Archive for Slang

Grunge lexicon

Apparently I never posted here about the Lexicon of Grunge. The short version is that in 1992, the New York Times did an article about grunge music and fashion, for which (among other things) they interviewed record-company employee Megan Jasper about what terms were in use by the grunge community. But Jasper made up a […]

Sensory metaphors

In a New York Times piece from 2015, Jonah Berger wrote about the longevity of sensory metaphors. An interesting piece, and an interesting idea. Fits nicely with stuff I’ve been reading about metaphors in Lakoff and Johnson’s Metaphors We Live By. I find the piece a little incomplete in its discussion of the word cool, […]

carny slang

Yesterday, I posted about Polari. What led me to that was looking up information about carny, the slang of carnival performers. The Dictionary of Carny, Circus, Sideshow & Vaudeville Lingo provides definitions for lots of carny terms, along with slang terms from other performance contexts.


Yesterday, I posted about the word swazzle. I was led to that from the Wikipedia article about Polari: “Polari […] is a form of cant slang used in Britain by some actors, circus and fairground showmen, professional wrestlers, merchant navy sailors, criminals, prostitutes, and the gay subculture. There is some debate about its origins, but […]

Alicia Vikander on Swedish slang

From Vanity Fair: “Alicia Vikander Teaches You Swedish Slang,” a 4-minute video. I initially assumed this was a straight-faced joke, with Vikander (the Swedish actress who’s playing Lara Croft in the new Tomb Raider movie) making stuff up; but no, apparently these are real Swedish slang phrases. Though some commenters suggest that some of her […]