the lines of
b. nothing or none bad, wicked, brutal, etc., heard in youth
slang since the late 1990s.
The words are a borrowing from Yiddish, burn

which adopted them from the Russian for burn1 n

‘beans’, a term widely used colloquially (in 1a. tobacco
expressions such as ‘not worth a hill/row of Got any burn?
beans’) to suggest items of little value. 1b. a cigarette
Slang.fm Page 74 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

burn 74
1c. a smoke where it is often in the form bush-league,
a quick burn meaning small-town or small-time.
bush2 n

The first sense is in use in prisons in the

UK; the others are also heard in other Eng- 1. the pubic hair area. The term is used
lish-speaking areas. more often by men of a woman’s pubic
2. American a hit of crack hair than vice versa.
I just need a burn. ‘Naff things the French do on a beach:
burn2 vb
…display enormous pubic bushes.’
to record on CD-Rom or DVD. An item of (Complete Naff Guide, 1983)
hacker slang that, by 2004, was appear- 2. marihuana, grass. A common term
ing in advertisements for IT hardware, among smokers in the Caribbean and
etc. Britain. Bush refers especially to canna-
bis leaves and seeds sold unsorted and
burn (someone) vb uncleaned.
1. to cheat financially. An Americanism
that was part of the hippy vocabulary ‘Prisoners cut off the cannabis leaves
(typically referring to selling phoney and dry them before smoking the drug in
drugs) and hence spread to the UK. It is a form known as “bush”.’
(Observer, 12 June 1988)
now archaic in Britain. buhsie

2. American to kill someone. A ‘tough bushie n Australian

guy’ euphemism. a provincial, rural or barbaric person; a
burner n ‘He thought the stereotype of the sporty,
a firearm. An item of American teen gang
outdoorsy Australian began with the ro-
language probably postdating the verb
mantic 19th century image created by
form to burn (someone), reported in the artists like Banjo Paterson, who had tried
Sunday Times, 8 March 1992. to convince us that we were “bushies”.’
bunr of

burn off vb British (Southern Cross magazine, July 1987)

to overtake, outstrip and thus humiliate buhs-league

bush-league adj American

another driver. A term from the language provincial, amateurish, unsophisticated,
of ton-up boys and boy racers. inferior. The term derives from the cate-
burnt1 n British

gorisation of minor-league baseball

glass. The term is a shortened form of teams, and is sometimes shortened to
the London rhyming slang ‘burnt grass’, bush.
meaning glass, or ‘burnt cinder’, mean- ‘“I can’t handle the shit anymore”.
ing winder (window). It is used in the “You’re bush-league, that’s why”.’
jargon of criminals and glaziers, decora- (Pay Dirt, US film, 1992)
tors, etc. to refer to glass panels in win- buisnse

dows and doors. The word was cited as business

an example of the jargon of cat burglars 1. n a hypodermic syringe. A drug user’s
recorded in FHM magazine in April euphemism.
1996. 2. n an act of defecation. To ‘do one’s
business’ was a nursery expression epit-
burnt2 adj American

omising Victorian notions of duty and

terrible, hopeless. A teenage vogue term hygiene.
of the late 1980s which is an extension 3. n the business British a thrashing, a
of the earlier slang senses of cheated or thorough dressing down or beating up
‘burnt out’. We gave him the business. He won’t try

BURP n that again.

a ‘big ugly rough piece’. An unattractive 4. adj the business British the very best,
person of the opposite sex. An item of the acme of excellence
student slang in use in London and You should try some of this gear – it’s the
elsewhere since around 2000. It is said business.
as a word rather than letter by letter. buks ti

busk it vb British
bush1 adj

to improvise. From the standard English

provincial or primitive. A term that can ‘busker’, referring to a wandering street
mean either rural or second-rate, or both. musician. Busk it at first was a musi-
Much used in Australia in expressions cian’s, later a theatrical performer’s,
such as ‘bush scrubber’ and ‘bush law- term, referring to improvisation (‘I don’t
yer’ and, to a lesser extent, in the USA know it, but if you hum a few bars I’ll
Slang.fm Page 75 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

75 butch
busk it’), but is now widely used in other ‘What I say [is] if guys get busted in North
forms of endeavour, such as business. Africa and end up in their shitty prisons
The word ‘busk’ seems to have origi- they got to be dumb in the first place.’
nated in an 18th-century borrowing (Letter to Oz magazine, June 1969)
from a Latin language: the Spanish bus- 2. American to demote. The word is used
car, meaning to search or the archaic in this sense in armed-forces jargon, as
French busquer, meaning to cruise, etc. in ‘busted down to sergeant’.

If they don’t accept our agenda we’ll just busta n

have to busk it. a key term from the rap and hip hop lexi-

buss, buss out, bust out vb con, defined in 2000 as ‘a man who
to express oneself, especially forcefully thinks he is the best but is in fact the
and/or publicly. The term, which can also opposite’
be used transitively to mean show off, is What a busta, I can’t believe he thought
fashionable in hip hop and rap culture. he could hit on me!

‘Sometimes I act individually and buss busted adj

out with my own lines [improvisations].’ 1. caught out
(Recorded, contributor to www.wass- 2. ugly
up.com, November 2003) Man that chick is just plain busted.

‘Buss that jacket.’ bust on (someone) vb American

(Recorded, London student, 2003) a. to punish, attack, kill someone. An
bus jucie
item of youth slang of the late 1980s.
buss juice, bust juice vb British Christian Brando, son of the actor Marlon
to ejaculate. An item of black street-talk Brando, was reported by his sister Chey-
used especially by males, recorded enne to have said he was going to bust on
since 2000. her boyfriend, Dag Drollet, whom he was

bust1 n later convicted of shooting and killing.

1. an arrest, especially for possession of b. to criticise, harass
illicit drugs. An item of hippy jargon which Quit bustin’ on me, will you?
originated in the early 1960s and which Her parents are always busting on her.
by the late 1980s had become a com- bustone’sbuns

bust one’s buns vb American

mon enough colloquialism to be used in to exhaust oneself by working, to make
the written and broadcast media. In great efforts. Buns in this expression
American street-gang and underworld means the buttocks, and the phrase is
usage the word already had the sense of roughly equivalent to the British ‘work
‘catch in the act’ by the late 1950s. one’s arse off’.
‘The busts started to happen. People busup

bus up vb
started to go to prison. People started to to attack, beat up. A term used by young
die. But by then you were too far in.’ street-gang members in London since
(Female ex-drug addict, Independent, 17 around 2000. It is probably an Afro-
July 1989) Caribbean pronunciation of ‘bust up’ or
2. American a spectacular achievement imitation thereof.
or successful coup. A teenage term of butch

approbation of the late 1980s, coming butch adj

a. tough, strong and assertive. The term
from the jargon of basketball, where it is now often used humorously or to
means a good shot.
express mild derision; it probably comes
3. a wild party or celebration from ‘Butch’ as a male nickname first
4a. Australian a break-in, burglary heard at the end of the 19th century in
4b. a break-out, an escape from prison the USA, which in turn probably derives
bust2 vb

from butcher.
1. to arrest, especially for possession of b. assertively masculine in behaviour
illicit drugs. In the USA the word was and/or appearance. The term, typically
being used in this sense by the 1950s. applied disapprovingly or derisively, is
‘And then I went and got busted, my old used about heterosexual women, lesbi-
mother was disgusted. I’m never ever ans and gay men. During the 1950s the
going to be trusted, by anybody any- word had a narrower sense of a ‘mascu-
more.’ line’ (active) rather than a ‘feminine’
(Lyrics to ‘Busted’ by the Bonzo Dog (passive) partner in a homosexual rela-
Band, 1970) tionship, or of a lesbian who behaved and
Slang.fm Page 76 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

butcher’s 76
dressed like a man; in this sense butch

butters2, but-a-boy n British

was also used as a noun. a newly qualified taxi driver. This item

butcher’s n British of taxi drivers’ jargon may derive from

a look. Nearly always in the phrases the catchphrase ‘a driver now – but for
‘have a butcher’s’ or ‘take a butcher’s how long?’ Recorded in the Evening
(at this)’. From the rhyming slang Standard, 22 April 1996.
expression ‘butcher’s hook’, which is at butfuck

least eighty years old and is still heard buttfuck1, butt-fuck n American
in the unabbreviated form. a. a male homosexual. A heterosexual
bucth up term of abuse.
butch up vb b. a despicable or contemptible person
to become more assertive, tougher or
more masculine. The expression, heard Both senses of the term play on the idea of
since the early 1980s in Britain, is often someone who will submit to anal inter-
used as an exhortation, normally to a course.
man who is behaving in a weak or cow-

buttfuck2, butt-fuck vb American

ardly way. (The antonym is wimp out.) to sodomise, bugger. An expression typi-

butt n cally used by heterosexual males who are

the backside, buttocks. In the USA, butt repelled or fascinated by the practice.
is the most common colloquial term for ‘“Go butt-fuck yourself, Fruitfly”. Milo
this part of the body. Although slightly smiled tightly.
vulgar and generally the monopoly of “If I were you, I’d worry about my own
male speakers, butt, unlike ass, is per- anal sphincter, Ernie”.’
missible in ‘polite society’ or broadcasts.
(Over the Edge, Jonathan Kellerman,
It is rarely heard in Britain or Australia.
Butt is historically related to ‘buttocks’ butie

and in British, Australian and American buttie, butty n British

English is still used to denote the thick a sandwich. From Liverpool working-
end of something, such as in the butt of class slang (a shortening of ‘buttered
a cue or a rifle, or simply the end, such as bread’). The term spread throughout
in a cigarette butt. Britain in the 1960s, largely through
the influence of the ‘Mersey boom’.

butta adj British

a. (of, e.g., a task) easy, painless a chip buttie
b. (of a person) suave, seductive, See also buddy
‘smooth’ butinsky

A term used by young street-gang mem- buttinsky, buttinski n American

bers in London since around 2000. someone who interferes, someone who
buter ‘butts in’. A humorous imitation of a Yid-
butter adj American dish or a Slavic surname. The jocular -ski
a. attractive, beautiful, stylish suffix is popular among high-school and
b. lucky, fortunate college students, for instance.
An expression used on campus in the USA ‘This is probably not any of my business,
since around 2000. in fact I’m sure that it’s not my business,

butterball, butterbutt n American and you’re probably going to get very

a fat person, a lard-ass mad at me for being a buttinski, but I re-

butternutsquatch, butternut squash n ally couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t say
a penis or dildo. The term was in use something.’
among adolescents in London in 2002, (Moonlighting, US TV series, 1989)
but is probably American in origin. The

butt-load(s) n American See ass-load(s)

butternut squash is a long bulbous veg- butmunch

etable. buttmunch n
a foolish, irritating individual. An Amer-
butters1, butter adj British

icanism also heard in the UK since

ugly. A term from black Caribbean 2000.
usage that was adopted by UK adoles- buton

cents from the mid-1990s. It is proba- button n

bly related to ‘buttocks’. 1a. the clitoris. An obvious reference
‘It’s not surprising she got upset; they which has been recorded in English
were calling out at her, “Hey, butters!”’ since 1879. It gave rise to the now
(Recorded, London schoolgirl, 1994) archaic ‘buttonhole’ for the vagina.
Slang.fm Page 77 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

77 B.V.D.s
1b. the chin. Most often heard in the comics and films. It may derive from the
phrase ‘right on the button’, used of a expression to buy or pay dearly (i.e. with
punch that finds its target. one’s life) or may be a shortening of the
2. a section of the peyote cactus resem- American buy the farm.
bling a button, ingested for its hallucino- I’m sorry, Madge, but Archie’s bought it.
genic effect buythefamr

buy the farm vb American

but no ti

button it vb to die. An expression which is said to

to shut up, keep quiet, zip one’s lip. A have originated with barnstorming or
shortening of button one’s lip which is fighter pilots. The farm in question is
heard as a peremptory imperative. either a ‘worm farm’ (i.e. a grave) or an
ironic reference to a symbol of retire-
but no on’eslip

button one’s lip vb

to shut up, keep quiet ment (if a pilot survived he would often
but out

butt out vb American literally buy a farm).

buzz1 n

to stop interfering, keep out, leave some-

where. Usually in the form of an instruc- 1. a rumour. A usage now so widespread
tion to remove oneself, butt out is a fairly as to be a colloquialism rather than slang.
mild, if brusque expression. The butt 2. a pleasurable sensation, stimulation.
component is interesting in that it is prob- In the jargon of drug users, especially the
ably inspired by ‘butt in’, in which case it beats and later the hippies, the word
derives from ‘butt’ meaning to strike or referred to a surge of lightheadedness, a
push with the head. (It is commonly rush or high. It sometimes also refers to
assumed to derive from butt, meaning the use of alcohol.
the backside.) buzz2 vb

but lpug

buttplug n American 1. British to become intoxicated from

a slightly milder version of buttfuck. A sniffing solvents. The term is heard par-
term of abuse among schoolchildren. ticularly in the Scottish Lowlands and the
‘Sit on this, buttplug!’ north of England. (Huff is an American
(My Science Project, US film, 1985) synonym.)
but u-gyl

butt-ugly adj American 2. to experience a sense of exhilaration, a

a stronger version of the colloquial rush or high
buz -crsuher

but w-ad
buzz-crusher n American
butt-wad n a killjoy or ‘wet blanket’. A teenage
a foolish and/or contemptible person. vogue term of 1988.
The insult, originating in the USA, buz ed

buzzed, buzzing adj

employs the widespread combining form excited, exhilarated, stimulated
-wad. buz in’

buy awo fticekt buzzin’ adj

buy a woof ticket vb American 1a. cool, hip
to pretend to make a threat. An item of 1b. excellent
black street-talk that was included in so-
called Ebonics, recognised as a legitimate 2. high on drugs or alcohol
language variety by school officials in 3. joking
Oakland, California, in late 1996. The You’re buzzin’.
verb to ‘woof’, now somewhat dated, has The word, in all these senses, has been
been used in black slang to mean fashionable since 2000.
aggress or threaten.
B.VD. s

buy ti
B.V.D.s n pl American
buy it vb male underwear. From a trademark
to die or meet disaster. A euphemism name.
often ascribed to airforce pilots in war I was standing there in my B.V.D.s.
Slang.fm Page 78 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

‘He cacks on your “originals”, you pee-

cabbage n British
1. money. This is a lighthearted 1950s pee on his boots.’
expression rarely heard today. The term (Psycle Sluts, John Cooper Clarke, 1979)
cack2 adj

was used for instance by ‘Flash Harry’

(played by George Cole) in the film The awful, inferior, despicable
Pure Hell of St Trinians in 1960. Lettuce cak-ahnded

cack-handed adj British

was a more popular alternative, with the clumsy, inept. The term originally meant
same derivation from the ‘green and left-handed, probably deriving from the
leafy’ nature of banknotes. idea of handling cack (excrement).
2. a brain-damaged, inert or incapable Although the connection seems obvious,
person this expression is probably too old to be

cabbaged adj British influenced by reports of the Muslim prac-

drunk. An item of student slang in use tice of eating with the right hand, wiping
in London and elsewhere since around away excrement with the left. This pejora-
2000. It probably derives from the col- tive adjective seems to be country dialect
loquial use of ‘cabbage’ or ‘vegetable’ to in origin; it is now fairly widespread and
denote someone who is mentally inca- not particularly offensive.
pacitated or comatose. a cack-handed attempt at patching up
the dispute
cable n American caks

a golden chain worn as decoration, espe- cacks n pl Irish

cially by males. The use of the word and trousers. An Irish version of kecks.

the practice arose in the hip hop black cad n British

street subculture of the early 1980s in an unprincipled, contemptible fellow. A
which heavy gold chains (also known as word applied in the 19th century by
ropes) and (often improvised) medallions privileged school pupils and students to
were an essential part of the parapherna- their ‘common’ counterparts. It came to
lia. mean an often plausible but dishonour-
Compare bling able male. Unknown to most of its
users, the word is a short form of ‘cad-
ca-ca n British die’, a Scottish and northern English
excrement, shit. A word generally used dialect word meaning a junior or
by parents and children in the home. For unskilled helper, itself from the French
the derivation see cack. cadet.
cack1 vb, n

caffle vb British
(to) shit, (to perform) an act of defeca- to become entangled, snagged. In play-
tion. A word which, in Britain, is fairly rare ground usage since 2000, especially in
(it is heard more often in the north of Eng- Wales.
land than in London and the southeast), cgaouel

but remains common in Australia. Cack cagoule n British

is a variation of ca-ca; both are usually an unfashionable, tedious individual. The
nursery words and come from a common usage (a cagoule is an unflattering
and very ancient Indo-European base. hooded cape) is a more recent version of
There are equivalents in Latin (cacare) anorak.

and many modern European languages – caj adj See cas

cake1 n American

caca in French, kaka in German, kakani

in Czech. Cakken was the Middle English money. The term has occurred particu-
verb. larly in adolescent and campus usage
Slang.fm Page 79 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

79 can
since the 1980s, but was first recorded
camp adj
in adult black street slang of the 1960s. homosexual, effeminate or affectedly the-
‘My ride [car] has to make a point – and atrical in manner, gesture, speech, etc. A
the point is that I have cake…’ word which emerged from theatrical
(Damon Dash, hip hop record producer, slang into general use in the 1960s. The
quoted in the Sunday Times, 6 June sense of the term has moved from the
2004) specific (a (male) homosexual) to the
cake2 n, adj British

general (affected, exaggerated, parodic).

(something) easily achieved, often as an The word was adopted by the theatrical
exclamation by school-age children. A world some time after World War I from
shortening of the colloquial phrase ‘a London slang, but the ultimate derivation
piece of cake’. of the adjective is obscure. It may come
cake3 vb American

from the French camper, meaning to

a. to lavish attention and/or gifts upon portray or pose, or from the dialect term
b. to spend time with kemp, meaning uncouth. In the late
An expression used on campus in the USA 1970s the gay phrase ‘as camp as a row
since around 2000. of tents’, referring to a person who is out-
cake-boy rageously or blatantly camp, crossed over
cake-boy n American into general usage. The word ‘camp’ was
a gay male. An item of black street slang adopted in Australia and the USA before
adopted by high school and college stu- World War II.
dents in the 1990s, probably from the
earlier term ‘cake(-eater)’ meaning a ‘To be camp is to be mannered, affected,
‘ladies’ man’ or fop. theatrical. To be camp is to be effemi-
cakehole nate.’
cakehole n British (About Town magazine, June 1962)
the mouth. A slang term which was camp

extremely widespread (and considered camp2, camp about, camp it up vb

by many to be vulgar) in the 1950s and to behave in a camp way, using exagger-
1960s. It survives in the argot of ated, ‘effeminate’ gestures, speech man-
schoolchildren. nerisms, etc. The phrase ‘camp it up’ is

cake-up, caked up adj particularly used to indicate a scene-

ugly, unattractive. One of a number of stealing or outrageous piece of theatrics
terms (including off-key and bungled) (literal or figurative) without necessarily
fashionable among gang members, hip any sexual overtones

hop aficionados, etc. since 2000. camping adj British

exciting, stimulating, dynamic. The
cal forHughie/ChralieR/uth

call for Hughie/Charlie/Ruth, etc. vb

to vomit. These are variations of cry term, heard since the late 1990s, is a
Hughie, etc. facetious pun on the (vogue) term

call-girl n ‘intense’ (from ‘in tents’).

a prostitute who makes assignations by ‘Wow, that movie last night was mega
telephone. The term became popular camping.’
after streetwalking was outlawed in Brit- (Recorded, London student, March
ain. 1996)

can1 n
Calvni Klein

Calvin Klein n British

a fine. The rhyming phrase borrows the 1. also the can a toilet. Now a less-than-
name of the fashion designer. respectable term, but originally an accu-
Only doing 5mph over the limit and I got rate description of the buckets, tin con-
a bloody Calvin Klein. tainers, etc., used in, e.g., outdoor

camel-jockey n American lavatories. The word was more common

an Arab, Middle-Eastern person. A pejo- in the USA than Britain (except in armed-
rative term widely employed during the forces usage) until the 1970s.
Iraq conflict of 2004. Dune-coon was a 2. also the can a jail, prison. In this sense,
synonym. dating from the late 19th century, the

camel toes n pl American word is more common in Australia and

the female genitals, as visible through the USA than it is in Britain.
tight clothing. The phrase, which 3. American the backside, buttocks. An
appeared in the late 1990s, is the coun- inoffensive euphemism.
terpart of the male basket, packet or bob. She fell on her can.
Slang.fm Page 80 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

can 80
spread colloquialism a ‘caning’, meaning

can2 vb American
1. to dismiss from a job, fire. The term a trouncing or defeat.
probably derives from the American 2. to devour or consume. A vogue term
sense of can meaning the buttocks or from the language of adolescents since
ass, and the notions of ‘kicking one’s ass the later 1990s, it is an extension of the
out’ or ‘thrown out on one’s ass’. colloquial sense of ‘cane’ as meaning to
‘I got some more news, I got canned last punish or subject to heavy use. Among
week.’ students it typically applies to excessive
(Recorded, female executive, Chicago, or spectacular use of cocaine, cigarettes,
1983) etc.
2. to stop, suppress or conceal some- Rachel was telling Phil off for caning the
thing. This sense is normally expressed blow.
in the phrase ‘can it!’. 3. to cadge, borrow. A vogue term among
British adolescents since the later 1990s,
Canadian n American this is an extension of the preceding
a black person. A racist term in use on
sense of the word.
canary Can I cane some chuddie off you?
canary n caned

an informer. An underworld term origi- caned adj British

nating in the USA, based on the notion of intoxicated by drugs or drink. A popular
singing (like a bird). term among adolescents since the
‘Mob canary slain in Rolls – Had testified 1990s, like many synonyms evoking the
in bootleg gas probes.’ notion of punishment.

(New York Daily News, 3 May 1989) caning it adj British

a. behaving extremely or excessively

cancer stick n
a cigarette. A middle-class irony, used energetically
by smokers and non-smokers alike since b. achieving success, doing well
the late 1960s. The term has been popular among
younger speakers since 2000.

candy n American
a. an illegal drug, particularly cocaine or can ed

canned adj
heroin. This use of the word originated drunk. The word seems to have origi-
before World War I as a specialisation of nated in the USA, but had spread to
the figurative use of candy as anything other English-speaking countries before
enjoyable. (The word was used in black the 1950s.
street slang with sexual connotations.) can on

b. a dose of liquid LSD on a sugar cube. cannon n See loose cannon

can y

This vogue term was heard in Britain canny adj British

about 1967 when LSD was still taken in sharp-witted, ‘street smart’, attractive.
this form. This term from standard English is
See also nose candy applied, particularly in Newcastle and

candyass n American the north of England, as a general term

a weak or effete person, usually male of approval, especially in the phrase ‘a
candyman canny lad/lass’. Canny is an irregular
candyman n American adjectival form of the verb to ‘can’, thus
a pusher or dealer of illicit drugs, espe- meaning able, probably influenced by
cially heroin or cocaine. Originating in the dialect term ‘ken’, meaning to know
black street usage, in which candy could (how).
also signify sexual gratification, this cans

expression became part of the addicts’ cans n pl

lexicon in the USA by the 1950s. (The 1. American female breasts. Although
original ‘candyman’ was an innocent the names of receptacles are often
peddler of sweets in the early 1900s.) appropriated as euphemisms for the
The word features in numerous blues breasts, this usage may in fact be an
and folk songs. alteration of cones.
2. headphones
cane vb British cantaloupes

1. to beat up, assault. A working-class cantaloupes n pl American

brawlers’ and prisoners’ term. It is proba- female breasts. (The cantaloupe is a
bly a back-formation from the more wide- type of melon.)
Slang.fm Page 81 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

81 carpy
can’tbeasredb/oloexd/fucked/shga ed captains’log

can’t be arsed / bolloxed / fucked / captain’s log n British

shagged exclamation, phrase British a toilet. The term is rhyming slang for
slang equivalents of the informally dis- bog.

missive phrase ‘can’t be bothered’ cark, cark it vb Australian

‘I’m an incompetent fuckwit who can’t be to die. The origin of the word is obscure;
arsed to find decent solutions to prob- it may be a deformation of croak or of
lems.’ cack. Like other items of current Austral-
(Message posted on b3ta website, Febru- ian slang, the word has been introduced
ary 2004) to Britain via TV soap operas.
‘They break down in the middle of no-
Canuck n where and before you know it they’ve
a Canadian. The only widespread slang carked it.’
term for Canadians, whether French or (Recorded, Australian visitor, London,
English-speaking, it is rarely used by 1988)
the British. The word has usually been carked

used in a derogatory sense. (The -uck carked adj

ending is probably an imitation of an 1. (of a situation) ruined or destroyed
Amerindian form, as in Chinook, the 2. (of a person) exhausted, pooped
name of a North American Indian tribal This word may simply be an invention, or
group and jargon.) may be derived from croak, cocked (up)
Compare Canadian or, more plausibly, cack (excrement, shit,
by analogy with poop). It is heard in Britain
canvas n See on canvas and Australia, but not in the USA.

cap1 n

carn n British
a capsule of an illicit drug. The word cash, money. A distorted pronunciation
appeared in the 1960s and was some- of coin, probably taken from, or in imi-
times applied to a dose of LSD, even tation of, black speech. The word was
when this did not come, strictly speak- heard in teenage circles from at least
ing, in capsule form. 1990.
She scored a few caps of acid. You got nuff carn, guy?

cap2 vb American carnaged adj British

1. to insult, humiliate, put (someone) a. drunk
down. A teenage vogue term of the late b. hung-over
1980s. It presumably originates in the An item of student slang in use in London
idea of capping someone’s best stories or and elsewhere since around 2000.

achievements, i.e. going one better. carpet n British

2. to kill someone. An item of underworld 1. a period of three months’ imprison-
and street-gang parlance. Tag and clip ment. This term, dating from the early
are contemporary synonyms. years of the 20th century, is based on the
cape sh?

capeesh?, capeeshee? question form supposition that it would take three

American months for an inmate to weave a carpet.
do you understand? The words are angli- 2. the sum of £3. In use among gam-
cisations of the Italian capisci? blers, market traders, etc. This sense of
the word may be inspired by the preced-
‘You dig? Capeesh? Understand? Dig? ing one.
Didn’t they teach you that in Kiev?’ carpetm- unhcer

(Red Heat, US film, 1988) carpet-muncher n

cap ela
someone who performs cunnilingus. The
cappella n British term is usually used by males referring to
a hat. Part of the parlyaree lexicon used, gay women. Rug-muncher is a synonym.
e.g., by London gays, in the 1960s; it is carpetrat

carpet rat n
from the Italian cappello. a less common version of rug rat
She’s swishing about in her bona cap- carpy

carpy n British
pella. incarceration. This item of prisoners’ jar-
Captani Cok

Captain Cook n British and Australian gon refers to the period of the day in
a look. An old piece of rhyming slang, which prisoners are locked in their cells.
still in use in 2004. It is typically used It has been derived from the Latin injunc-
in expressions such as ‘take/have a Cap- tion carpe diem (‘seize the day’) but may
tain Cook (at this)’. alternatively be a form of carpet.
Slang.fm Page 82 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

carrot-top 82
‘I just need a scratcher for a burn, before

cas, caj, caz adj

carpy.’ 1. American relaxed, nonchalant
(Evening Standard, September 1995) 2. American good, acceptable

carrot-top n Both senses of the word, which is a short-

a red-haired person. The expression is ening of casual and pronounced ‘cazz’ or,
used all over the English-speaking world; more frequently, ‘cazh’ or ‘caj’, are teen-
in Britain the earlier ‘carrot-nob’, like cop- age terms of approbation from the late
per-nob, is now almost obsolete. 1980s.

carrying adj 3a. British a shortening of ‘casual’ in the

1. in possession of illicit drugs or fire- sense of a relationship which is not yet
arms. An international English usage. serious. The term was part of the teenage
2. British solvent, ‘flush’, having plenty of dating lexicon of the later 1990s.
cash on one’s person. A London working- Is this a cas thing you’ve got?
class term. Are you two just caj?

car surfing n 3b. British a shortening of ‘casual’ in the

riding on the roof of a moving car. A sense of informal as applied to clothing or
dangerous teenage fad of the late appearance. The word is usually used
1980s, influenced by the US film Teen- mockingly between adolescents.
wolf. A caj jacket/outfit.
See also train surfing She’s trying to look très caz tonight.
case1 n See get on someone’s case

carsy, carzie n British

case2 vb

alternative spellings of khazi

to reconnoitre (premises) in preparation

cart adj British

high on drugs or alcohol. Buzzin’, blazed for subsequent robbery. The well-known
(up), mashed(-up) are synonyms. The phrase ‘case the joint’ has existed in
term may be an alteration of cat 5. It has underworld slang since before World
been in vogue since around 2000. War II. It originated in American usage,

carve vb British first being used with a generalised

to attack with a knife, to slash or cut meaning of to assess.

(someone). From the vernacular of cashed adj

thugs, street gangs and professional empty, depleted. The term originates in
criminals. American usage where it can typically
They threatened to carve him. refer to, e.g., money or marihuana.

She got carved. cashish n American

money. A play on cash and hashish and/

carve-up n British
1. a swindle or conspiracy that ruins or baksheesh, heard on campus in 2003.
cas av

one’s chances. A rueful London working- cassava n American

class term probably inspired by a greedy a. the female genitals. A euphemism
carving up of a chicken or joint of meat used by men and heard in the 1980s. It
and the use of carve to mean slash may come from the Caribbean, where the
(someone) with a knife. The word was cassava root is eaten as a staple.
especially popular in the 1950s. b. a woman, especially an available one.
‘Wot A Carve-Up!’ By extension from the more specific first
(Title of British comedy film, 1962) meaning.
2. a sharing-out of loot or booty. A term casual1 n British

used by criminals and police officers, a member of a working-class subgroup of

especially in London. the early 1980s who were to some extent

carvie-diesel n British successors to skinheads and ‘suede-

tea. The term is heard among inmates heads’. The characteristic of a casual
referring to the tea brewed in a prison was that he or she wore fairly expensive
canteen. It was recorded in the ‘London designer sports clothes in imitation of
Lingo’ section of the Evening Standard in Italian or US preppie looks. The musical
1995. ‘Diesel’ is a mocking reference to accompaniment to this style was gener-
the consistency of the brew, ‘carvie’ is ally home-produced soul or disco music.
archaic slang for a fellow inmate (itself Casuals were a more materialistic and
from the earlier ‘carving-china’: ‘friend conformist manifestation from the skin-
who shares’). head and mod milieus. Optional elements
Slang.fm Page 83 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

83 chad
of the lifestyle included football hooligan- songbird which characteristically sings
ism and shoplifting for clothes or profit. from a high perch.
Casuals were personified by the 1988 catch acodl

catch a cold vb
comic character Eddie Loadsamoney, to suffer a financial loss or setback.
created by Harry Enfield. This expression, from business jargon,
casual2 adj South African

implies a temporary rather than termi-

excellent. The standard adjective has nal affliction.
catch osmez’s

been borrowed for use as a fashionable catch some z’s vb American

all-purpose term of approbation among a version of cop some zees
younger speakers since the 1990s. cathouse

cathouse n

cat n a brothel. A widely known expression,

1. a person. In the parlance of beatniks, although it is mainly used in the USA,
hipsters, etc. Deriving from black musi- cathouse is based upon cat in its now
cians’ argot, cat was an approving form archaic sense of a prostitute (current in
for a fellow (almost always male – British English from the 16th to the
females were chicks). The word is still in early 20th century).
use, unself-consciously among American cavalier

cavalier n British
blacks and jazz aficionados, and self- (a male with) an uncircumcised penis.
consciously in hip circles in Britain and This term is from the argot of school-
Australia. children.
‘All the cats and chicks/gonna get their Compare roundhead
kicks/at the hop.’ cavemanmode

(Lyrics to At the Hop, recorded by Danny caveman mode n

and the Juniors, 1959)
obsolete, outdated. A dismissive term
from the jargon of computer users in the
2. a spiteful woman. This sense is now so mid-1990s.
widespread as to be a colloquialism caz

rather than true slang. It is probably caz adj See cas


derived from ‘catty’ rather than vice cementhead n American

versa, although cat meant a prostitute a stupid person. A coinage on the lines of
until the end of the 19th century. rubblehead, rock-head, etc. (The notion
3. American the female genitals. A rarer of ‘rocks in one’s head’ in place of brains
alternative to pussy. is a well-known American concept.)

4. Australian a passive male homosexual. centurion n British

This sense of the word probably, someone in possession of £100. An
although not certainly, originated as an item of student slang in use in London
abbreviation of catamite. and elsewhere since around 2000.

5a. British a person under the influence century n

of drugs, particularly when rendered agi- £100 or $100. The word has been com-
tated or erratic. In this sense the term is mon in the argot of criminals, among
said to be a contracted form of paracat. others, for the last hundred years.
5b. British someone craving a drug or I put a century on it and it lost.
drugs. A synonym of cretin. cereb

cereb n American
A term used by young street-gang mem- a swot in the language of the more
bers in London since around 2000. sophisticated preppies. The word is from

catalogue man n British cerebral and may be pronounced ‘see-

a conformist, dull or unstylish male. reb’ or ‘sareb’.

The phrase, defining, according to the cessy adj British

user, ‘an Alan Partridge-type male wear- foul, repugnant, disgusting. A fairly
ing classic trousers and a puffa jacket’, rare, and usually middle-class usage,
was in use among students in 2001. derived from cesspool or cesspit.
The suggestion is that the person in Honestly, the whole thing was cessy!
question orders his clothes from a cata-

cha-cha n British
logue rather than exercising originality a friend, peer. The term is used by Brit-
or individualism in choice/purchasing. ish Asians.
catbirdseat, he chad

catbird seat, the n American chad n

a very advantageous or privileged posi- rubbish, debris, worthless information.
tion. The catbird is a black and grey The term derives from computing jargon
Slang.fm Page 84 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

chai 84
in which it denotes the waste paper dis-

chara’ n British
carded from a printer. a motor coach. From the word chara-

chai n British banc (in French char à bancs, meaning

a girl, female. An item of parlyaree first a carriage with benches), widespread
recorded in the 19th century and still from at least the 1920s into the 1950s
used by older members of the gay com- as a rather pretentious alternative to
munity in London in the 1980s. An alter- coach, and used by tour operators and
native spelling is chy. The term derives their customers. The word in full was
from Romany. pronounced ‘sharrabong’ or ‘sharra-
bang’, and the shortening likewise. Eld-

chai-klom, chy-clom n British

a female wig or hairstyle. An item of parl- erly speakers still occasionally use the
yaree recorded since the 1960s. The term.
second part of the compound is of uncer- cahrfing

charfing n South African

tain origin. The first is the parlyaree (orig- joking, teasing. Recorded as an item of
inally Romany) term for a girl. Sowetan slang in the Cape Sunday

chair, the n American Times, 29 January 1995.

the electric chair. Used for the execu- cahrge

tion of criminals in many parts of the charge n British

world. hashish or marihuana. The word was
Chalfotns popular in the 1950s and 1960s, espe-
Chalfonts n pl British cially among beatniks, students, etc.,
‘haemorrhoids’. Rhyming slang for piles, who generally did not use hard drugs.
from the small town of Chalfont St Giles in This term, no longer heard, refers (rather
Buckinghamshire. Farmers and nauticals inappropriately perhaps in the case of
are synonyms. cannabis) to the ‘charge’ or sudden elec-
‘Stan was around yesterday, complaining trifying sensation felt by the drug user,
about his Chalfonts.’ possibly reinforced by charas (the Hindi
(Recorded, pensioner, Bristol, 1989) word for cannabis, used by some English

chandies n South African speakers in the 1960s). In American

a difficult situation, trouble. Recorded usage it was originally applied to the
as an item of Sowetan slang in the Cape effect of a heroin injection.
Sunday Times, 29 January 1995. Got any charge, man?

chang, charlie chang n Chrales

Charles n British
cocaine. A term used by young street- cocaine.
gang members in London since around
2000. The coinage may be an invention See also charlie1 2

or a deformation or mis-hearing of the charlie1 n

name – Charlie Chan – of a fictional 1. British a foolish person. This innocu-
1940s detective. ous word, often encountered in the

chap vb American expression ‘a right/proper charlie’, is in

to irritate or provoke. A term heard in fact derived from the more vulgar cock-
adolescent usage since the 1980s, ney rhyming slang Charlie Hunt: cunt. In
deriving from the sense of the standard pre-World War II cockney usage cunt
term signifying ‘to chafe’. merely meant a fool, rather than the
Quit chappin’ me! modern sense of a thoroughly unpleasant

chap-esse n British person.

a woman. The word became popular in 2. cocaine. A euphemism from the inter-
ironic and facetious middle-class national alphabet designation for the let-
speech and in the slang of the armed ter ‘C’, or simply a nickname. (The full
services in the early 1990s. form of the proper name, Charles, is
Now here’s something special for all you occasionally used, usually facetiously, in
chaps and chap-esses out there… Britain in this sense of the word.)
‘She came steaming into the room when

char, cha n British

tea. The words for tea in almost all East- I had a massive great pile of charlie
ern languages, from Slavonic through drying out on the floor.’
Indian to Chinese, are variants of ‘ch’a’ (News of the World, 29 October 1989)
or ‘chai’. 3. American the Viet Cong personified.
a nice cup of char During the Vietnam War the military
Slang.fm Page 85 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

85 cheaters
alphabet designation ‘Victor Charlie’ was

(le) chat n British

shortened thus. seductive talk or flattery. From ‘chatting
4. South African a friend. Recorded as an up’, often pronounced jocularly as the
item of Sowetan slang in the Cape Sun- French word for ‘cat’. An item of stu-
day Times, 29 January 1995. dent slang in use in London and else-
5. British the penis where since around 2000.
charlie2 adj British

chat vb
cheap and nasty, flashy or in bad taste. A a. to speak, talk
public-school and Sloane Ranger term of ‘…u chat out ur ass.’
disapproval, heard in the early 1980s. (Recorded, contributor to www.wass-
He’s really awfully charlie. up.com, November 2003)
The flat’s a bit charlie, if you ask me. b. to say

Charlie (Chester) n British ‘Jus because we use slang doesn’t make

a child molester, paedophile. The rhym- us dumbasses…so stop chattin fluff!’
ing slang phrase, used by schoolchil- (Recorded, contributor to www.wass-
dren, borrows the name of a UK up.com, November 2003)
comedian of the 1950s. c. to contribute to an online chat room

charlies n pl chateaud’

chateau’d adj British

female breasts. A word used (almost
exclusively by men) since the 19th cen- drunk. A colourful upper-class and yup-
tury. There have been many attempts to pie expression of the late 1980s playing
explain this term by deriving it from on ‘shattered’ and implying that it is an
rhyming slang (Charlie Wheeler: Sheila), expensive claret (Bordeaux) or other châ-
from Romany or from the habits of teau-bottled wine which has caused the
Charles II. It is more probably simply a inebriety.

personification which implies affection- chav, charv, charva n British

ate familiarity. a vulgar person, representative of the

charver, charva vb, n British working class or underclass. A vogue

(to have) sexual intercourse. A word that term and concept from 2004, defined by
was almost unknown by the 1980s, but the Sunday Telegraph as ‘…the non-
which was used in criminal, theatrical respectable working classes: the dole-
and other circles in the 1950s and early scroungers, petty criminals, football hoo-
1960s. It is Romany in origin (from ligans and teenage pram-pushers’. The
charvo meaning to interfere with), and word originates as Romany for ‘friend’.
refers to the ‘taking’ of a woman by a The chav’s appearance typically incorpo-
man, so, by extension, it has been used rates (for both sexes) white trainers, a
to portray a woman as a sex object. tracksuit, heavy jewellery (known as
chasethedrgaon Argos bling after the catalogue chain
chase the dragon vb store), baseball caps and often the
a. to take heroin by smoking it. The spe- scraped-back hairstyle dubbed a ‘Croy-
cific meaning of this expression (the don facelift’ (Croydon being a London
arrival of which coincided with an influx suburb considered emblematic of brash
of cheap heroin into the UK in the late unsophistication).
1970s) is to inhale fumes from a piece of ‘The cultural phenomenon that is “chav”
the vaporising drug through a tube, often was kicked off by www.chavscum.co.uk,
literally chasing the smoke across the a site billing itself as a humorous guide to
sheet of foil on which the drug is Britain’s burgeoning peasant under-
‘cooked’. class.’
‘Carmella never injected heroin, her se- (Guardian, 10 March 2004)
rious involvement came with “chasing chavie

the dragon”, inhaling a burning trail from chavvie n British

a piece of tin foil.’ a friend, ‘mate’. The word probably
(Independent, 17 July 1989) comes from Romany.
b. to flirt with death by using heroin. This Compare chav

more generalised meaning of the sinis- cheaters n pl American

terly colourful phrase was adopted by sunglasses or glasses. A word now pop-
middle- and upper-class drug users ular with schoolchildren but which
when heroin spread to these circles in probably originated with cardsharps,
the early 1980s. who supposedly used ‘magic specta-
Slang.fm Page 86 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

chebs 86
cles’, or with fraudsters who wore dark ily secretions. From the smell and texture
glasses as a disguise. of ripe cheese.

chebs n pl British 3. n, exclamation British another spelling

female breasts. One of a set of synonyms and/or pronunciation of chiz!
popular among younger males since 4. n a Dutch person. A humorous or
2000. Wabs, waps, baps and smams are derogatory term heard in one form or
others. another (‘cheese-head’ or ‘John Cheese’
check are alternatives) since the 19th century.
check vb British ceh seandkises

cheese and kisses n Australian

to visit, especially one’s girl/boyfriend. one’s wife. This rhyming slang for the
In this sense the term, popular since missus is probably the origin of the syn-
2000, has been defined as ‘seeing onymous cheese and old cheese, refer-
someone, not officially going out’. ring to a mother.
Seb’s checkin’ Rachel, so I hear. ceh sebal

cheeseball n
check! exclamation American an unsavoury or contemptible person. An
yes. A jargon expression of affirmation all-purpose term of abuse borrowing the
(based on the mark of verification on a name of the cocktail biscuit and the
checklist, for instance) carried over into notion of cheesy.
popular speech. ceh seit

cheese it vb American
‘Hey you, stay cool! to beware, hide or run away. This old
Check!’ phrase, normally used in the form of an
(Panic on the 5.22, US film, 1974) exclamation such as ‘cheese it – the
check out
cops!’, has become a comic cliché in
check out vb the USA. It may once have been used by
to die. The notion of leaving a hotel or members of the underworld (in Britain)
motel has been carried over into an eter- or it may be a pre-1900 invention by
nal context. An old euphemism in writers or journalists. In any case it is
American English which is now interna- actually heard in use today, usually
tional. somewhat facetiously by adults and

cheddar1 adj straightforwardly by children.

ceh sy

cheesy. A pejorative vogue term in use in cheesy adj

the USA and UK since around 2000. a. unpleasant, unsavoury, squalid, dis-

cheddar2, cheddars n American reputable, underhanded. The original

money. An expression used on campus notion of smelly cheese has encom-
in the USA since around 2000. passed a number of nuances of distaste.
The word became extremely fashionable
I need to grab some cheddar before we
hit the bars.
in 1990s youth slang.
a cheesy place
‘Don’t take all my cheddars.’ a cheesy thing to do
(Recorded, US student, 2003) ‘It was a degrading, lying, cheating piece

cheeba n See chiba of cheesiness.’


cheekies n pl British (John Lydon [characterising Alec Cox’s

film Sid and Nancy], BBC television,
alcoholic drinks, especially pints of 1989)
beer. The term, popular particularly in
the southwest of England, was recorded b. outdated and/or in poor taste in a
in 2001. In 2004 the b3ta website pleasant or amusing way
che syquaver

reported its use in Australia. cheesy quaver n British

1. a raver, in the sense of a devotee of
cheese1 n Australian post-1980s dance culture
one’s partner or one’s wife. 2. a favour
See also cheese and kisses The rhyming slang borrows the name of a

cheese2 savoury snack.


1. n a cheese, the cheese an important chernie n British

person. This is a shortened version of the a stupid person. In playground usage
colloquial ‘big cheese’. since the 1980s, the term dates from
2. n something or someone unpleasant the nuclear accident at the Chernobyl
or unsavoury, particularly distasteful bod- power station in Ukraine and the associ-
Slang.fm Page 87 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

87 chicken
ated notions of contamination, genetic dos since the early 1990s. It was first
defects, etc. recorded in the 1970s and may derive

cherries n pl American from Hispanic slang.


flashing lights on a police car. ‘Hit the Chicano n

cherries!’ is the command to turn them a Mexican American. Méjicano or Méxi-
on. cano in Spanish has been anglicised to
cherry1 n

this word which, by the 1980s, had few

1a. a young girl, a virgin. This is an exten- pejorative overtones. It has to a large
sion of the last sense, although modern extent been superseded by Latino or ‘His-
users of the word may derive it simply panic’.

from the notion of something sweet or chi-chi adj

delicious. excessively cute, pretentious or twee.
1b. South African an attractive young The word is a direct borrowing from
female. Recorded as an item of Sowetan French.
slang in the Cape Sunday Times, 29 Jan- chic-himan

chi-chi man n Caribbean

uary 1995. a homosexual male
1c. maidenhead, virginity. The word is ‘The worst thing is when you see children
usually part of the phrase ‘to lose one’s of three or four singing songs about killing
cherry’, said normally of girls but occa- the chi-chi man.’
sionally of boys. The expression is old (Guardian, 26 June 2004)
(dating at least from the late 19th cen- chikc

tury) but has not been superseded. It chick n

derives from the supposed similarity of a. a girl, girlfriend. The word has been
the fruit to the hymen. used as a term of affection for hundreds
of years, but was readopted by British
2. British the tip of a lit cigarette slang from America in the teddy boy era.
cherry2 adj

It was used unself-consciously by hippies

new, fresh and attractive. A term used until the mid-1970s, since when it has
by teenagers and young adults since the been disapproved of by the majority of
1970s in the USA and subsequently women. The term is now dated.
elsewhere. It evokes both the shininess ‘This year two chicks and I got enough
of the fruit and the figurative sense of bread together and flew to Eilat (Israel) to
virginity. see what was happening out there.’
cherry3, cherry up vb British

(Reader’s letter, Oz magazine, February

to blush. In playground usage since 1970)
2000. b. American also chickie, chicken a pas-

Chevy Chase n British sive homosexual partner or sodomised

the face. The rhyming-slang phrase victim of a rooster. An American prison
uses the name of the US comic actor, term of the 1970s and 1980s.
who borrowed the name of a suburb of chicken1 n

Washington DC (itself named after the 1. a coward. In this sense the word has
site of a battle in Northumberland, UK). been in use for several centuries,

chew (someone) out, chew (someone’s) although the children’s taunt or exclama-
ass, chew vb American tion was an Americanism of the early
to chastise, tell off, give someone a 1950s.
severe ‘dressing-down’. A colloquial 2a. a young male who is, or is likely to be,
expression heard typically in educa- preyed on by an older homosexual, in
tional institutions and the armed serv- gay, police and prison usage.
ices. Compare chickenhawk

chi-ack, chi-ike, chiake vb 2b. an under-age girl as a sex object or

to tease or taunt. A rather dated term partner in the jargon of pornography.
derived from ‘to cheek’. It has been (‘Chicken’ was a common term of
more common in Australia where the endearment, especially to a younger or
noun form, meaning impudence or inso- vulnerable lover, in the 19th and early
lence, is also heard. 20th centuries.)

chiba n 2c. a girl

cannabis, marihuana. A fashionable term 3. a game in which young people dare
heard among hip hop and rap aficiona- one another to attempt something dan-
Slang.fm Page 88 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

chicken 88
gerous (e.g. to stand in the path of an b. petty, contemptible. This sense derives
oncoming train or car); the chicken, or from the American and Canadian armed-
first to withdraw, is the loser. When motor forces’ expression to describe small-
vehicle races are involved chicken run is minded regulations, orders, etc.
the usual phrase. chief

chief1, chief-bod n

chicken2 adj a foolish or obnoxious individual, a mis-

afraid, cowardly fit. A vogue term from the language of
adolescent gangs, also recorded in the
chickenhawk n late 1980s among aficionados of dance
a. a male homosexual who ‘preys on’ culture. The term was in use among
younger men. This American term from North London schoolboys in 1993 and
the gay lexicon was given wider currency 1994. (‘Chief’ occurs in North Ameri-
by press articles in the late 1980s when can usage, the ‘bod’ form is exclusively
Scott Thurston, the entertainer Liberace’s British.)
lover, referred to him as a chickenhawk chief

in revelations after his death. chief2 adj British

stupid or pretentious. The adjectival use
b. a heterosexual seducer or exploiter of has been fashionable among younger
under-age girls speakers across the UK since the late
‘Lolita at twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen 1990s.
– and chickenhawk Charlie [Chaplin] chil

never far away, mistily watching the bud chill1 vb

unfold.’ 1. to kill someone. A ‘tough-guy’ euphe-
(Hollywood Babylon, Kenneth Anger, mism originating in US street slang.
1975) ‘Teachers report that teenagers talk
chciken-head about “packing a barrel” or “chilling
chicken-head n American someone with a pipe”.’
a foolish female (Sunday Times, 31 August 1992)

chicken oriental adj British 2. to relax, become calm. This shortening

crazy, deranged, mental. The rhyming- of the earlier chill out (itself adopted from
slang phrase (using the name of a popu- American usage) became popular
lar Chinese takeaway dish) is often used among British adolescents during the
in the cry ‘mental, mental, chicken orien- 1990s.

tal!’. From the end of the 1990s it was chill2 adj

popularised by celebrities such as Next 1. relaxed, relaxing, unstressed. Derived
of Kin, Denise Van Outen, Pete Tong and from the verb form, this adolescent vogue
‘lots of clubby types’. term has been in use since the 1990s.

chicken run n American feeling chill

a teenage game in which drivers aim a chill party
their cars at each other to see which one 2. American excellent. An expression
will swerve first; chicken is used here in used on campus in the USA since
the colloquial sense of coward(ly) around 2000.
Hey, your new car is chill.
chickenshit1 n chilax

anything worthless, petty or contempti- chillax vb American

ble. In American usage the word origi- to ‘take it easy’. A blend of chill and relax
nally had the specific meaning of used by teenagers in 2004.
oppressive minor regulations and other

chilled adj
effects of bureaucracy, particularly in excellent, admirable. A teenage vogue
the armed forces in World War II. The word of the later 1980s. The term is a
noun sense is now rarer than the adjec- synonym for cool, influenced by the verb
tival use of the word, except when form to chill out (relax, unwind). British
describing paltry amounts of money. fans of rap and acid house music and

chickenshit2 adj skateboarding introduced the word to

a. cowardly, afraid. An Americanism schoolchildren’s slang.

which was adopted in Britain, mainly by chilled article, the n Australian

schoolchildren and teenagers, in the late a cold beer. A mock-pompous euphe-
1980s. mism used by drinkers.
Slang.fm Page 89 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

89 chippy
chilin’ Chinse

chillin’, chilling adj American Chinese adj See get Chinese


1. relaxing. Chillin(g) is a teenagers’ ching n British

shortening recorded in the late 1980s. a five-pound note or an amount of £5.
2. excellent. An expression used on cam- An item of black street-talk used espe-
pus in the USA since around 2000. cially by males, recorded in 2003.
chilone’s ibls

chill one’s bills vb British See bills chink n

chilout 1. a Chinese person. The word (possibly
chill out vb American inspired by Chinese words for their own
to relax, take it easy. A popular phrase country and people, actually pronounced
since the 1980s, first among teenagers ‘Joong-’) has been used in American and
but later among adults too, it comes from Australian speech since the turn of the
black street talk and is a later variation of 20th century; in Britain it is slightly more
cool out. recent.

chillum n 2. money, change. From the sound of

a type of container (usually ceramic, but chiknie

sometimes made of wood or stone) which chinkie, chinky n British

is packed with marihuana or hashish a. a Chinese restaurant or takeaway food
(often mixed with tobacco) for smoking. service
This item from the lexicon of hippies and b. a Chinese meal
other cannabis users is not a pipe but a I don’t feel like cooking. Let’s grab a
hollow cone held cupped in both hands, chinky on the way home.
with a ‘chillum stone’ lodged in it to pre- c. a Chinese person. A more patronising
vent the contents being sucked into the or dismissive version of chink.
chilnes wonedr

lungs of an enthusiastic user. Chillum is chinless wonder n British

not, strictly speaking, a slang word, but an effete or gormless youth, particularly a
Hindi in origin. It is, however, the only vacuous upper-class male. The pejora-
name for the object in question. tive expression is applied to those literally
Compare bong weak-chinned, but more often to young
chily men, usually in a privileged position, who
chilly adj British are irresolute, offensively presumptuous
excellent, fashionable. A British teenag- or absurd. Debs’ delight and pedigree
ers’ term of all-purpose approval based chum have similar overtones.
upon chill (out) and chilling out, chip

chip vb British
recorded in 1991. to leave, run away. Like its synonym duss,

chimney-wok n British a vogue term among teenage gang mem-

a satellite dish affixed to the exterior of a bers since the 1990s.
house. The joky nickname was heard ‘Let’s chip, it’s the beast.’
from the early 1990s, sometimes abbre- (Recorded London schoolboy, 1994)

viated to wok. chippie, chippy n


chin vb British 1. British a fish and chip shop. A nick-

name which appeared to spread from
to hit someone (by implication on the Liverpool in the early 1960s.
face or head, although not necessarily 2. British a carpenter
on the chin). An old working-class term 3. American and Australian a prostitute
still heard in or around bar brawls, play- or promiscuous woman. The etymology
ground fights, etc. of this sense of the word is unclear.
‘He called me a poof, so I chinned the chiping

chipping n American
a. the occasional use of illicit drugs (as
(Recorded, pub habitué, London, 1988) opposed to regular use by addicts)

china n British b. secret and sporadic use of illicit drugs

a friend, mate. Rhyming slang from while under surveillance, for instance in
‘china plate’. An example of London prison or while undergoing a drug reha-
rhyming slang which has survived from bilitation programme

the 19th century and is still in working- chippy adj

class use today, albeit often ironically or aggressive and hypersensitive, irritat-
self-consciously. It is usually part of the ingly resentful. The word is based on
phrase ‘me old china’. either the 19th-century ‘chip in’, mean-
Slang.fm Page 90 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

chips 90
ing to interfere, or the later notion of slang terms relating to food and indul-
having ‘a chip on one’s shoulder’. gence (foodie, couch potato, etc.) were a
‘He’s chippy. I find that small people are feature of the 1980s.
often chippy.’ cohcoaltebandti

chocolate bandit n British

(Recorded, Sloane Ranger, London, a male homosexual. Like brownie-hound,
1984) turd burglar, etc., this unaffectionately
‘Mr Kinnock appears to be sinking under jocular term portrays the sodomist as a
a barrage of criticism to the effect that he covert thief of excrement.
is an ill-educated Welsh windbag carried cohcoaltechac-ha

high by chippy class hatred.’ chocolate cha-cha n American

(Evening Standard, 25 July 1988) anal intercourse. One of many vulgar-
chpis isms in use among heterosexuals and
chips n pl British based on the faecal aspects of (not nec-
money. Rather than referring to the essarily homosexual) sodomy.
tokens used for gambling, this is proba-
If you ask me, they’ve been doing the
bly derived from the earlier and synony- chocolate cha-cha.
mous use of potatoes. Like that term it cohcoalte-dpi er

occurred several times in the telephone chocolate-dipper n

conversations between Sarah Ferguson, a male homosexual. One of many sup-
Duchess of York, and her psychic advi- posedly humorous but pejorative
sor, Madame Vasso, published in Vasso’s phrases, invariably used by heterosexual
memoirs and in the UK press in 1996. males and based on the faecal aspects of

chirps vb British sodomy. (Brownie-hound and chutney-

to flirt, ‘chat up’, attempt to seduce. ferret are others.)

The term, usually describing male chocolate drop n

behaviour, has been popular among stu- a black or coloured person. A usually
dents and others since the 1990s. Its unaffectionate term used mainly by
derivation is unclear but some users schoolchildren.
claim that it is inspired by the ‘charm- cohcoaltefrog

chocolate frog n Australian

ing’ chirping of birds. 1. a foreigner, immigrant, not necessarily
He’s been chirpsing her all night but I bet someone non-white. A piece of purely
he’s not going to score. Australian rhyming slang for wog.

chiv n, vb 2. an informer, stool pigeon. In this sense

(to) knife (someone). A word originating the word is probably rhyming slang for
in Romany (gypsy) speech, used particu- dog, as in ‘dirty dog’, ‘low dog’, etc.
larly in criminal argot of the 1950s. The cohcoaltesodlier

word, also written and pronounced shiv, chocolate soldier n

often referred to a home-made knife or a weak, ineffectual or cowardly person.
razor blade used for instance by prison- The phrase was at the centre of a court
ers or street gangs. case in February 2002 when the black
model Naomi Campbell alleged unsuc-
choad1, chode n Canadian

cessfully that the Daily Mirror had used

a. the penis it in a racist slur against her. In fact the
b. a stupid and/or obnoxious person. The expression probably dates back to the
origin of this term is unclear, but (partic- late 19th century and originally referred
ularly in the second, figurative sense) it to a purely decorative or excessively
has become popular among college stu- fragile soldier. ‘Chocolate fireguard’ and
dents and Internet users since the late ‘chocolate teapot’ were used in the
1990s, also in combinations such as 1950s to describe useless items.
‘dick-chode’ and ‘chode-lick/wad’. cohcoaltestarifsh

chocolate starfish n British

choad2, chode adj Canadian

the anus
unpleasant, worthless, inferior. The cohde

adjectival form derives from the noun. It chode n, adj Canadian See choad2

was defined on the Internet by Play choirboy n American

Time in March 1997 as ‘so bad it’s a. an innocent, naïve or young male
good’. b. a new recruit to the police force, a

chocaholic n rookie
a person with an inordinate fondness for c. someone feigning innocence or
chocolate in all its forms. A jocular term naïvety. In this ironic sense the word was
punning on alcoholic. Colloquial and used by the ex-police officer Joseph
Slang.fm Page 91 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

91 chopper
Wambaugh as the title of his 1973 novel,

chones n pl American
The Choirboys (filmed in 1977). the testicles. A corruption of the Spanish
chokea darkei

choke a darkie vb Australian cojones.


to defecate. A vulgarism heard since the chong adj British

1960s. a variant form of chung
choked chongde

choked, choked-off adj British chonged adj

overcome with indignation, fury, ran- a. stoned
cour or another strong emotion. Choked b. tired
is a very widespread working-class The term, still in use in 2005, may derive
usage, especially in London speech. from Cheech and Chong, the names of two
Choked-off is a less common and more marihuana-loving comedians of the
recent variant. 1960s.
I tell you I was choked, really bloody cho -cho

choo-choo n
choked, when she told me they’d given
the contract to someone else. a train. Like chuffer or chuff-chuff this is a
chokeof nursery phrase often used facetiously by
choke (someone) off vb adults.
a. British to discourage, repudiate or cho k

reject someone. This term is used in a

chook n Australian
a chicken. This is an alternative pronun-
fairly specific sense in the context of pris- ciation of an old dialect term, imitating
ons, where it usually means to frustrate the clucking of hens, which gives chuck
someone who is attempting an official in British English.
complaint or application.
‘I hope your chooks turn to emus and
b. to aggress, castigate kick down your dunnee.’
‘She [his wife] choked me off yet again.’ (Rural Australian curse)
(Recorded, London taxi driver, June cho m

2005) choom n Australian

choketheo/ne’schikcen an English person. Now usually pejora-
choke the/one’s chicken vb tive, the term seems to have appeared
(of a man) to masturbate. A teenagers’ during World War I and was probably an
and students’ variant of jerkin’ the gher- imitation of the northern English pro-
kin, flogging the lizard, etc. nunciation of ‘chum’.

choking adj British

cho ng

choong, chung n Australian

desperate for relief, typically in the form a Chinese person. A derogatory racist
of alcohol or sex. The widespread term, term which may be an imitation of Orien-
popular, e.g., among university students tal speech or a deformation of chink or
since the late 1990s, is a shortening of jungle bunny.
the colloquial phrase ‘choking for (the chop1 n

specified item)’. The phrase ‘choking for a cut-down, customised motorcycle. A

it’ invariably refers to sex. Gagging is a shortening of chopper 2a.
contemporary synonym. ‘Sarah belongs to the distinctly laid back,

choky, chokey n British Harley-Davidson inclined “lifestyle”

prison or a cell. A word which was still bikers. Soon she will be appearing on a
in use in the late 1980s, although customised 550 cut-down “chop”.’
sounding rather dated. The term comes (Independent, 6 April 1988)
from the Hindi chauki, meaning a shed chop2 vb

or police compound, and was imported a. to attempt to seduce

from India in the mid-19th century by That guy was chopping me all evening.
members of the armed forces. b. to succeed in seducing, pull
chomp1 vb

Man, I chopped her at last.

to fellate. This usage is a specialisation c. to have sex
of the colloquial sense of to eat. I just want to chop.
chomp2 n British

In all these senses the term has been

food. From the colloquial verb which used, mainly by males, since around
imitates the sound of eating. 2000.
chomeprs chop er

chompers n pl chopper n
the teeth. A jocular term inspired by the 1. a helicopter. This was probably origi-
verb to chomp and the earlier choppers. nally a children’s version of the longer
Slang.fm Page 92 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

choppers 92
word, reinforced by the sound and scy- nounced ‘jowzer’), which is Mandarin
thing action of the rotor blades. It was Chinese for a dumpling.
adopted by adults in World War II. 2. a Chinese person. The term is usually
2a. a customised motorcycle, usually one used derogatively.
having high ape-hangers and lengthened 3. British a vulgar person. This is a social
front forks, as ridden by Hell’s Angels. It designation possibly based on the greet-
is derived from ‘chopped hog’ or ing/farewell ciao! It was defined as a ‘per-
chopped (meaning cut down, altered). son who wears lots of gold and speaks
Nowadays it is often shortened to chop. with an almost cockney/Essex accent’.

2b. a young person’s tricycle or bicycle chow down vb American

designed and manufactured to look like a to eat, sit down to a meal, ‘tuck in’. From
customised motorcycle, that is with a chow meaning food.
large back wheel and long front forks. ‘While we’re here let’s chow down, hey?’
From the 1970s when such bikes (Real Men, US film, 1987)
became popular. Chirstian Slaetr

Christian Slater adj British

3. British the penis. A working-class vul- later. The rhyming slang borrows the
garism dating from at least the 1940s name of the Hollywood actor.
and still heard. Chirstmas!

Christmas! exclamation
4. American a machine gun. Although an inoffensive euphemism for Christ,
this use of the word is familiar to many mainly used by British and Australian
people through films and crime fiction, it speakers
has been obsolete in spontaneous Chirstmasc-rakcerde

speech since before World War II. Christmas-crackered adj British

chopers exhausted, worn out. Rhyming slang for
choppers n pl knackered; a less common version than
the teeth. A lighthearted term used all cream-crackered.
over the English-speaking world, often chrome

referring to false teeth. chrome n American

a gun. A term from the argot of street
a new set of choppers gangs.

chops1 n chrome-odme

chrome-dome n
the mouth or jaws. The word has been a bald person. A humorous derogatory
heard since the 18th century, before term referring to the polished sheen of
which it was usually in the form ‘chaps’, a hairless head. In their 1977 book, The
referring to the jaws of animals. Boy Looked at Johnny, Julie Burchill
chops2 vb British

and Tony Parsons consistently referred

to talk too much or to cheek. In play- to the balding musician Brian Eno as a
ground usage. chrome-dome.

chronic, cronic, kronik adj American


chop shop n American

a customising workshop for cars or excellent, powerful. One of many appro-
motorcycles. To chop in this case means priations of negative words as vogue
to cut down or alter. terms of approbation in adolescent
speech, such as bad, wicked, brutal, etc.
chopsy adj British Chronic appeared in the late 1990s.
garrulous, inclined to talk out of turn, Wow, this sure is some chronic blow.
argumentative, mouthy. From the use of ‘Try some of this cake – it’s cronic.’
chops to designate the mouth or jaws. (Recorded, London student, 2003)
‘Spurs have turned into a really chopsy chub ete

team since Venables took over.’ chubbette n

(Recorded, Welsh football supporter, a ‘well-built’ or shapely young woman. A
London, 1989) vogue term of the early 1980s among
chore some American and British speakers.
chore vb British chub y

chubby n American
to steal. In this sense the word may be an erection. An item of teenage slang
Urdu in origin. often heard in the phrase ‘crack/pop a

chow n chubby’. It may derive from the earlier

1. food. The word is about a century old synonym crack a fat.
and derives either from the Far Eastern ‘Hi boys, don’t pop a chubby on our ac-
pidgin English term ‘chowchow’, mean- count.’
ing a mixture, or from jiao(ze) (pro- (Meet the Applegates, US film, 1991)
Slang.fm Page 93 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

93 chuffed
chub y-chaser chuckled-ust

chubby-chaser n chuckle-dust n American

someone who is sexually interested in or any illicit drug in powder form. The
attracted to large or obese people. phrase seems to originate from the early
‘Chubby Checker’ has also been 1990s when it was used to refer to angel
recorded in London speech for a male dust or cocaine and was subsequently
who enjoys looking at ‘well-built’ also recorded among North London
women. The phrase was an American- schoolboys in 1993 and 1994.

ism of the early 1960s and was adopted chucklehead n American

as the nick-name of the American soul a foolish, silly or eccentric person
singer who popularised the ‘twist’. chuckup

chuck up vb

chuck1 n to vomit. Upchuck is a later variant form.

chud ei

a term of endearment literally meaning chuddie n

chicken in northern English speech. It chewing gum. In the form ‘chuttie’ the
was originally a rural dialect term imitat- term was first recorded in American
ing the sound of clucking (chook in mod- speech as long ago as the 1920s; it was
ern Australian English). very probably originally a nursery form of

chuck2 vb the verb to chew. In the late 1990s it

1. to vomit. A moderately respectable became a vogue term among UK adoles-
euphemism probably abbreviated from cents. Chuffie is a synonym.
chud eis

the more common chuck up. chuddies n pl British

2. to throw out; specifically in police and underwear. The term seems to have
underworld jargon to reject (an appeal), originated in South Asian speech and
dismiss (a case) or acquit (a defendant) has been popularised by TV comedy
3. British to stop, desist. In this sense the series such as Goodness Gracious Me
word has been used particularly in work- and The Kumars at No. 42. By 2004 it
ing-class slang of the north of England. was also in use in school playgrounds
among other ethnic groups.
‘Chuck hassling me, will ya!’ Eat/kiss my chuddies!
(Your Cheating Heart, British TV drama, chuf

1990) chuff n British

1. the anus, backside. A word which has
4. to eat excessively. In this case the verb been heard since the 1940s and which is
is synonymous with ‘chuck out’ or pig innocuous enough to use where other
out. synonyms are taboo. The etymology of
5. to fuck. The variant form is used the word is obscure, but it may be from
euphemistically as an exclamation or the dialect meaning plump (which is
intensifier. related to chuffed meaning pleased).
‘They say it is, is it chuck!’ ‘As tight as a badger’s chuff.’
(Gary Crowley, The Beat, British TV mu- (Room at the Bottom, British TV series,
sic programme, 25 October 1993) 1988)
6. South African to leave, hurry away 2. a fart. A schoolchildren’s and students’
Let’s chuck. vulgarism recently popularised by Viz
chucka chesy
chuck a cheesy vb Australian
See also chuffing
to grin. The colloquial cliché ‘a cheesy chuf-chuf

grin’ has given rise to this more recent chuff-chuff n British

expression, in use since the mid-1980s a synonym of chuffer

among adolescents. chuffed adj British

chucka his ei

chuck a hissie vb British delighted, pleased. The word’s meaning

to become enraged, lose control. Heard stretches from flattered to excited. It
since 2000, the phrase derives from the probably originates in northern English
dialect (meaning puffed-up and proud)
earlier hissie(-fit).
chucka menatl
and is still most frequently heard in the
chuck a mental vb North and Midlands. Embellished forms
to become enraged, agitated, disori- are ‘dead chuffed’, ‘chuffed pink’ and
ented. The term was featured in the ‘chuffed to arseholes’. The TV soap
Australian soap opera Neighbours in opera Coronation Street, which is set in
1991, and is also in use among British the north of England, has ‘chuffed to lit-
and Scottish schoolchildren. tle mint-balls’.
Slang.fm Page 94 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

chuffer 94
chufer chunder

chuffer n British chunder vb Australian

a train. A quasi-nursery word used face- to vomit. This term, in use among Aus-
tiously by adults. tralian surfies and others in the 1960s,
‘I’m catching the chuffer down to Bath.’ was imported into Britain later in the dec-
(Recorded, journalist, 1987) ade by the strip cartoon The Adventures
of Barry McKenzie. The writer, Barry
chuffie n British Humphries, derives it from the warning
chewing gum. An alternative form of cry ‘Watch under!’, perhaps used by sail-
chuddie, heard in school playgrounds ors. An alternative derivation is from
since 2000. ‘Chunder Loo’ as rhyming slang for spew,

chuffing adj British from the name of a character used in

a polite or disguised form of fucking as an advertisements for boot polish fifty years
intensifying adjective. It is heard most earlier. Already established in Britain,
often in the north of England. especially among young sportsmen and
drinkers, there are signs that this and

chuff-nuts n pl British
another term for dingleberries other Australianisms are making head-
way in the USA following the success of
chug vb the Australian comedy film Crocodile
1. British to drink (alcohol). A coinage, Dundee in 1987.
derived from the drinkers’ toast or chant chung

‘chug-a-lug’, fashionable among young chung adj British

people in London from the late 1980s. physically attractive. A vogue term
‘Sloane Rebs all support Chelsea F.C., among schoolchildren in 2005.

and can be seen every other Saturday chunk vb American

lunchtime “chugging brew” and getting 1. to throw away, reject
hammered at any number of pubs in the 2. also chunk it to vomit. The term, used
Fulham Road, before charging down to by adolescents, is probably derived from
Stamford Bridge for a “frightfully good the earlier blow chunks.
game of footy”.’ Cissie chunked all over the couch.
(I-D magazine, November 1987) cuhnker

chunker n American
2. American to throw away, reject. The an obese or heavily built person
term was recorded in 2001. chunky

chunky adj British


chummer n British an all-purpose term of approbation briefly

a male homosexual. The term, recorded in vogue among London mods in 1966
among schoolboys in 2000, is possibly and 1967
influenced by bum chum and bummer. chunter

chunter, chunner vb British


chummy n British to nag or complain, especially inces-

a term of address used typically by santly and in an undertone. Chunter is a
police officers to or about suspects. common form throughout Britain, while
This condescending word is representa- chunner is a northern and Midlands var-
tive of the menacing use of terms of iant. The word is imitative of the sound.
endearment, understatement, etc. What are you chuntering on about?
favoured by London police and under- churchkey

church key n
world. a bottle opener. A (mainly middle-aged)
I think chummy here has got something drinkers’ witticism.
he wants to tell us. chutne-yferet

chutney-ferret n British
chump1 n British See off one’s block/

a male homosexual. One of a set of syn-

chump/crust/head/nut/onion onymous phrases (fudge-nudger, turd
chump2 vb American burglar, etc.) based on the faecal aspects

a. to cheat or dupe of sodomy.


The guy was chumpin’ me. chutney-locker n British

b. to steal, appropriate the anus. A euphemism appearing in
First they chumped my car, then they London speech around 1990.

came back for the fuckin’ furniture! chutzpah n

In both senses the term was popular in daring effrontery, impressive cheek.
black street slang from the 1990s. It is The word, pronounced ‘hootspar’, is via
formed from the colloquial noun sense de- Yiddish from the Hebrew huspah (bra-
noting a ‘sucker’. zenness, audacity); it has been in use
Slang.fm Page 95 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

95 clapped
among non-Jewish Americans since at

clam n American
least the mid-1960s, but only appeared a dollar. Invariably used in the plural, this
in the mid-1970s in Britain. is a racier alternative to buck, etc.
‘I have valued my fleeting acquaintance
clma brain

clambrain n American
with Larry Adler over the years because it a foolish or stupid person. The image
has always given me an easy way of ex- evoked is of someone with the brain
plaining the meaning of the Jewish word power of a mollusc.
chutzpah to those who have not met this clma ped

valuable term. As far as I can define it

clamped adj
(to be) caught out
briefly, it’s an elegant opportunism, so clma up

fast as to deceive the eye, and so suc- clam up vb

cessful as to be totally disarming. Or what to keep quiet, refuse to speak. Origi-
cockneys call bloody cheek.’ nally an Americanism (clams are a pop-
(Miles Kington, Independent, 27 January ular oyster-like seafood), the term is
1989) now widespread.

clang vb British
cider-punk n British to commit a gaffe, make a mistake. A
a crustie. The phrase was used (unlike back-formation from the colloquial
crustie itself) by members of the early phrase ‘(drop) a clanger’, which shares
1990s subculture which included mili- the meaning of the shortened form.
tant beggars, homeless vagrants and clnaking

their weekend emulators. Cider was a clanking adj British

stinking. An item of student slang in use
preferred (cheap) stimulant and punk the in London and elsewhere since around
music of choice. 2000. Synonyms are bogging, minging.

cig, ciggie n clnakingforit

clanking for it adj British

a cigarette sexually aroused, desperate for sex. In

-city combining form American playground and campus usage since

a situation or a state of affairs, as in barf 2000, the phrase is an alternative to the
city (something revolting) or edge city contemporary arching for it and the ear-
(anxiety) lier ‘gagging for it’.

clap, the clap n
clack n, vb British venereal disease, gonorrhoea. The only
(to) chatter, talk incessantly. A mainly widespread slang term for the condi-
working-class word, popular in the north tion, this word was derived from French
of England. ‘Clack on’ is an alternative (clapoir, meaning a swelling, or clapier,
verb form. meaning a brothel) in the late 16th cen-

clackers n pl Scottish tury. It became a taboo, and therefore

balls (in both the literal and figurative slang term only in the 19th century. The
slang senses). The word, recorded in the specific reference to gonorrhoea had
early 1990s, was the name of a fashiona- widened to include other venereal dis-
ble children’s toy of the 1970s consisting eases by the 1950s.
of two plastic balls on a string wound ‘For while he nibbles at her Am’rous Trap
round the fingers and knocked together. She gets the Mony but he gets the Clap.’
Conkers is a synonym of similar prove- (Poor Pensive Punck, poem by John
nance. Dryden, 1691)
‘“Ain’t got the clap have you?”
clag n British “God no! It’s just a sense of cosmic
bad weather. A rural dialect term for boredom”.’
clay or mud, clag was first adopted in (Robert Crumb, cartoon in Head Comix,
airforce slang to refer to thick cloud or 1968)
fog. More recently, TV weather forecast-
clapped1, clapped out adj
clpa ed

ers have employed the term lightheart-

edly. worn out, exhausted. The second of
ClaireRaynesr these essentially British terms has been
Claire Rayners n pl British adopted in the USA since the 1950s.
trainers. The rhyming-slang phrase, first They are normally applied to machines,
recorded in the late 1990s, borrows the particularly cars, although they derive
name of the broadcaster and agony originally from the idea of a person debil-
aunt. itated by the clap (venereal disease). As
Slang.fm Page 96 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

clapped 96
the origin has been forgotten, the terms and, by extension, also by brawlers,
are now colloquial rather than vulgar. hooligans, etc., off the field.
clapped2, clapped up adj
calp ed celm de

clemmed, clemped adj British

infected with venereal disease, suffer- starving, hungry. An old term which is a
ing from gonorrhoea. These rather old- survival of northern dialect (from the
fashioned forms have largely been Middle English clemmen, meaning ‘to
replaced by ‘got the clap’. pinch’). Clemmed is still heard occa-
calp ni

clappin adj British sionally among older speakers (and,

a. worn out, exhausted incidentally, in the TV soap opera Coro-
b. outdated, unfashionable nation Street); clemped has enjoyed a
A vogue term in both senses among UK revival among younger speakers since
adolescents since around 2000. It is prob- 2000, sometimes in the form ‘clemped
ably based on the older clapped out. dief’ – ‘to death’.
click1 n American

claret n British
blood. Originally an upper-class theatri- a clique, a small group of friends or con-
cal and boxing euphemism, this word is federates. A favourite word with high-
now heard mainly in London police and school and college students.
click2 vb British

underworld circles.
‘If you prick me do I not spill claret?’ 1. to catch someone (doing something
(The character ‘Arthur Daley’ in Minder, they shouldn’t)
British TV series, 1983) I clicked him sconned on peeve. [I

clart, clarts n British caught him drunk]

trouble, a mess. This dialect term from 2. to make contact with a potential
the north of England and Scotland – romantic or sexual partner, score, pull.
probably a variant of ‘clot’ or ‘clod’ (of See also get a click

mud, slime, excrement) – is heard occa- clink n

sionally in other parts of Britain, usually 1a. jail, prison. The most common (in
in expressions such as ‘too much faff Britain) and least racy synonym; it was
and clart’ or ‘(dropped) in the clarts’. the name of a prison on Clink Street in
‘Clarty’, the dialect adjective meaning Southwark, London, from at least 1509
dirty, sticky and messy, is also still until the 18th century. The term may also
heard. be inspired by the sounds of metal keys,

class adj British doors and manacles.

excellent. Deriving from the colloquial You’ll end up in the clink.
‘classy’ and top-class, class act, etc., this 1b. British detention, in schoolchildren’s
use of the word has been a vogue term jargon
among younger speakers since the mid- I’m in Saturday morning clink again.
1990s – a successor to wicked and safe 2. British money, change. Like chink it is
and a contemporary synonym of sound or imitative of the sound of coins.
the bollocks. I’m a bit short of clink.

clat n British clinker

clinker n American
a dirty and/or obnoxious person. The a failure. A word used particularly with
term, which is related to the dialect clart, reference to a film or play. In this sense
is heard particularly in the Scottish Low- it has been adopted by some British
lands and the north of England. writers; in the USA it may occasionally
‘The little clat gets right up my nose.’ denote other types of failure or incom-
(Recorded, middle-aged woman, York, petence. The slang use is based on the
1995) word’s standard meaning of coal resi-

clat-tale n British due or cinder.

a tell-tale. A northern English children’s ‘Most of Hollywood, and especially John’s
variant of the standard terms ‘tattle- brother Jim, refused to have anything to
tale’ or ‘tell-tale’. do with this clinker, adapted from the

clattering n British book by crusading Bob “I’ve been played

a kicking. The term is from the jargon of by Robert Redford” Woodward.’
football fans and refers not to kicks in (Tatler, October 1989)

the course of play, but a personal attack clinkers n pl British

by one or more players during a match another term for dingleberries
Slang.fm Page 97 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

97 clogger
London’s East End…It came as a shock:

clip vb
1. to take (someone’s) money dishonestly juries can be intimidated by a stare.’
by sharp practice, deceit or fraud. The (Sunday Times, 5 June 1988)
word is a euphemism from the jargon of 2. to hit. A usage that was, and is, popu-
tricksters, with the image of ‘trimming’ lar in Australia and which has been
someone of their ‘excess’ wealth. adopted in Britain (where it may have
2. British to hit someone a glancing blow originated) and the USA. This term, used
with an open hand, to smack almost exclusively by men, probably also
derives from the archaic term ‘clock’
I clipped him round the ear. meaning a person’s face; hence the verb
3. American to kill, execute. An item of meaning to punch (in the face).
black street slang from the early 1990s. He finally lost his temper and clocked
One of many short ‘tough-guy’ euphe- him one.
misms such as tag, cap, off, etc. 3. to tamper with the mileometer of a car
clip artist

clip artist n American in order to show a low mileage. A piece of

a fraudster, cardsharp or confidence dealers’ jargon which has passed into
trickster. A dated term derived from the common currency due to the wide extent
verb clip 1. of the practice.
clip ojitn

clip joint n clocking n American

originally a club or bar which employs selling crack. A street-slang term of the
hostesses who encourage clients to buy late 1980s.
them (inevitably hugely overpriced) ‘Some of them wear tiny gold charms that
drinks in the expectation, rarely fulfilled, look like miniature watch faces – a
that their generosity would be recipro- dealer’s trademark, which is probably
cated with sexual favours. The phrase where the term clocking came from.’
may now be applied to any overpriced, (Sunday Times, 10 September 1989)
clcok ti

low-quality establishment. Clip, like clock it vb

‘trim’, is an old euphemism for ‘relieve to defeat one’s opponent, win a contest.
someone of their money’. The term may have derived from the jar-
clip ing

clipping n British gon employed in the Nintendo Game

a particular kind of cheating in which a Boy computer games, or from the collo-
prostitute takes a client’s money but does quial Americanism ‘to clean someone’s
clock’, meaning ‘to defeat or confound’.
not provide sex in return. A specific cldohop er

sense of the more general slang meaning clodhopper n

of clip. a. a clumsy or boorish person. The term
clob re
originally (two hundred-odd years ago)
clobber n British referred to a ploughman or rustic (tread-
clothes, accessories or equipment. The ing clods of earth in the fields).
word is now so widespread as to be col-
b. British a policeman. Rhyming slang
loquial rather than slang. It dates from
from copper, rather than a simple pejora-
the 19th century but its origin is tive.
obscure; it may be an invention, a dia- clgo

lect form of ‘clothes’, or from the Yid- clog1 vb British

dish klbr. to kick

clog2, cloggy n British


clock vb British
1. to notice or see, to look at. A working- a Dutch person. This humorous or derog-
class usage widespread, especially in atory word may date from the 1940s
southeast England, since World War II. when clogs were still widely worn. Cheese
The middle-class fashion since the late is a synonym.
clgo er

1980s for imitating working-class speech clogger n British

brought the word into some prominence someone who kicks people. The term is
and greater respectability. It probably usually used dismissively of soccer
derives from the obsolete use of ‘clock’ to players whose game is based more on
mean a person’s face. violence than competence.
‘Villains call it clocking in Leeds, eye- That team are nothing but a bunch of
balling in Manchester and screwing in cloggers.
Slang.fm Page 98 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

cloggy 98
to mean pregnant, wanting to be preg-
colg y
cloggy n See clog

clogs n pl See pop one’s clogs nant, or merely eagerly anticipating

colne something.
clone n cluei-e

a. a gay man of stereotyped appearance. clue-ie adj Australian

In the gay male community of the 1970s bright, alert, well informed. The term is
a ‘uniform’ of working clothes, leather derived from the colloquial ‘clued up’
caps, moustaches, etc., developed. and has been used in Australian TV pro-
Indistinguishable conformists to this grammes such as Police Rescue, also
standard code were referred to by others broadcast in the UK.
and themselves as clones. In this sense When it comes down to it, she’s not too
the word is not necessarily pejorative. clue-ie, is she?

b. any fashion-follower or imitator who is clueless adj American

indistinguishable from others, or is unfashionable, unpopular, unattractive.
blindly conformist to a dress code. A The standard colloquialism was adopted
derogatory term since the late 1970s, as a vogue term among Californian high-
often added to a prefix to form such epi- school students from the early 1990s,
thets as ‘Madonna-clone’, ‘Michael Jack- often in order to categorise a person
son-clone’, etc. excluded from the in-group. The word
provided the title of the 1994 US film
clone-zone n which featured the pampered successors
the male homosexual milieu or gay area
of a town where clones congregate. A to the earlier Vals.

term from the late 1970s. cluffy n British


closet case, closet queen n a foolish, unfortunate or unpleasant

a homosexual who conceals his or her person, a misfit. In use among school-
homosexuality; the second version of the children and adolescents since 2000.

phrase refers only to men. Originally part clumping n British

of underground gay terminology, this a beating or maiming. The term, used
phrase became well known in the early typically by criminals to indicate physi-
1970s when many previously secretive cal punishment or a revenge attack, was
homosexuals decided to come out. The recorded in the ITV documentary, The
term was first widely used in the USA Cook Report, 6 June 1995.

although its precise time and place of ori- clunk n American

gin is obscure. The connection between 1. a stupid, dull-witted person
closet and secrecy is obvious; compare 2. an old, dilapidated car or truck
the phrase with the well-known ‘skeleton clutch

clutch n British
in the cupboard’. a cheek-to-cheek or arm-in-arm dance.

clouts n pl British A ‘society’ word, used by Sloane Rangers

underpants, especially female. The among others, which is a specialised use
term is currently in use among, e.g., of the colloquial meaning of ‘embrace’.
middle-class adolescents, but dates clutched

clutched adj American

back to at least the late 18th century tense, agitated. The term refers to the
when it denoted a handkerchief, later a physical symptoms of anxiety in the
sanitary napkin. form of tension in the abdomen and

clowns n pl chest.
female breasts There’s no need to get so clutched, it’s
The jocular nickname/euphemism, popu- only a math test.
lar since 2000, is used by males. Clyde

Clyde n See Clydesdale

Club Fed

Club Fed n American Clydedsale

Clydesdale n American
prison, especially a federal, rather than an attractive male. A humorous term of
state institution. A 1980s pun on Club the late 1980s based on the supposed
Med(iterranée), which continues the suggestion of heroic WASP maledom
time-honoured metaphor of a prison inherent in the Christian names ‘Clyde’
sentence as a vacation. and ‘Dale’. The word, which probably

clucky adj Australian originated on the streets (‘Clyde’ was

broody, pregnant. From the image of a used by hipsters in the 1950s to catego-
mother hen clucking over her clutch of rise an archetypal square), was used by
eggs, the word has now been extended Valley Girls and preppies among others
Slang.fm Page 99 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

99 cocksucker
from the early 1980s. (The literal mean-

cob-on n British
ing of Clydesdale is a form of large, hand- a fit of ill-temper. A term heard predom-
some, pedigree horse; strong, inantly in the north of England.
hardworking and enormously expensive.) cock

cock n British
c-note n 1. a term of address (for men). It proba-
£100 or $100 (not necessarily always in bly derives from ‘cock-sparrow’, or from
the form of a hundred-denomination bill). the image of a brave fighting-cock. Typi-
From the Latin numeral C, meaning one cally, the word is used in an affectionate,
hundred, this amount is also known as a bantering way in expressions such as the
century. dated cockney ‘wotcher cock!’ or ‘(my)

coasting adj American old cock’. Cock has been used in this
under the influence of illicit drugs, general sense for at least three hundred
moving around in a drug-induced daze years.
or stupor. By extension, being in a 2. nonsense, rubbish. This sense of the
euphoric state after listening to jazz, word has been in use since the 1940s
rock music, etc. and may be a shortening of ‘poppycock’

coating n British (from the Dutch pappekak, meaning ‘soft

abuse, insults. This use of the word has shit’ or absolute rubbish), ‘cock and bull’
been recorded since the 1990s among or a euphemistic variant of cack.
middle-aged speakers and either refers 3. the penis. In this sense the word is
to the grabbing by the lapels, or is based used all over the English-speaking world.
on the notion of pasting and the collo- In Britain the usage dates from the 17th
quial slang sense of ‘paint’ (to beat up). century. Its origin is in the image of the
The archaic verb to ‘coat’ was also male member either as a strutting fighter
recorded in Britain and Australia in the or as resembling a chicken’s neck or
sense of to reprimand. water-valve. (In the USA the word rooster
is usually prudishly substituted when
cob vb, n American referring to the male bird.)
(to give someone) a pinch or poke in the cockblock

buttocks. In this sense the word, origi- cockblock n

nally a dialect term for a lump or a pro- 1. an obstacle to seduction by a male,
trusion, can be dated back to the typically an obstructive or intrusive
English slang of the later 18th century. female friend of the intended seductee.
See also get/have a cob on The term was posted on the Internet in
cob er 2003.
cobber n Australian Compare grenade
a friend, ‘mate’. An unsophisticated
term of address among men, which is 2. the protruding dividing barrier
now virtually obsolete. There are two between male stand-up urinals

possible derivations proposed for this cock diesel n American

well-known Australianism: the archaic a powerful, attractive male. The term,
English dialect verb to ‘cob’, meaning usually employed appreciatively, but
to take a liking to (someone) or the Yid- sometimes ironically, was heard in black
dish word chaber (from Hebrew, mean- street slang and on white campuses in
ing comrade). the 1990s. The ‘diesel’ element (as in
cob lres

cobblers n British diesel-dyke) suggests the unrefined

nonsense, rubbish, balls. A popular power of a diesel-engined vehicle.

example of rhyming slang (from ‘cob- cocksucker n

bler’s awls’) which is often used in igno- a despicable, contemptible person. This
rance of its vulgar derivation. Formerly expression is almost always used in this
used literally by cockneys to mean the sense rather than its literal meaning of
testicles, the word is old, but was given someone who performs fellatio; it is
widespread currency in the 1960s by generally an Americanism, applied to
such TV comedies as Steptoe and Son. males as a term of abuse. The implica-
‘He is dismissive about awards: “A load of tion is of a person who is willing to stoop
cobblers”.’ (metaphorically) to disgusting or debas-
(Observer, Section 5, 9 April 1989) ing acts.
Slang.fm Page 100 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

cock-tease 100
cokc-tease co onig

cock-tease, cock-teaser n cocooning n American

a slightly more polite version of prick- staying at home with one’s partner and
tease(r) children (as opposed to going out or
cokc up

cock (something) up vb British socialising in the evening). A yuppie term

to make a mess of, to mismanage disas- from the late 1980s.
trously. As in the noun cock-up, the pre- cod

cod adj British

cise origin of the expression is uncertain. excellent. The word has been used in
It is common in Britain and Australia, but this sense by schoolchildren since the
not in the USA. mid-1990s.

cock-up n British code brown

a mistake, blunder or shambles. Many code brown n

different sources have been posited for an instance of faecal incontinence or
this expression; ‘cock’ may refer to some diarrhoea in medical slang, given wider
obscure piece of professional jargon (it currency by its use in the US TV series
occurs in the vocabularies of printers, ER. Sometimes extended to refer to a
hunters, brewers and others), to the moment of panic.

penis, or it may be an alteration of cack. cods n pl British

Alternatively, ‘cock’ may simply have the testicles. The singular form ‘cod’ is
been chosen as a more acceptable com- an archaic word for the scrotum; it is an
plement in a phrase synonymous with Anglo-Saxon word meaning ‘bag’ (seen
balls-up and fuck-up. in the obsolete terms pease-cod and
‘Mercifully these cock-ups don’t happen codpiece). Since the era of Middle Eng-
too often.’ lish the plural has had this meaning in
(Jeremy Paxman, Breakfast TV, Novem- British and, later, Australian usage,
ber 1988) although not in the USA.
coco1 n British

He got kicked in the cods for his efforts.

a black or coloured person. A pejorative codswalop

codswallop, cods n British

or patronising term used especially by
middle- and upper-class speakers since nonsense, worthless rubbish. A dismiss-
the 1960s. ive term, typically applied to something
purporting to be true. There is more than
‘And there were two cocos changing a one theory as to the origin of the word;
wheel in the outside lane.’ the most fanciful is that it referred to the
(Recorded, public schoolboy, London, ‘wallop’ (gassy drink) produced by Mr.
1971) ‘Codd’ (inventor of a patent ginger-beer
coco2, cocoa vb British

bottle). Alternatively, it may refer to the

almost always used in the phrase ‘I testicles (cods) as in balls.
should coco(a)!’, expressing disbelief or ‘Equal opportunities? That’s a load of old
indignation. This is London rhyming codswallop!’
slang for say so (as in ‘I should say so!’). (Recorded, office worker, London, 1986)

cocoa-shunter n British cofe -spiter

a male homosexual. One of many vulgar- coffee-spitter n

isms (fudge-nudger, etc.) playing on the a shocking action, event or piece of
notion of sodomy and faeces, this expres- information. This item of office slang,
sion was used in the TV comedy spoof reported in the London Evening Stand-
Brass Eye in March 1997. ard in March 2004, refers to something
cocnut so outrageous or upsetting that it
coconut n causes spluttering and/or expulsion of a
1. British a non-white person who collab- drink.
orates with the white establishment, an cofind-odger

‘Uncle Tom’. This expression, used by coffin-dodger n British

young Asians and blacks since the an elderly person. A sometimes humor-
1980s, refers to the idea that such peo- ous pejorative.
ple are, like the coconut, black on the ‘My four sons and their friends, all in their
outside but white on the inside. Bounty mid-twenties, refer to the likes of me, a
bar is an alternative. mere 60 year old, as “nearly-deads” and
2. one’s head. An obvious, but probably “coffin-dodgers”.’
obsolescent usage. (Reader’s letter to the Independent, 4
3. American a dollar September 1992)
Slang.fm Page 101 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

101 come on
describe a sudden withdrawal from any
cofin ali

coffin nail n
a cigarette. The jocular term pre-dates habitual activity. The phrase refers
the public concern over the effects of either to ‘goose flesh’ or to the general
smoking on health in the last three dec- pallor and consistency of cold turkey
ades. meat.
cog1 n British
to go cold turkey/go through cold turkey
a. a gear, in the jargon of motorcyclists They gave him cold turkey treatment.

and other drivers collar n, vb

Drop down a cog and rev up. (to) arrest (someone). The noun form is
b. power, acceleration a later coinage from the verb, meaning
Give it some cog. to ‘catch’, and the idiomatic expression
cog2 vb British
‘to feel someone’s collar’, meaning to
to move, go, act energetically. The word arrest them. Collar is another police jar-
also occurs in the verbs give it some cog gon term which has passed into general
and ‘get cogging’. The term, used in this use.
way, particularly in working-class ‘Forget it Friday, this is our collar.’
speech, is derived from subsense b of the (Dragnet, US film, 1987)
coln crusader

noun form. colon crusader n British


coinage n a male homosexual. In playground

money. A vogue term among younger usage since 2000, often used as a non-
speakers since 2000. specific insult.
come1 vb

cojones n pl
a. courage, ‘guts’. A word (pronounced to experience an orgasm. A Victorian
‘co-honays’) introduced to many English euphemism for a physiological fact that
speakers by Ernest Hemingway, it is the has no other name (apart from the also
Spanish slang word for balls in both the euphemistic ‘climax’) in standard Eng-
literal and metaphorical senses. lish; this use of the word in fact dates
b. the testicles. The word sometimes has back at least as far as Shakespeare and
its literal sense in American English, occurs subsequently in the (now
especially when spoken by Hispanics. archaic) form ‘come off’.
come2, cum n

She kicked him in the cojones.


coke n semen. A later derivation from the verb to

cocaine come.
come caros

‘If somebody come and sell coke on our come across vb

street we kill ’em or beat ’em up bad.’ to consent to sex, especially after initial
(13-year-old US dealer, Independent, 24 reluctance. A phrase widespread in the
July 1989) English-speaking world since the

cokehead, cokie n American 1960s, originating from the more gen-

a (habitual) user of cocaine. eral sense of come across, meaning to
See also head accede, give or agree.
come agutser

cold adj come a gutser vb Australian

1. untraceable. The opposite of hot in its a. to have an accident
criminal sense, often applied to weapons b. to commit a blunder, fail
or cars. The phrase functions similarly to the collo-
It’s OK, these guns are cold. quial ‘come a cropper’, the ‘gutser’ origi-
2. British bad. A vogue term in black nally denoting a heavy fall onto one’s
speech and club-culture usage since the stomach.

late 1990s. An intensified form is arctic. comedown n

3. good a period of physical and mental depres-

cold turkey n sion and exhaustion following a bout of

a sudden withdrawal from hard drugs, elation from drugs, specifically the
typically heroin, with the attendant hot after-effects of amphetamine use
and cold flushes, goose-pimples, dis- That stuff’s terrible – the comedown lasts
comfort, etc. The expression is origi- longer than the high.
come no

nally American, from the 1940s or come on vb

earlier, and in the late 1980s was to start to menstruate. A euphemism
increasingly used, often ironically, to used by women and men.
Slang.fm Page 102 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

come out 102

comeout cone-haed

come out vb cone-head n American

to reveal oneself as a homosexual, a. an intellectual or swot
declare one’s homosexuality. The expres- b. a stupid, socially inept person. The
sion is a shortening of ‘come out of the term is a more recent version of pointy-
closet’, dating from the period in the early head. Its latter sense, as used in adoles-
1970s when liberalisation encouraged cent speech, was adopted as the title of a
more openness among gay men and comedy film starring Dan Ackroyd in
women in their relations with each other 1993.
and the straight world. Subsequently the cones

cones n pl
term has sometimes been extended to female breasts
mean ‘to declare one’s real position’ in conk

non-sexual contexts. conk n

cometherawprwa n 1a. the nose. The generally quoted origin
come the raw prawn vb Australian for this comical word is the conch shell
to try to take advantage of or deceive (often collected as a curio since the 17th
someone. This colourful expression century), or a learned play on the Latin
probably originated in the 1940s and is concha, meaning shell in general, or a
still heard. The precise connection trumpet.
between the uncooked crustacean and ‘This face, embossed as it is with a vast
deceitfulness is not clear, but the sug- fleshy conk.’
gestion is of cadging by feigning inno- (Observer magazine, 15 May 1988)
cence or naïvety. 1b. the head. A less common use of the

come untied vb See untied word.

2. American a ‘process’ hairstyle (one

commodore n British
the sum of £15. The item of financial where the hair is straightened by the
slang is inspired by the Commodores’ hit application of chemicals and/or heat) as
single ‘Three Times a Lady’ (a Lady worn by hip young blacks from the 1930s
(Godiva) being £5 in rhyming slang). until the 1960s when it was superseded
completelycute by the racially affirmative afro styles
completely cute adj American cnokesr

suitably attractive, handsome and/or conkers n pl Scottish

sexy. An expression used by upper- and balls (in both the literal and figurative
middle-class young women to indicate slang senses). Like its contemporary syn-
approval of a potential male partner. A onym clackers, the expression borrows
code term in the preppie lexicon. the name of a children’s game.
cno ection

compo n Australian connection, connexion n

a drug supplier, a dealer or pusher. Orig-
(unemployment) compensation. A typi- inally from the language of American
cal Australian shortening. drug users of the late 1950s and 1960s,
Compare arvo the term has become part of the interna-

con1 vb, n tional jargon of illicit drug users. It partic-

(to perpetrate) a swindle or fraud, ularly refers to a source of heroin.
obtain money by false pretences. This (‘Connection’ was used ambiguously as
venerable colloquialism (regarded as the title and in the lyrics of a 1967 song
slang in the 1950s) is simply a shorten- by the Rolling Stones.)
con ipiton

ing of ‘confidence-trick’. conniption n

‘A crazy au pair girl planned to con super- a fit of irritation, agitation. The geo-
star Eric Clapton out of a fortune by graphical origin and derivation of the
claiming another couple’s baby was word is obscure (it is fairly common in
THEIR love child.’ Australian and North American speech)
(News of the World, 1988) but it is most often heard among mid-

con2 n American dle-aged speakers.

a convict or ex-convict, felon or prisoner to have/get into a conniption

content adj
conch n American attractive, pretty. The term has typically
a swot. A preppie shortening of ‘consci- been used by younger males for describ-
entious’. ing females since 2000. It is probably a

conchie n transferral of the idea of pleased from

an alternative spelling of conshie subject to (pleasing) object.
Slang.fm Page 103 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

103 cop
vogue with teenagers in the early 21st cen-

contrasexual n
a person, usually female, who prefers tury as it was among the 1930s jazz musi-
domestic comforts to sexual display or cians who probably coined it (to denote
activity. The semi-technical term from gentler, progressive jazz, as opposed to
psychology and anthropology (originally ‘hot’ jazz).
denoting someone who displays traits of cool2 n
co l

the opposite sex) was borrowed in 2004 sang-froid, imperturbability. A back-for-

for this jocular social categorisation on mation from the adjective.
the lines of metrosexual and retrosexual.
cool3 vb
co l

coo1 n

to calm down. A more fashionable

gossip, news. The term, usually in the abbreviated form of the colloquial ‘cool
form ‘What’s the coo?’, has been used in down’, heard since 2000.
London since 2000. Its origins are Just cool!
obscure, but it may be the same word as co lit

ku, or derive from the adjectival sense. It cool it, cool out vb
has also been suggested that it is to relax, unwind, defuse a situation. A
inspired by the cooing of congregating hipsters’ term which has become a com-
birds. mon colloquialism.
co n

coo2 adj American

coon n
a deliberately lazy pronunciation of cool a black person. Originally (and still) a
in the sense of relaxed, congenial, etc. term of racist abuse common in the
co chei southern states of the USA, from ‘rac-
coochie n American coon’ (a black-faced rural pest). The
a. the female sex organs word has been adopted in Britain and
b. a female or females as sex objects Australia to refer to a person of any sup-
This item of black slang is probably a posedly inferior race. In Britain it is a
shortening of hoo(t)chie-coochie, which widespread racist epithet in use by the
has denoted sexual activity since the 19th police and other working-class whites;
century. egg and spoon is the rhyming-slang ver-
co kie-puhser

cookie-pusher n American sion.

an unmanly man, an effete or sycophan- ‘There were a couple of coons shouting at
tic male (the word never seems to be each other and it’s difficult in these cir-
used of women). The image is of some- cumstances, I suppose.’
one who spends his time passing cook- (Police officer, quoted in Inside the Brit-
ies at tea parties, either because he ish Police by Simon Holdaway, 1983)
enjoys such ‘effeminate’ activities, or in
co t

coot n
order to curry favour or further his a foolish person, idiot
career. co tie

cootie n American
some little State Department cookie- a head or body louse. The word was orig-
pusher trying to persuade them all to play
ball inally armed-forces slang, from the
co king Polynesian kuty, meaning ‘parasite’.
cooking adj American ‘Here you are.
going well, moving fast, succeeding.
Originally from pre-World War II street No, not if it has cooties on it.
language, this usage spread, especially I don’t have cooties!’
via jazz musicians, to young whites. It is (Roseanne, US TV comedy series, 1989)
co ze

still often used to refer to musicians cooze n American

who are performing well and generating a. a woman. A fairly vulgar term, used
excitement. A stronger form is ‘cooking almost exclusively by men and having
with gas’. overtones of ‘sex object’, ‘victim’ or ‘slut’.
cool1 adj b. the female sex organs. The origin of the
co l

a. unflappable, imperturbable word is obscure.

cop1 n

b. excellent, admirable, acceptable

One of the key items in the vocabulary of a police officer. A shortening of copper. In
jazz musicians, hipsters, beatniks and hip- Britain, until the 1960s cop was felt to be
pies, cool, with its original suggestion of an Americanism and only in the late
calm disinterested serenity, is a word 1980s did it find its way into print, albeit
which has not dated. It is as much in in the gutter press.
Slang.fm Page 104 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

cop 104
‘Don’t cry/Gotta go bye bye/SUDDENLY: the defendant). A strategy which forms
DIE DIE/COP KILL A CREEP! pow pow the basis of plea bargaining, a peculiar-
pow.’ ity of the US legal system.
(‘Concentration Moon’ written by Frank The guy copped a goddam plea and only
Zappa, recorded by the Mothers of In- went down for three.
vention, 1967) cop of

cop off vb British

cop2 vb

to find a sexual partner, to pull someone.

to buy illicit drugs, to score. A specialisa- A term from the north of England that had
tion of the general use of ‘cop’ to mean become widespread elsewhere by the
obtain. 1990s.
‘You wanna take a walk, ‘Cop off…that beautiful moment when
You wanna go cop, you finally get some snog action…’
You wanna go get (Just Seventeen magazine, August 1996)

Some chinese rock?’ cop-out vb, n

(‘Chinese Rock’ by Dee Dee Ramone and (to be guilty of) an evasion, avoidance of
Richard Hell, recorded by the Heart- responsibility. This expression (almost
breakers, 1977) always heard in the noun form) was
American slang until the late 1970s, at

copacetic, kopasetic adj American

excellent, satisfactory, hunky dory. Used which time it suddenly gained wide-
usually of a situation or state of affairs, spread currency, even among ‘respecta-
copacetic is as likely to be said by a col- ble’ speakers in Britain. The phrase
lege professor as a New York cop. The arose in the 1960s meaning specifically
college professor might think he is using to ‘duck out’ of one’s obligations to
a newish slang term; the cop may sus- one’s peers.
cop er

pect that a word ending in -ic derives copper n

from Greek or Latin. Both would be a police officer. The word originated in
wrong. This bizarre word has rarely been Britain in the 1840s, from ‘to cop’ as a
written down, but was recorded as early humorous or racier alternative to ‘to
as 1919. Attempts have been made to catch’.
derive it from Latin, Yiddish or even cop ihs?

Amerindian roots, but its true origin is

coppish? question form American
unknown. It has not crossed the Atlantic an alternative spelling of capeesh

in its comparatively long history. copshop n British

‘What’s your sign, love?’ a police station. Currently mainly a chil-
‘Stop.’ dren’s expression.
cop osmezes

‘Well that’s copacetic.’ cop some zees vb American

(Beach Party, US film, 1981) to sleep. The phrase, which also occurs
‘You stick with me and everything will be in the form stack some zees/zeds, uses
copacetic.’ the repeated letter ‘z’ as a cartoon repre-
(The Secret of My Success, US film, sentation of snoring.

1987) corgis n pl British

copafe l

cop a feel vb American (a) ‘couple of really ghastly individuals’.

to grope (someone) sexually; succeed in Another in the series of joky acronyms
heavy petting. A (mainly male) teenag- (on the lines of yuppie, dinkie, etc.)
ers’ term from the 1950s, when this coined by professionals and the media to
might be the goal, rather than a way- epitomise special subgroups of the popu-
stage in the process of seduction. lation in the late 1980s.

I didn’t even get to cop a feel. cork up vb British

‘Then when they start gettin’ passionate, to keep quiet. A phrase briefly in vogue
start coppin a few feels.’ among adolescents in the mid-1960s,
(High-school student, IT magazine, June usually in the form of a brusque imper-
1972) ative.
copaplea corn

cop a plea vb American corn n

to plead guilty to a lesser offence than money. A variant form of the Caribbean
the one which is charged to speed up form carn which was said to have been
the judicial process (for the prosecu- the favourite word of the black British
tors) and avoid a heavier sentence (for boxer Frank Bruno in 1982.
Slang.fm Page 105 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

105 couch potato

old word ‘costermonger’ for a fruit-

corn (on the cob) n British

the penis. Rhyming slang for knob. seller.

corn-dog n American costume n See in costume


1. a swot. One of many synonyms used in cosy n British

the USA (throat, grind) and UK (Wendy, an act of sex. A Sloane Ranger euphe-
spod), principally by male school stu- mism, used by girls and perhaps reveal-
dents, to ostracise misfits. The reference ing of sexual attitudes in that milieu.
is to a bland-tasting variety of hot-dog. cot-caes

cot-case n
2. (a male with) an uncircumcised penis. an invalid or someone who has been
The expression trades on the supposed mentally and/or physically incapacitated.
resemblance to a type of hot-dog. Aard- A usually heartless and often derogatory
vark and anteater are contemporary syn- expression, used in Britain and Australia
onyms. typically by health-care personnel or rel-

cornflake n American atives. The similar term ‘stretcher-case’

an eccentric, crazy or silly person. An has become an acceptable colloquialism,
elaboration of the widespread term flake whereas basket case remains slang.
(which has the same meaning). The pun

cotch vb
is on the name of the breakfast cereal; to relax
‘corn’ is otherwise meaningless. ‘I’ve got some pot, want to cotch round

corn-hole n American mine tonight?’

a. the anus (Recorded, student, Devon, 2002)
b. a pinch or poke in the anal region. In

cotchin’ n
this sense the phrase has been recorded relaxing. A vogue term since 2000
since the early years of the 20th century. among young speakers of all ethnic
Cornsih pasteis

Cornish pasties n pl British groups.

a style of men’s shoe considered deeply

cottage n British
unfashionable or indicative of a certain a public lavatory, in the language of the
social subgroup in the 1970s and homosexuals who made contact there.
1980s (specified by Judy Rumbold, The word and the practice were more
fashion editor of the Guardian, as common in the 1950s and 1960s
‘maths teachers countrywide’). The before the liberalisation of anti-homo-
pastie was so-called because of the sup- sexual laws, but are still in evidence.
posed resemblance of the moulded- The term is also used in Australia.
soled, heavily stitched shoe to the meat cotagnig

cottaging n British
and vegetable savoury. visiting, or hanging around in, public

corpse vb British lavatories to make sexual contacts. A

1. (in acting) to be rendered unable to male homosexual’s term from the
speak or act by the onset of uncontrolla- 1950s which was still in use in the late
ble hysterical laughter, in rehearsal or 1980s.
before an audience. The word has been cotont-op

cotton-top n American
used in the theatre since the 19th cen- an old person, especially one with white
tury. hair. Frost-top and moss-back are syno-
2. to cause another actor to break down nyms.
with laughter or giggling during rehearsal cotonwo l

or performance cotton wool n British See on the cotton

These meanings are also true of perform- couchpota o

ers in operas and musicals. couch potato n American

cory a lazy, greedy person. This expression
cory, corey n British from the late 1980s describes a person
the penis. A vulgarism used particularly whose only activity is to lie in front of a
by marginals and the poorer elements of television and eat and drink. (‘Couch’ is
the working class. The word, which is an American synonym for sofa.)
from the Romany word for thorn, kori, ‘“Couch-potato”, according to Lindsey
was more widely used in the 1950s and Bareham “is American for a television ad-
1960s than today. dict”: the potato, once again, is defamed
coster dup

costered up adj British as a symbol of dull lethargy.’

solvent, wealthy. A phrase from the East (Patrick Skene Catling, Daily Telegraph,
End of London, probably based on the Christmas Book Review, 1989)
Slang.fm Page 106 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

cough 106
cowboy2 vb British
cough cowboy

cough vb British
to confess to a crime, to reluctantly give to behave or perform recklessly. The
up information. A police and under- word is now used in two main senses; to
world term influenced by the notion of drive dangerously or to perform a pro-
coughing up something stuck in the fessional task in a slapdash and/or haz-
throat. ardous way.

‘Look, many times I have known pris- cowboy job/operation n

oners who have coughed to seven or 1. an unauthorised scheme, as in, for
eight jobs when they have been given a instance, the field of espionage
quick thump.’ 2. British a badly finished or skimped
(Police officer quoted in Inside the British example of workmanship
Police, Simon Holdaway, 1983) 3. See cowboy1 a

council adj British cowboy outfit n British

inferior, of poor quality, shabby. The a firm or organisation which specialises
term, recorded since 2000, is inspired in shoddy workmanship or dubious
by council estates as a habitat of poor business practices. The punch-line of a
people. familiar joke among disgruntled busi-
nessmen is that a doting millionaire,
Those big gold hoop earrings make her when asked by his infant son for a cow-
look so council. boy outfit, buys him the company in
Compare village question.
cow coy et

cow n British coyote n American

1a. an unpleasant or obnoxious woman a person who preys on those illegally
1b. a placid, drab or humiliated woman immigrating to the USA from Mexico. The
The word is often used with real malice or, word (literally, prairie wolf) is used in
alternatively, can be said with fellow feel- Spanish to describe unscrupulous
ing by a sympathetic woman, especially in agents, mainly Mexican, who offer to help
the phrase ‘poor cow’. Cow is not a univer- wetbacks cross the border, but instead
sal term of abuse (in French for instance it rob, defraud, denounce or even kill them.
can be a term of affection). It is said that A term from the late 1970s and 1980s.

the synonym moo was used in the 1960s coz n See cuz
coz er

because cow was still considered beyond cozzer n

the pale for family TV. a police officer. An item of London
2. an unpleasant or extremely irritating working-class slang. The word might
task, experience or sensation, etc. In this have originated in the archaic market
sense the word is often used in the porters’ term ‘cozza(r)’, from the
phrase ‘a cow of a job’, etc. Hebrew chazar meaning pork or pig.
London’s first black policeman, Norwell
Compare mare Roberts, was known as ‘Nozzer the coz-

cowboy1 n zer’.
a. a reckless or irresponsible person, ‘I didn’t want to see the shit-eating grins
especially someone young, inexperi- on the cozzers’ faces.’
enced and/or wild. The term is typically (Jimmy Robinson, released prisoner,
used by older workers referring to speaking on the BBC TV programme
younger ones, or by police about a delin- Panorama, 24 February 1997)
quent loner. The term originated in the

crabs n pl
1950s, drawing comparisons with west- pubic lice, a case of pediculosis pubis.
ern film heroes or with pre-war gangsters’ The louse is popularly known as the
use of ‘cowboy job’ or the verb ‘to cowboy’ crab louse from its resemblance when
to refer to a particularly messy or violent viewed under magnification.
crime. a dose/case of crabs
b. British a bad workman. The above carck

crack n
sense of cowboy has been extended and 1. a purified, addictive form of cocaine.
popularised in colloquial language to When pellets of crack are smoked they
refer to anyone who does a shoddy job in fizz and crackle, which is probably the
order to make a quick profit. origin of the name, reinforced by the
a cowboy plumber/plasterer precedent of smack. The drug became
Slang.fm Page 107 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

107 crack on
popular in the USA in 1985, but was first often refers to an unsophisticated or big-
described in The Gourmet Cookbook, a oted white person.
Complete Guide to Cocaine, published in 2. a computer programmer who
California in 1972. breaches systems for fun or profit, in the
‘Crack – cocaine mixed with baking soda patois of cyberpunks and net-heads.
and cooked in microwave ovens – has Compare hacker
been described as the “fast food of cracker2 adj British

drugs”.’ excellent. A vogue adjectival version of

(Independent, 24 July 1989) the colloquial noun usage (denoting
2. the vagina. An obvious vulgarism, something or someone outstanding,
occasionally heard in all English-speak- admirable) which dates back to the late
ing areas. 19th century.
3. Irish and British a good time. From the crackerobx

crackerbox n American
adjective cracking and the Irish notion a. a psychiatric hospital
(sense 4). b. a crazy person
‘It’s a right crack.’ ‘I’m stuck in some private crackerbox.’
(Snooker hall manager, ITV telethon, May (Man Trouble, US film, 1993)
1988) The terms are a pun on the colloquial ad-
4. the crack Irish and British what’s going jectival sense of ‘crackers’.
on, the latest news or the current ambi- crack house

ence. This word is used all over Ireland crack house n

and in the late 1980s spread to Britain. a place where the drug crack is pre-
The all-purpose term, usually in phrases pared, sold or consumed
such as ‘what’s the crack?’ or ‘that’s the ‘In the depressed inner-city areas of Los
crack!’, seems to combine two very old, Angeles or New York, crack is frequently
popular unorthodox senses of the word: consumed in “crack houses” or “rock
to talk, gossip or boast, as in crack on, houses” – derelict buildings, often occu-
pied by squatters, where addicts can buy
and the adjective crack meaning first-
and consume the drug.’
rate, excellent. (Sunday Times, 10 September 1989)
‘This is the only place to live. I tried Aus- crack ti

tralia but I came back because I missed crack it vb British

the crack.’ to succeed in a seduction. Used by and
(Belfast resident, The Crack: a Belfast about men, this is a specific use of the
Year, Sally Belfrage, 1987) general colloquial sense of to succeed,
especially to suddenly succeed after
‘Big Alex is a minder and a fixer. In his long effort, as in ‘cracking’ a safe or a
words, he knows all the crack.’ code.
(Guardian, 12 December 1987) crackle

crackabrown crackle n British

crack a brown vb Australian money, banknotes. A word used by street
to fart. A fairly rare post-World War II traders, bookies, spivs, etc., particularly
male vulgarism. in the 1950s and 1960s. An alternative to
crinkle, similarly inspired by the sound of
crackachub y

crack a chubby vb See chubby

crisp new notes.
crack a fat vb Australian cracklnig

to have an erection. A vulgarism known crackling n British

in Britain through Barry Humphries’ an attractive female, or women in general
Adventures of Barry McKenzie. There seen as sex objects. This male expres-
are a number of mostly obsolete expres- sion was particularly popular in the
sions in Australian English using the 1950s and early 1960s, usually in the
word ‘crack’ to mean achieve or pro- phrase ‘a bit of crackling’. It derives from
duce. the idea of pork crackling being a ‘tasty
crackastfi e morsel’, perhaps reinforced by the vulgar
crack a stiffie vb British sense of crack.
to have an erection. An expression used crack no

crack on vb British
in Sloane Ranger and yuppie circles. 1. to talk incessantly, browbeat or boast.

cracker1 n American The phrase, which is now generally used

1. a white person. In black street argot by middle-class speakers, is a successor
the term, from the colour of savoury bis- to a colloquial use of crack to mean gos-
cuits, is almost invariably pejorative and sip, brag or tell tales which is at least 300
Slang.fm Page 108 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

crack wise 108

years old and survives in Scottish and In modern usage crap is generally seen as
American speech. a more moderate synonym for shit; in fact
‘He was cracking on about his job and his the word comes from Middle English
responsibilities.’ crappe, which meant scrapings, scale,
(Recorded, city financier, London, 1987) residue or chaff; this in turn came from
2a. to establish contact with a potential words existing in Old French, German and
romantic partner, seduce Dutch, distantly related to ‘crop’ and
‘crabbed’. (The fact that the flush toilet
‘You can’t crack on to that many people
here.’ was invented by a Thomas Crapper ap-
pears to be pure coincidence.)
(Away the Lads, BBC 2 TV documentary,
February 1993) 2. oppressive, petty or unpleasant behav-
iour; by extension from crap 1a and 1b.
2b. ‘crack on someone’: to flirt with, have
This idea is usually expressed in such
and/or express an infatuation with some- phrases as ‘he doesn’t take any crap
one. An item of slang in use in girls’ pub- from anyone’ or ‘she’s not going to put up
lic schools in the early 1990s. with this crap any more’.

crack wise vb crap2 vb


to make witty or cheeky remarks. A to defecate, shit. The verb form, which
back-formation from the noun and verb began to be used in the late 18th century,
‘wisecrack’. is derived from the earlier noun crap,
carfty ubtchre

crafty butcher n British which originally meant rubbish, rather

a male homosexual. The pejorative than excrement.

expression is inspired by the notion that crap-ass adj

‘he takes his meat in through the back very bad. An intensified form of crap,
door’. The term was posted on the b3ta using the American ass as a combining
website in 2004. form. The term was in use among British

crank n speakers in 2003.


1. the penis. A rare usage, mainly heard crap on vb British

in the USA among sailors, truckers, to nag, harangue or talk incessantly. A
‘hard-hats’ and others in the 1960s and near synonym for the verb to bang on,
1970s. with the added suggestion that the con-
2. speed (methedrine or amphetamine), tent of the monologue or harangue in
heroin. A drug users’ term from the late question is worthless or frivolous.
1960s which could also be used to refer ‘The only moments of light relief we get
to any drug which ‘cranks up’ or re-stim- are when you come in and we crap on
ulates a person’s system. about anything we like.’
3. American an irritable, bad-tempered (Recorded, London University student,
person. The slang noun is derived from July 1988)
crap er

the colloquial adjective ‘cranky’ (itself crapper, the crapper n

from the Scottish dialect word for bent or a toilet. This vulgarism appears to derive
distorted). from crap and not from the name of Tho-

cranking, cranked adj mas Crapper, a Victorian manufacturer of

exciting, stimulating, powerful. The lavatories who is claimed to be the inven-
words come from the image of cranking tor of the flush toilet.
crap y

up an engine and, by extension, the col- crappy, crappo adj

loquial ‘cranking up the volume’. worthless, contemptible, of very low qual-
ity. From crap. Crappo is a more recent
crank up vb variant.
to inject (a dangerous drug). A junkies’
crash1 vb

term from the early 1970s derived from

the image of inserting a handle into an 1. to go to sleep, lie down and lose con-
engine to jerk it back into life. sciousness. This word was very popular
crank up some smack in the hippy era, perhaps because the
suggestion of sudden collapse coincided
They’re going to crank up.
with drug-induced sleep or simply curling
crap1 n up on a floor exhausted. Crash sounded
1a. excrement, shit rather dated by the late 1990s; it origi-
1b. dirt, rubbish nated in armed-services slang in World
1c. worthless nonsense, bullshit War II, probably among airmen, and was
Slang.fm Page 109 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

109 creep out

adopted by bohemian travellers and semen or sexual lubricant for at least a
beatniks during the 1950s. century. Cream one’s jeans dates from
2. to gatecrash. A word made especially the late 1960s.
popular by the teenage custom (from the creamc-rcakerd

cream-crackered adj British

1960s onward) of arriving uninvited at knackered; exhausted, worn out. A
parties. humorous rhyming-slang version of the
3. British to cadge, borrow or lend. In use more common word. It was probably
among working-class speakers and coined in the 1970s, inspired by the
members of the armed services in the savoury dry biscuits called ‘cream crack-
1950s, this term became popular among ers’.
adolescents in the 1990s. It is heard par- crease

ticularly in the Scottish Lowlands and the crease n British

north of England. the anus, buttocks, the female genital
Can you crash me a tenner? area. The vulgarism, in use especially in
I just wanted to crash a couple of biffs. the northwest of England, is often heard
in phrases such as ‘a kick up the
crash2 adj

excellent, attractive, exciting. In this creasign

sense, fashionable since 2000, the word creasing, creasing up adj British
may be a shortening of crash-hot or an overcome by laughter. The terms have
unrelated coinage. become fashionable, especially in black

crash and burn vb speech, since 2000.

to fail spectacularly. A military meta- ‘You tell me it’s OK for whites to imitate
phor which became an item of journal- black culture? I’m creasin’.’
ese in the early 1990s. (Recorded, black female, London, March
crasher n British creatuer-efatures

a (crashing) bore. An upper- and, more creature-features n

recently, middle-class term. It has a mild term of abuse among schoolchil-
existed in limited circulation since the dren. It may originate in ‘creature-fea-
1950s and has been fashionable among ture’, a show-business jargon term for a
Sloane Rangers, yuppies, etc. horror film of the 1950s.
cras-h ot creatuers

crash-hot adj Australian creatures, the creatures n pl British

excellent, first-rate. This fairly popular prison warders. A prisoners’ term con-
expression is probably a euphemism for veying more bitterness than the more
shit-hot. usual screws.

crashpad n

cred adj, n British

a place to sleep (temporarily). This term, (having) ‘street credibility’. A 1980s
combining crash, meaning to sleep, and adolescent vogue term inspired by the
pad, meaning a home or shelter, was earlier cliché.
popularised by the hippies; it usually crep

referred to a communal building where creep vb

sleeping space was available to travellers. 1. American to attempt to seduce, make
craetrf-aec unwelcome sexual advances (towards)
crater-face n 2. to cheat on a man
a person suffering from facial acne or
spots. ‘Pizza-face’ is a synonym, simi- An expression used on campus in the USA
larly used by or of adolescents. since around 2000.

cream1 n South African


creeping Jesus n
an attractive young female. Recorded as an unpleasantly insincere, untrustworthy
an item of Sowetan slang in the Cape or complaining person; a creep, sneak or
Sunday Times, 29 January 1995. whinger. This strange expression of dis-
cream2, cream one’s jeans vb
taste is mainly heard among middle-class
to have an orgasm or to become sexually speakers in Britain and Australia; it
excited (while dressed). The vulgarism dates, according to the Oxford English
can be used of either sex (and now, by Dictionary, at least to 1818.
crep out

extension, can even sometimes mean to creep (someone) out vb

become over-excited or over-enthusias- to disgust, disquiet someone. Formed
tic without the sexual connotation). from the colloquial ‘creepy’, the phrase
Cream has been a euphemism for is popular among younger teenagers.
Slang.fm Page 110 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

creepshow 110
‘I don’t care: he creeps me out, plus he This extended sense of the term has been
smells gross…’ heard since the end of the 1990s.
(The X-Files, US TV series, 1996) crim1 n

cre pshow

creepshow adj a criminal. A term heard increasingly

frightening, grotesque or merely from the late 1980s; it is probably orig-
unpleasant. An American teenagers’ inally an Australian usage.
word, from the title of a horror film crim2, crimble, crimbo n British

released in 1982. The adjective is an Christmas. These are adults’ nursery

elaboration of ‘creepy’ and the earlier words (probably originally from Liver-
term ‘creepsville’, and has been heard pool) which were popularised, particu-
among British teenagers since the late larly by radio disc jockeys, in the
1980s. 1970s.
a creepshow party ‘Stevie’s determined to have a well wacky
her creepshow boyfriend Crimble do – even by his standards.’

cremated adj British (Just Seventeen magazine, December

ruined, destroyed, defeated, trounced. A 1987)
coinage of the 1980s combining the cringe

cringe (someone) vb British

notions of ‘killed’ and burned. The term to embarrass, discomfit or excruciate. A
was briefly in vogue among yuppies. mainly middle-class usage of the late
‘If the market moves in a big way we’ll get 1980s.
cremated.’ ‘Would it cringe you too much if I used
(Serious Money, Caryl Churchill, 1987) my [cell-]phone here?’

creps n pl British (Recorded, yuppie to companion in op-

trainers, sports shoes. Heard in London era-house bar, London, June 1988)
since 2000, the word may derive from crinkle

crinkle n British
‘creep’ or, conceivably, from ‘crêpe(- banknotes, money. This term was used
soles)’. by bookies, spivs, etc. in the 1950s and

cretin n British is now probably obsolete. Crackle was a

someone who is craving a drug or drugs. synonym.
A term used by young street-gang mem- I need some crinkle in a hurry.
bers in London since around 2000.

crinkly n British
crew1 n

1. an elderly person or adult. A young

a. British a gang. A word used since the person’s dismissive (or sometimes
1960s by street gangs, especially skin- grudgingly affectionate) term. It forms
heads and football hooligans, to refer to part of the group of post-1970 vogue
themselves. It was a synonym for a band terms which includes dusty, crumbly and
(of ruffians) 300 years earlier. wrinklie.
b. American a group of young people. 2. a banknote, especially formerly a £1
Unlike the British sense which implies banknote. The term was used by Sloane
violence, this 1980s usage usually Rangers in the late 1970s.

referred to hip hop artists, break dancers crippled adj

or scratch musicians. drunk. An item of student slang in use
crew2 vb American
in London and elsewhere since around
to belong to a gang or social group. An 2000.

item of black street slang of the 1990s, cris, criss, crissed, crisp adj
the verb is formed from the earlier noun 1. excellent, attractive
usage. That dress is so cris.

crib n 2. suffering from a hangover or exhaus-

a. American a home, flat or accommoda- tion
tion. A common term in black street I woke up feeling really criss.
slang sometimes adopted, usually face- In both senses the words have been in
tiously, by white adolescents. vogue since around 2000.

I’m going crib. crispy adj American

b. a room in a student hostel 1a. suffering from a hangover. A teenage
c. American a person from the same and adolescent vogue word of 1988. Its
home-town provenance is uncertain; it may evoke
He’s my crib. the notion of ‘brittle’ or ‘fragile’.
Slang.fm Page 111 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

111 crubbing
1b. unpleasant, inferior. The generalised tainers for whiskey. Alternatively, the der-
term, in use among American adoles- ivation may be the same as that of the
cents in the 1990s, seems to postdate following sense.
the more specific sense above. 2. American angry. This use of the word
2. smart, neat is connected with an archaic or dialect
cris k-ros

criss-kross n use of ‘crock’ and ‘crook’ to mean an old,

a foolish and/or obnoxious person. A infirm, cantankerous and complaining
term used by young street-gang mem- person.
bers in London since around 2000. 3. British broken or injured, used partic-
crit re

critter n Canadian ularly of sportsmen incapacitated

an unattractive, unsophisticated male. through injury. From the standard Eng-
The usage, recorded in 2004, employs lish sense of crock as a potsherd, or from
the North American dialect pronuncia- a dialect term for a decrepit animal.

tion of ‘creature’. croggie n British


croak vb a ride on the crossbar or handlebars of

1. to die. An unsentimental term presum- another rider’s bicycle. An item of
ably derived from the choking death rat- schoolchildren’s slang recorded in
tle or rasping dying words. The usage 2003.
dates from the 19th century. Come on, give us a croggie home will
He croaked before he could tell us any- you?

thing useful. cron(z) n American

2. to kill. An American gangster and a gun. The term, which usually refers to
prison term. a handgun, originated in black street
The guy threatened to croak his business argot in the 1990s. Its derivation is
partner. obscure.

croaker n British cronk

cronk n, adj American

a doctor who prescribes for addicts. A
drug addicts’ and prisoners’ term in use (something) excellent, powerful. In use
since the 1960s, although the notion of since 2000, the word may be an altera-
the death-dealing doctor thus expressed tion of chronic, as applied, e.g., to high-
goes back to the 19th century. grade marihuana. It might alternatively
croc be related to crunk, but that seems to be
croc(k) n British a more recent coinage.
a stupid and/or irritating person. The crok

word occurred in the speech of London crook adj Australian

schoolchildren in the early 1990s. Its unwell, unhealthy, wrong, dubious. A
exact etymology is uncertain, although common term in Australia, crook is
in early 19th-century dialect the word either an alteration of the archaic slang
denoted a worthless or worn-out animal term ‘cronk’ (from the German and Yid-
and it was later used in public-school dish krank) meaning ill, or of crooked,
slang to refer to a weak or unsporting meaning bent out of shape. By 1988,
fellow pupil. due to the influence of Australian soap
operas, the word could be used in a
crock, crock of shit n American British newspaper or magazine,
nonsense, something worthless and although it has not as yet penetrated
unpleasant. ‘It’s a crock!’ is an expres- British speech.
sion (inoffensive enough to be used on crovey

TV) which was employed in the 1970s crovey adj British

and 1980s to dismiss, deride or reject excellent. A term of unknown origin in
something such as false information. In use among teenagers since the late
North America the word crock, for con- 1990s. It could conceivably be a defor-
tainer, is not archaic as it is in Britain mation of groovy.
and Australia. Crodyon facelift

Croydon facelift n British


crocked adj a tightly scraped-back hairstyle such as

1. American drunk. A word used, e.g., by a ponytail or bun.
college students, in the 1980s. It proba- See also chav
bly comes from the old use of ‘crocks’ as crubing

containers for pickling or preserving in crubbing n

alcohol or, particularly in Canada, as con- a less common synonym for grinding
Slang.fm Page 112 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

crucial 112
nursing staff to refer contemptuously to

crucial adj British

a Jamaican code word from the radical their elderly patients.

self-dramatising slang of rude boys and crumbly, crumblie n British

reggae devotees, crucial became a vogue a. an old person. In spite of the sugges-
term of appreciation in London around tion of crumbling or falling apart, the term
1979, first among black youth and later is only mildly contemptuous and may
their white imitators. Lenny Henry, the even be used affectionately. Coinciden-
black comedian, brought the word to a tally, the 1960s French slang term for old
wider audience by including it in the or ‘past it’ was croulant, meaning crum-
scripts of his television series, in the bling.
mouth of the character ‘Delbert Wilkins’. ‘Senior citizens, inevitably, watch 37

crud n hours a week. “Audiences are getting

a. anything filthy, disgusting or worthless, crumbly”, says Street-Porter in media-
including excrement, any encrusted or speak.’
coagulated substance and (in American (Independent, 23 March 1988)
English) the effects of skin infection. b. a parent or adult. Used by children and
Crud is from the Middle English crudde, teenagers since the mid-1970s. A fairly
a dialect word related to the standard inoffensive middle- and upper-class word
English ‘curd’. favoured by Sloane Rangers among oth-
b. a worthless, despicable person (usu- ers.
ally male). A word used widely in the See also wrinkly; crinkly; dusty
1960s, in place of taboo synonyms such crumb-snatchre

as turd. crumb-snatcher n
crud y a baby or small child. Like ankle-biter,
cruddy adj rug rat, etc., the phrase can be used
unpleasant, inferior, worthless. A word affectionately and/or ruefully.
in vogue in the mid-1960s. It is now crum y

heard mainly among schoolchildren. crummy, crumby adj

cruel dilapidated, dirty, worthless. By the
cruel vb Australian mid-19th century this word was in use
to spoil, frustrate, defeat. This use of in Britain as a literal and figurative syn-
the word often occurs in the phrase ‘to onym for ‘lousy’, apparently due to the
cruel it’ meaning to ruin or jeopardise resemblance of body lice to crumbs.
an enterprise. The word (usually spelled with double

cruise vb ‘m’) has remained in widespread use in

a. (used intransitively) to move around in Britain and the USA.
search of a sexual partner. The word was crump

crump British
first used by prostitutes seeking clients 1. n, adj (something) unpleasant, of poor
then, in the 1960s, by gays, and subse- quality, disappointing. A vogue term
quently in the 1970s by heterosexuals, among teenagers in 2005, it may be a
especially those frequenting singles bars. variant of crumby or ironically of cronk.
b. (used transitively) to actively try to 2. n sex, a sex act. In use among UK
attract a particular potential sexual part- teenagers since 2000, the word might
ner. The overtones of cruising a person derive from the slang sense of crumpet,
are a discreet display of oneself with imitate the sound of pounding, or be an
some unmistakable hints or ‘come-ons’. arbitrary formation.

crumb (it) vb American crumpet

crumpet n British
to ruin, mess up. From ‘crumble’ in its a woman, or women viewed collectively
standard sense, reinforced by the notion as sex objects. ‘Crumpet’ or ‘a bit of
of acting like a ‘crumb’ (the obsolescent crumpet’ date from the last decade of the
noun form denoting a worthless person) 19th century and conform to a much
and by crummy. older pattern of likening women to cakes
‘You crumbed the play.’ (e.g. tart), delicacies (e.g. crackling), etc.
(House of Games, US film, David Mamet, The terms ‘crumpet’ or ‘a bit of crumpet’
1987) are now likely to offend most women

crumble n British although both are still widespread,

a generic term for old or senile people. mainly in working-class usage. Women
Used since the 1980s in the expression are now beginning to use the terms to
‘a bit of crumble’ for instance, or by refer to males.
Slang.fm Page 113 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

113 cunt
‘I don’t think we should condemn a the city Jane Austen knew than anything
doctor simply because he made a wrong else the tourist is likely to see.’
diagnosis of what is, or is not, crumpet.’ (Reader’s letter to the Independent, No-
(Carry on Again, Doctor, British comedy vember 1991)
film, 1969) crut

crut n

crunchie n American dirt, distasteful material or unpleasant-

a lesbian, particularly a lesbian with aus- ness in general. A version of crud (nor-
tere habits and ‘utopian’ views. mally felt to be less offensive than that
‘Crunchies’ were one faction of lesbians word).
at Yale University in the late 1980s, the cructhnig

crutching, crotching (it) n British

other being so-called lipsticks. smuggling illicit substances (tobacco,

crunk adj American drugs, etc.) in bodily crevices. An item

1a. enjoyable, fun, spirited of prison slang recorded in the 1990s.
‘…we the type of people make the club crutes

cruttess n, adj
get crunk…’ (someone who is) ugly, repellent. One of
(From Rosa Parks, single by US band a number of synonyms (including the
Outkast, 1998) adjectives off-key and bungled) in use
1b. popular among gang members, hip hop aficiona-
1c. a variant spelling of cronk dos, etc. in the UK since 2000.
2. intoxicated by drink or drugs cryRuth/Hughie/Rlaph

cry Ruth/Hughie/Ralph vb
The term, in all its senses, has been in to vomit. All these humorous equiva-
vogue since the late 1990s. It may origi- lents attempt to imitate the sound of
nate as a blend of crazy and drunk. hearty or sudden retching. They have

crush vb been popular, particularly with stu-

1. American to eat dents, all over the English-speaking
Man, she crushed that whole pizza in, world since the 1960s.
like, 30 seconds. crsytal

crystal n
2. American to have sex (with) an amphetamine, or cocaine. An item of
3. British to disturb, annoy drug users’ jargon.
Quit crushing me, bro’. cube

cube n
All usages date from around 2000. an extremely square person. A derogatory

crusher n British hipsters’ and beatnik term last heard in

a boring, tedious person; a ‘crushing’ the early 1960s.
bore. An alternative to crasher, typically cubehead

cubehead n American
used by middle- and upper-class speak- a user of the hallucinogenic drug LSD
ers since the 1980s. (lysergic acid diethylamide). A term

crust n British used in the mid-1960s, when LSD was

(one’s) head. This London working-class frequently taken orally on sugar cubes.
usage is almost always heard in the forms cubiclemonkey

cubicle monkey n American

off one’s crust or do one’s crust. a desk-bound office worker or IT spe-

crustie n British cialist. A derisive term used both by the

a homeless person and/or beggar, espe- victims of workplace tedium and hap-
cially a member of a militant subculture pily peripatetic colleagues.
of importunate vagrants of the early cum

cum n, vb See come1

1990s, centred on the English West cumulonimbus

Country, who practised deliberate self- cumulonimbus n British

degradation and embraced personal cunnilingus. A usage recorded by Viz
filthiness (hence the name, from the comic’s Profanisaurus in 2001.

encrustations on bodies and clothing). cunt n

Other names for members of the same 1a. the vagina. This taboo word has
subculture were fraggles, hedgers, ancient origins; related words exist in
scrotes, smellies, soap-dodgers and other European languages (French con,
cider-punks. Spanish coño, etc.) and it seems that, in
‘The Crusties of Bath are, with their coun- the unwritten prehistoric Indo-European
terparts at the other end of the social parent languages, cu or koo was a word
spectrum, the smooth lawyers and base expressing ‘feminine’ or ‘fecund’
medics, considerably more redolent of and associated notions.
Slang.fm Page 114 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

cunted 114
1b. a woman or women in general. An
cur -yquen

curry-queen n
extension of the above sense which is a gay male who is attracted to South
probably most commonly heard in the Asian partners.
Compare rice-queen
2. a very unpleasant person. As well as curse

being the most ‘obscene’ of the common curse, the curse n

set of sexually related taboo words, ‘cunt’ menstruation, a monthly period. This is
is also used to indicate extreme distaste the standard term used by schoolgirls
or dislike. This usage, which is more and women; its probable origin is in
noticeable in British and Australian Eng- Genesis, in which Eve is ‘cursed’ by God
lish than American, is presumably who promises to ‘multiply thy sorrow
inspired by deep-seated fear and loath- and thy conception: in sorrow thou shalt
ing of women’s sexuality, although in bring forth children’. The ‘curse of Eve’
practice the word is usually applied to thus became a euphemism for the most
men. troublesome aspect of femininity.
From Anglo-Saxon times until the 14th I’ve got the curse, I’m afraid.
century the word was in standard use, but

cushdy, cushti, kushti adj British

was then replaced by euphemisms in all fine, wonderful. An all-purpose term of
but rural dialect speech. Most dictionaries approbation or agreement. This work-
refused to acknowledge the word until the ing-class term (recently brought to a
1960s and it is probably the only word that wider audience by the television com-
is still banned from most British newspa- edy Only Fools and Horses) is related to
pers and television. ‘cushy’, the colloquial term for easy or

cunted adj British comfortable. Both words derive ulti-

a. exhausted mately from an archaic Persian word
b. intoxicated by alcohol or drugs khosh, meaning ‘pleasant’, either via
the Hindustani khush, or the Romany
‘I went to a bop last night and got totally kushto, or both.
cunted.’ cus of

(Recorded, female university student, cuss (someone) off vb

London, 2000) to criticise, denigrate someone. The
A term which, although forceful, has no phrase is in black usage in Britain and
sexual or taboo connotations. Used by the USA and may have originated in
speakers of both sexes. Twatted is a con- Caribbean speech.

temporary synonym. custard n British

a very unpleasant person. The play-

cupcake n American
1. a cute or attractive woman. A deliber- ground term of abuse, in use since 2000,
ately humorous or (consciously or uncon- is a blend of cunt and bastard.

sciously) patronising male term of cut1 vb

endearment. ‘Cupcakes’ are small, usu- to dilute or adulterate (illicit drugs),
ally iced, buns. usually with the intention of increasing
2. an eccentric person weight and hence profit

curling n British The coke was cut with lactose.


drinking alcohol, especially beer. The cut2 adj

expression is a synonym for bend(ing) the circumcised
elbow, heard in the Midlands and north ‘Everyone knows what cut and uncut
of England. means.’

currant bun n British (Male prostitute, Channel 4 documentary

1a. the sun Hookers, Hustlers, Pimps and their
1b. a son Johns, October 1994)
cuta iltle lsakc

Both rhyming-slang uses have been in ev- cut (someone) a little slack vb American
idence in London working-class use since to relax regulations, to make allowances
at least the 1940s. for or give room to move. The image is
2. a nun. A rare item of rhyming slang of tailoring something for relatively
heard occasionally from at least the unrestricted ease of movement.
1950s. Come on, cut me a little slack will you?
Slang.fm Page 115 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

115 cyberpunk
cuta urg cuz er

cut a rug vb cuzzer n British

to dance. A lighthearted expression a curry meal. The standard word has
which was fashionable in the jitterbug era been modified with the suffix indicating
and in the post-war language of rock and familiarity and/or affection.
jive. It still survives in jocular use.

c-word, the n British


cute adj See completely cute cyberpunk


cut it vb cyberpunk n
to succeed, manage. A shortened form an enthusiast for information technology,
of ‘cut the mustard’ or ‘cut some ice’. a net-head. The term arose in the 1980s
to describe young fans of the science-fic-
‘Her experience among women rappers tion writer William Gibson, who combined
trying to cut it in the macho world of hip
hop led Charlotte to look again at the girl
a fascination for computing and youth
groups from the Seventies she’d always culture with a supposedly punk attitude.
loved.’ In the later 1990s the word usually
(Ms London magazine, 4 September referred to a nonconformist user of the
cuz ‘Just launched, Cyberseed describes it-
cuz n American self as Britain’s first Cyberpunk event,
a term of address (derived from which will, it is hoped, one Friday every
‘cousin’) for a stranger or friend. An month, present a vision where man,
expression used on campus in the USA music and machine contrive to be one.’
since around 2000. (Sunday Times, 12 December 1993)
Slang.fm Page 116 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

British teddy boys and beatniks, it was

D, d n
1. dope, illicit drugs. The predictable often a teasing or mocking form of
abbreviation was typically used by British address.

cannabis smokers in the early and mid- daddy n British

1970s. 1. a dominant inmate among prisoners
Hey, man, got any d? 2. an older and/or dominant male homo-
2. Australian a detective. This abbrevia- sexual in a relationship, group or institu-
tion dates from the 19th century and is tion
now almost archaic. It has metamor- daf y

daffy adj
phosed into demon. silly, eccentric. The rather dated collo-

D.A. n British quialism was revived by adolescents

1. a hairstyle in which the hair is scraped from the later 1990s. Its ultimate origin
back and greased into a curl on the nape is the Middle English daffe, meaning a
of the neck. It is an abbreviation of duck’s ‘fool’.
arse. The style was popular among teddy dag

dag n Australian
boys in the 1950s and, to a lesser extent, 1. (a piece of dried) sheep dung. This
with the rockers of the early 1960s. sense of the word dates from the 16th
2. drug addict. An abbreviation used, century, but has become archaic in Brit-
generally facetiously, by drug users ain. It usually refers to the dried flakes
themselves in the mid- and late 1960s. adhering to tail wool.

da bomb n, adj See bomb 2. a stupid or unpleasant person, by


dabs n pl British extension from the first sense. By the late

1. fingerprints. The term has been used 1980s ‘dag’ had become a fairly mild all-
by police officers, criminals and crime purpose insult or description, freely used
writers since the 1930s at least. It derives for instance in television soap operas
from the fingerprinting process in which such as Neighbours.
dag a

the suspect presses his or her fingers on dagga n South African

an ink pad. cannabis, marihuana. This is the most
We managed to lift some dabs from the common term for these drugs in South
wine glasses. Africa and it derives from local African
2. money, pounds. The term is usually, languages. It is occasionally heard else-
but not invariably, heard in the plural where among drug users.
form, especially in the north of England. dag y

daggy adj Australian

Dad eis,the

Daddies, the n pl British stupid, unpleasant. From the noun dag.

a group of respected or prestigious A brusque but fairly mild expression of
males, the ‘in-crowd’. From army and distaste (deemed suitable for inclusion in
Officer Training Corps usage. the scripts of TV soap operas, for
dad oi

daddio, daddy-o n instance).


a man, usually one who is old. A variant dago n

of ‘Dad’ and ‘Daddy’, used as a term of a. a person of Hispanic origin (Spanish or
address. It originated in the jive talk of Latin American). This derogatory mean-
black jazz musicians in the 1940s, and ing is probably the original sense of the
was adopted by the beatniks of the word in that it derives from the Hispanic
1950s. The word implied a degree of proper name ‘Diego’ (James). The word
respect or affection, usually for someone usually has this sense when used by Brit-
older or in authority. In later use, e.g. by ish speakers.
Slang.fm Page 117 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

117 Danny
b. an Italian. This has become the most

damp adj
common American sense of the word. 1. British a middle-class synonym for wet
‘Dago’ is sometimes used as an indis- in the sense of ineffectual or feeble
criminate insult to persons, usually male, I always found Jenny’s husband a bit
of Mediterranean origin. damp.

dainties n pl 2. (of a woman) sexually aroused

(women’s) panties, knickers. A jokily ‘On the Jonathan Ross show one night I
coy euphemism heard in both America saw a female comic asked how she
and Australia from the mid-1970s. viewed the prospect of the next guest, a
renowned male hunk. “I’m damp”, she
dairybelle n South African replied, and went on to repeat the asser-
an attractive woman, especially one tion a few times. “Damp. Yes, I’m really
with large breasts. The term is an adop- damp”. There was no joke as such, no
tion of the brand name of milk and turn or twist or wit, just a blank descrip-
cheese products. tion.’

daisy n (Sebastian Faulks, Independent maga-

a male homosexual or an effeminate zine, 28 October 1989)
d adn d

man. The word in this sense is not com- d and d adj

mon, but occurs occasionally in British, drunk and disorderly. The phrase in full
American and Australian usage. is police or judicial jargon; the abbrevi-
ation is a euphemism used by police

daisy chain n
a group of people taking part in ‘serial’ officers in the USA and, in Britain, face-
sexual activity; cunnilingus, fellatio, tiously by drinkers.
penetration, etc. in series Terry was completely d and d again last
daks night.
daks n pl dang

trousers. From the trademark name of a dang n American

brand of casual trousers sold since the 1. the penis. A rare variant of dong.
1930s in Britain and Australia. The 2. a euphemism for ‘damn’

word’s popularity was boosted by its use dangleberries n pl

in the Barry McKenzie cartoon series in a variation of dingleberries
Private Eye magazine, usually in the

dangler n
phrase drop one’s daks. 1. the penis. A nursery euphemism also
used facetiously among adults.

damage n British
an attractive female or females in gen- 2. Australian a flasher, a male sexual
eral. A male usage recorded in 2004. exhibitionist
Biffage is a synonym. 3. British a trailer, when attached to a
major damage truck or tractor
Check out the damage. 4. American a trapeze artist

dame n danglers n pl
a woman. An Americanism usually iden- the testicles. An old and predictable
tified with the criminal, musical, etc. euphemism heard, e.g., in British pub-
milieus of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. lic schools and the armed forces.
dank1 adj American

The usage obviously derives from the

original British 13th-century title of excellent. This sense of the word may
‘Dame’ (itself from the Latin domina, via be influenced by its use as a nickname
Old French), which quickly became a for potent marihuana.
synonym for a woman in dialect and rural dank2 n American

speech. Like doll, broad and, to some (high-grade) marihuana. So called

extent, chick, the term now sounds because of its dark colour and moist,
dated. sticky consistency.
damnskpi y! Dan y

damn skippy! exclamation American Danny (La Rue) n British

a strong expression of agreement. It is a a clue, invariably as part of a phrase in
more recent version of colloquial utterances such as ‘Don’t ask me, I
phrases such as ‘darn tootin’ (right)’ or haven’t got a Danny La Rue’. The rhym-
‘damn straight’. ing slang uses the name of the female-
‘Did you nail that cute co-ed?’ ‘Damn impersonating UK variety star. Scooby(-
skippy!’ doo) is a synonym.
Slang.fm Page 118 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

da nuts 118
in this way the term is part of the slang

da nuts n, adj
the best or the greatest, excellent. The code heard among London teenagers
phrase, poular since around 2000, is a since the 1990s. It probably originated in
euphemism for the dog’s bollocks. the black Caribbean community,
That man is da nuts. although the same word was employed to
dap mean stupid or obtuse in 17th-century
dap adj American English slang.
elegant, smart, fashionable. The term,
heard in black and campus speech, is a ‘I didn’t like it that he was actin’ dark.’
shortening of ‘dapper’. (Recorded, North London schoolboy,
dapd-ap 1993)
dap-dap n, adj American 2. stylish, impressive. This sense of the
(an individual considered) attractive, well word derives from its use to describe
dressed, fashionable. An elaboration of ‘moody, deep’ drum ’n’ bass music in the
dap favoured by younger teenagers in later 1990s.
California and featured in the 1996 US Daren

film Clueless. Darren n British

dap re

dapper n British an uncouth, unfashionable and/or unfor-

a stylish, successful or dominant male. tunate male. A synonym, in use since
The noun form of the standard adjective around 2000, for the earlier Kevin and
has existed in London street slang since Wayne and the contemporary Trev, play-
2000, probably originating in black ing, like the female Sharon, on the sup-
usage. posedly negative social connotations of
dap y some common first names.
dappy n, adj British dash

(a person who is) silly, clumsy, eccen- dash1 n

tric. This blend of dippy and daffy was money, a bribe or tip. The term is from
in use among schoolchildren and teen- West Africa, where it derives from
age speakers in the early 1990s. dashee, a local African dialect term. It
daps may be the origin of the more common
daps n pl British dosh.
tennis shoes, plimsolls. The word may dash

echo the sound of light footfalls or dash2 vb British

derive from an archaic dialect verb to throw away. A usage recorded among
meaning to ‘dart’ or ‘pad’. ‘Daps’ was a young Londoners in 2004.

particularly popular term among teen- date n

agers and schoolchildren in Wales and 1. Australian the anus. Presumably by
the Southwest in the 1960s. association with the colour of the fruit, or
darb1 vb British

just possibly from the archaic British

to have sex. In this sense the word was rhyming slang ‘date and plum’ meaning
recorded among London schoolgirls in bum.
1993. Its origins are unknown and it 2. British a stupid, silly or weak person.
seems not to be related to the identical This rare usage (probably by association
American noun. with the texture of an over-ripe date) is
darb2 n, adj American
now nearly obsolete, but was heard until
(someone or something) excellent or the 1960s, especially in the phrases ‘you
admirable. The word seems to have soft date’ and ‘you soppy date’. Such
originated in the 1920s and is said to phrases now survive only in nursery lan-
derive from Ruby ‘Darby’, the name of a guage.
popular showgirl. 3. a prostitute’s assignation with a client.
An item of police slang recorded by the
dare adj British London Evening Standard magazine,
good, fantastic. A vogue term in use February 1993.
among teenage gang members. The daterol

term, sometimes in the form of an date roll n Australian

exclamation of approval, was recorded a toilet roll. Derived from date 1.
in use among North London schoolboys Daivd

David n British
in 1993 and 1994. semen. This 1996 term from the lan-

dark adj guage of adolescents puns on the sur-

1. British behaving harshly, unfairly or name of the sports hero and Arsenal and
unpleasantly (to another person). Used England goalkeeper, David Seaman.
Slang.fm Page 119 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

119 dead presidents

Daivd deadhead

David (Gower) n British deadhead1 n

a shower. An instance of educated 1. a very stupid, lifeless or boring person.
rhyming slang which borrows the name An obvious derivation of its component
of the cricketer, heard among university parts, this phrase is reinforced by its
students from the 1990s. 19th-century American meaning of non-

David (Mellor) n British paying passengers or non-participants

(a drink of) Stella Artois lager, playing on (from a ‘dead head’ of cattle).
the name of the notorious Tory politician ‘This is a stoners’ western for crystal-dan-
turned journalist. Nelson (Mandela), Paul gling deadheads.’
(Weller) and Uri (Geller) are synonyms, (Evening Standard film review, 22 July
all popular with students since the late 2004)
1990s. 2. Australian an idle person, a good-for-
Dayv Crocket

Davy Crockett n British nothing

pocket. A piece of rhyming slang inspired 3. a fan or devotee of the San Francisco
by the cult film about the American pio- rock group The Grateful Dead, who were
neer for which there was a craze in 1956. popular in the late 1960s and early
Sky rocket and Lucy Locket are syno- 1970s, and enjoyed a revival in the
nyms. 1980s

dawg, dog n American deadhead

deadhead2 vb American
a friend. This term of affection, originat- (of a vehicle) to run or drive empty or
ing in southern speech, became one of without passengers. This meaning, a
the most widespread slang vogue words relic of 19th-century cattle drives, is
in US usage from around 2000. now rarely heard.

daylighting n See also deadhead1 1

working (usually illicitly) at a second job deadelg

during daylight hours. An obvious deri- deadleg1 n British

vation from the colloquial ‘moonlight- 1. a feeble, lazy or disappointing person.
ing’. This word has been used from the 1950s

deacon n British and may derive from an earlier armed-

a stupid person, Benny, spack. Allegedly forces term ‘deadlegs’, meaning a cripple
from ‘Joey Deacon’, an elderly cerebral or someone who refuses to rise from bed.
palsy victim featured on TV in the early ‘The usual crowd of airheads, phonies,
1980s. The term is used by schoolchil- deadlegs, posers, bimbos, wallies, wan-
dren. nabees, hangers-on and gatecrashers.’
(Christena Appleyard, Daily Mirror, 11
deadass n, adj American May 1989)
(a person who is) very boring, feeble or
very stupid 2. a numb feeling in the leg following a
He’s a real deadass. kneeing in the thigh by an attacker

dead bang
What a deadass town. deadleg2 vb British
dead bang adv, adj American the action of kneeing someone in the
caught in flagrante or red-handed. An thigh. A popular school playground tac-
American police version of dead to rights tic.
or the British bang to rights. deadly

deadly adj Irish

‘I got you dead bang for breaking into excellent, cool. The term was recorded
Eddie’s apartment.’ with this sense in 2003.
(The Rockford Files, US TV crime series, deadmeat

1979) dead meat n

a person who is dead, about to die or
deadbeat n inevitably doomed. Dead meat is an old
a. a poor or homeless person
and heartless euphemism for a corpse.
b. a penniless scrounger, a freeloader
Now the phrase usually forms part of a
c. a worthless or stupid person threat.
All these senses derive from a 19th-cen- Do that, baby, and you’re dead meat!
tury Americanism in which ‘dead’ means deadneck

‘completely’ and ‘beat’ is not ‘exhausted’ deadneck n American

but a ‘loafer’ or hobo. a variant of deadhead, deadbeat, etc.

dead-crack adj British dead presidents n pl American

penniless, broke money, banknotes
Slang.fm Page 120 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

deadshit 120
occurred in the USA in the first decade of

deadshit n, adj Australian

(a person who is) contemptible or very the 20th century.
unpleasant 2. American a female member of a street
That was a deadshit party. gang. A term used in the 1960s, usually
in the plural, probably originating in ‘deb-
dead soldier n utante’, perhaps reinforced by the preva-
an empty bottle (of alcohol). The phrase lence of the Christian name Deborah or
was first used by members of the British Debbie. ‘Deb’ resurfaced in the gang
armed forces about 200 years ago, lik- argot of Los Angeles in the 1980s.
ening the aftermath of a drinking bout de-bag

to a battlefield littered with corpses. de-bag vb British

I’ll clear up the dead soldiers while you to remove (someone’s) trousers. The
fumigate the place. phrase originated among 19th-century
deadtorights university students but quickly spread to
dead to rights adv, adj American schoolboys for whom the ritual humilia-
an American version of the British bang tion of fellow pupils by de-bagging was a
to rights. ‘Dead to rights’ is probably the popular diversion up to the late 1960s at
original form of the phrase, dating from least. Bags was a 19th-century slang
the 19th century and now rarely, if ever, term for trousers which survived until
heard in Britain. fairly recently.
‘Dead’ is used here in its common collo- dbes’deligth

quial meaning of ‘completely’.

debs’ delight n British
an upper-class young man, especially
deal1 n British

one who might be considered an eligible

a portion or amount of a drug, especially partner or escort by parents (of debu-
hashish. Before decimalisation in tantes), in spite of low intelligence. The
1971, very small amounts of cannabis phrase was used pejoratively and/or envi-
were bought or referred to as a ‘five-bob ously and was popular in the 1960s. A
deal’ or ‘ten-bob deal’. more recent version is pedigree chum.
deal2 vb

deck1 vb

to sell (drugs). The verb is used intran- to knock (someone) to the ground. A
sitively, as in ‘does he still deal?’, and variant of ‘to floor’.
transitively, as in ‘she deals dope at the deck2 n

weekend’. 1. a portion or package of illicit drugs,


dealer n especially heroin. The term, from Ameri-

a supplier of illicit drugs. The term, can addicts’ jargon of the 1960s, spread
imported into other English-speaking to Britain and Australia where the mean-
areas from the USA in the early 1960s, is ing was sometimes amended to refer to
a neutral one, implying someone who an injection, or the amount (of heroin)
sells on demand without coercion. It necessary for an injection.
replaced the earlier, pejorative word 2. a skateboard or surfboard in the jargon
pusher among users themselves. of aficionados
dealing deck up

dealing adj British deck up vb

involved in a relationship, ‘seeing some- to prepare for injection or to inject a drug,
one’. A fashionable term from the older usually heroin. A phrase from the jargon
adolescent’s lexicon of dating, heard of drug users and prisoners in the UK.
from the later 1990s. The word had The verb derives from the noun deck,
been used in the same sense by public meaning a quantity of a narcotic.
schoolgirls in the 1960s. decoratosr

decorators n pl British See have the


deal with (someone) vb British decorators in

to beat up. A term used by young street-

deep adj
gang members in London since around 1. unpleasant, inferior
2000. 2. impressive, attractive

deb n In both senses the word has been fashion-

1. a debutante; a young girl being intro- able among black adolescents and their
duced into the social season. Although imitators since 2000. The usage may have
principally identified with an upper-class originated in from the jargon of DJs and
London milieu, the adoption of débu- hip-hop aficionados, or from the codes of
tante, French for ‘beginner’, may have street gangs, or both.
Slang.fm Page 121 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

121 derry
dep-esa idvre Delhibely

deep-sea diver n Delhi belly n

a £5 note, fiver. A piece of London an attack of diarrhoea. Since the era of
rhyming slang heard occasionally since British colonialism this has been the
about the mid-1970s. South Asian equivalent of gyppy tummy,

deep-six vb American Montezuma’s revenge, etc.


to bury, dispose of. The verb form, delicious adj British

which has been common in American (of a person) attractive, often deliber-
speech since the 1950s, derives from ately mispronounced as ‘delshous’. The
the earlier noun form ‘the deep six’, an term is used typically by teenage girls
underworld euphemism for the grave. and students of both sexes.

The ultimate origin is nautical; burials dementoid, demental n, adj American

at sea have to be made in water that is (a person who is) crazy, demented. A
more than six fathoms deep. high-school term of the 1980s that
‘I’ve got to exchange all this money!’ ‘You expressed contempt, grudging admira-
can deep-six it, sir.’ tion or both. The word is also used
(M.A.S.H., US TV series, 1977) adjectivally, as in ‘that was a totally

def adj dementoid movie’.


excellent, wonderful, ‘the real thing’. A demon n Australian

late 1980s vogue term of approbation a detective. This probably originated in
deriving from the language of hip hop. the simple abbreviation D, which then
The word is a shortening of ‘definitive’ or passed via ‘d-man’ to demon. The word
‘definite’. The use of the word as the title is fairly rare; when it does occur it is
of a BBC2 ‘youth slot’ programme (DEF often in the plural form.
II) in 1988 marked its apogee. Det is a
Den is

Dennis (Law) n British

more recent synonym. hashish or marihuana. The term is rhym-
‘This month’s music selections are fright- ing slang for draw. The name of the foot-
fully def, totally treach and all those other baller was evoked by adolescents at the
hip hop clichés.’ end of the 1980s.
(I-D magazine, November 1987) Has anyone seen Dennis? [Have you got

de facto n Australian any smoke?]


a live-in lover, one’s unmarried partner. dental floss (pants) n British

This phrase is one Australian solution variant forms of the American floss
(since the 1970s) to the problem of

derk, durk n British

finding an acceptable term to describe a stupid person. Used by younger teen-
what the British judicial system calls a agers, the words are formed from or influ-
‘common-law spouse’. enced by dork, nerd and durr-brain.
‘My de facto’s out buying groceries.’ dero

dero n Australian
(Recorded, young woman, Melbourne, a homeless person or tramp, a derelict.
1978) The term has been in use for about

de-frosted adj American twenty years. It is also heard as a fairly

heated, agitated. An adolescents’ term, mild insult among children and adoles-
inspired by the opposite notion of cool or cents.
chilled out.

derro n British
Come on, don’t get all de-frosted. 1. an unfortunate, inferior or unpleasant
dek o

dekko n British person. A derivation from ‘derelict’, used

a look, glance. A word that probably either of vagrants or of someone pitied or
originated in the jargon of tramps, taken disliked.
from the Romany word for ‘look’, dik, in ‘And touching someone when you’re
the late 19th century. British soldiers dancing, Caris intimates, is the act of a
overseas also encountered the Hindus- derro, a flo-to-tin’ yup, a deadbeat, a
tani version dekko. The word is now less homebug and a commuter.’
popular than in the 1950s but is still (Observer, Section 5, 7 May 1989)
heard in the phrase ‘take/have a dekko 2. a derry
(at)’. The word is not unknown, but is

derry, deri n British

rare in American slang, where it has a derelict building or similar location,
been recorded as ‘decko’. used as a temporary shelter by tramps,
See also dick2 2 etc.
Slang.fm Page 122 Wednesday, October 25, 2006 12:54 PM

desi 122
‘It’s not a derry, guy, there are people or behaviour. Stepford is used in a similar
living there.’ context.
(Recorded, vagrant, Waterloo, London, acting devo
1988) I don’t know what her problem is but she

desi n, adj South Asian is so devo.


(someone who is) local, indigenous. The dex, dexie, dexo n

term is used in the UK, sometimes pejo- a pill or capsule of Dexedrine, a trade-
ratively, by younger or supposedly mark for an amphetamine (pep pill) fre-
sophisticated speakers to refer to tradi