Archive for Slang


I was already low-key planning to write this note before seeing the word where I didn't expect it. I was low-key shocked, you know? And the show looks low-key terrible. No, I'm definitely low-key using it wrong now.


According to an article by Fern Riddell, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley once wrote to a friend: I was so ready to give myself away—and being afraid of men, I was apt to get tousy-mousy for women. Apparently (according to that same article), tuzzy-muzzy is “slang for the vagina,” dating back to 1642. Only one of my […]

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.