Jargon, Slang, Cant, old and new…
last update: 17 May 2020
If you are looking for an online dictionary you could try The Linguist List.
New words… new definitions
All this section does is register new words or expressions that have come across my screen… and are new to me. Hope it's not all gibberish.
5150 - California police code for 'escaped lunatic'
Algebra - a cruel pointless subject still taught in schools
Antidextrous - not good with either hand
Area 51% - the area of the US that votes Republican
Autopilot - what most people do at work
Awfuliser - someone who always predicts the worst outcome
Bangalored - relocated to India
Bizza - a big pizza
Boomer holes - a house with holes for cable TV and landlines previously owned by a baby-boomer
Bounty bar - a white-acting black person
Clean-skin - without a criminal record (also lily-white)
Click-to-Call (Click-to-Talk) - when a customer clicks on an object and it completes a call to a person in real-time
Cobrowsing - two people accessing and navigating the same webpage at the same time
Conehead - scientist, brainy person
Conversion - is when a visitor completes a desired goal (e.g. purchase, fills out a form, provides an email address), and the percentage that converts is called a conversion rate (see conversion marketing and conversion rate optimisation)
Corporate Death Burger - McDonalds
Dictionary - a paperweight, an archaic way to look up words before Wikipedia and spellchecking
DNF - Did Not Find (or Did Not Finish)
Dot gone - unsuccessful Internet company
Dronies - those who snap images using drones
Dropshipping - selling products they've never handled, from countries they've never visited, to consumers they've never met
DYKWIA - Do You Know Who I Am!
Foot fault - a minor criminal violation
Funnels - a marketing funnel helps/simplifies the set of steps a customer has to go through (to a 'conversion')
Gringoland - USA
Haircut - a reduction in the value of an asset
HMWI - High Net Worth Individual
House hippo - a rotund house pet
IANAL - I Am Not A Lawyer
Idiot box - Television
IDK - I don't know
IMO - In My Opinion (IMHO - In My Humble Opinion)
IRL - In Real Life
Jesus year - a persons 33rd year of life
Lexifascist - someone who corrects others' language with an uppity attitude
Marinate - to sit around and do nothing
Micro-influencer - a sub-set of influencer marketing, i.e. people who have between 1,000 and 100,000 followers and are considered expert and trusted in a narrow field or niche
On-brand - something that correlates with your identity or public image
Pain Point - recurring problems that customers experience frequently, sometimes stopping them from completing a transaction
PDF - Please Don't Forget
Perfumed prince - bureaucrat or careerist
Pizza Production Engineer - someone who puts toppings on pre-formed pizza bases
Plusing - continually improving something
Prescriptibitch - someone who is evil about correcting grammatical mistakes
Retargeting - targeted advertising based upon a consumers previous internet activity, e.g. webpage they have previously viewed
See Food Diet - you see the food, and then eat it
Shift F7 - derives from the shortcut for the thesaurus in a Microsoft Word document, so 'Shift F7' replaces the word you could not remember or find, e.g. "its just so … shift F7"
Shapeware - underwear designed to alter (smooth, control, lift, compress) a persons body shape (for the better)
Spelling - a lost art
Stan - a super or extreme fan of something or someone
Stovepiping - transmit raw information to a higher level inside an organisation through an isolated and narrow channel
SWMBO - She Who Must Be Obeyed
Thore - Think more, e.g. "I need to thore before I answer"
TMI - Too Much Information
Truthiness - a seemingly truthful assertion not supported by evidence or facts
UCLA - University for Caucasians Lost among Asians
Voodoo poll - untrustworthy results
Weble - alternative for web-log (blog)
WFH - Working From Home
Wirate - getting angry with a slow Internet connection
Old words - some of which could easily come back into common use
"The facility of speech, which makes so confiderable a difference between a man and a brute, is of excellent use, as it renders mankind conversable one with another, and as the various natural endowments, observations, experiences, and attainments of every individual man, are hereby, with a wonderful facility, mutually communicated"
By the 17th C the English language was made up of words taken, and often modified, from Arabic, Dutch, Welsh, Danish, French, Latin, Greek, Italian, Chaldee, Saxon, Scotch, Spanish, German, both old and new. Many word and phrases originated from one region of the British Isles, or from one specialist domain, e.g. physics and chemistry, law, hunting, religion and the Bible, poetry, or military terms, etc.
Abacista - someone who calculates using an abacus
Abaisance - a low bowing as a respect paid to a person (now: obeisance from the French obéissance)
Abdominous - paunch-bellied, fat
Abecedarian - one who teaches A, B, C,… or the alphabet
Abisherising - being free from Amerciaments, or financial penalties (from the French a-merce-ment meaning 'being at the mercy of', synonymous with a fine)
Abnormous - misshapen, vast, huge
Aborigines - just means a person, animal, or plant that has been in a region from earliest times, but an early dictionary defined the word as "the Italians, or such other Nations, who pretend to be without Original from any other People"
Above-board - in open sight
Abrig/Abrick - Sulphur
Abtraction - "a Power peculiar to the Mind of Man, in Contradiction to the Souls of Beasts, by which he can make his Conceptions, arising from particular Things, become general"
Advertisement - advice, intelligence, information, and also 'putting in mind'
Adusted - burnt, overheated, dried by fire, and Adustible meant burnable
Æstuary - "receiving the Steam of boiled Drugs into the Body through a Hole made in a Seat or Chair"
Æther - a "very subtle and transparent Fluid, which not only fills up the space between our Atmosphere and the Stellar Region, but penetrates through all known Bodies and replenishes the Interstices of their Particles"
Aggegate - along with Aggest meant simply to "to heap up", and Aggested meant "heaped up"
Aggrandise - enlarge, to raise, to make great, and Aggrandisement meant "making great"
Aggravate - means to make worse or more serious, but once meant simply "to make heavy", to enlarge
Agnomen - "a Name added to the Surname of a Person upon account of some particular Action", e.g. Africanus because of exploits in Africa, and Agnomination meant nick-name
Agresta - Wiktionary offers 'a Calabrian branch of the 'Ndrangheta', but it once meant the juice or oil from unripe grapes
Al or Ald - when "put to a Name of a Place signifies Antiquity", e.g. Aldgate (which along with Algate also meant the East gate of London, Al and Ald meant old in Saxon)
A-la-mode - meant and still means fashionable, but Alamode meant "a fine even and glossy Silk, mostly of black Colour, used to make Women's Hoods"
Albion - the ancient name of Great Britain, so called from its white rocks
Algebra - "the Name of its supposed Inventor" and "a perculiar Science, which takes the Quantity sought, whether it be Number or Line, as if it were known or granted, and then, by the Help of one or more Quantities given, proceeds by undeniable Consequences, till at length the Quantity, at first only supposed to be known, is found to be equal to someone Quantity or Quantities which are certainly known, and therefore is likewise known"
Algorithm - "the Sum of the principle Rules of numerical Computations, viz. Numeration, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division"
Allaborate - to labour vehemently
Allectation - an alluring, enticement
Allophylus - one of another tribe, nation, or kindred, a strainer or alien
Ambrosia - "the delicious food and Jellies, which, as the Poets feign, the Heathen Gods eat, also a Medicine prepared to be as pleasing to the Palate as possible"
Amenable - easily to be led or ruled
Amortize - to kill
Amphibiology - an obscure speech that has a double meaning, or an ambiguous way of writing or speaking, so that the meaning may be taken into different and contrary senses ("the English Tongue is not so liable to this Abuse as the French, nor the French so much as the Latin")
Anacephalæosis - summing up "the Heads of Things", a brief summary, and of course to repeat the "Heads of a Matter" was to anacephalize
Anachronism - todays means something that is inappropriate to a said period, so something often considered conspicuously old-fashioned, but it once meant an error in chronology or in the computation of time, so a fact or event placed earlier or later that it really was
To Angle - we all know anglers who go angling, but 'angle' was Saxon for hook, and they once just said 'to angle' was to fish with a hook
Anni Nubilis - "the Age in which a Maid becomes fit for Marriage, which is at 12 Years"
Anthroposophy - has a 20th C definition, but once simply meant the "knowledge of the Nature of Man"
Antanagoge - had almost the same definition in the past, but it meant "not being able to answer an Accusation of the Adversary, we return the Charge, by loading him with the same Crimes"
Anticursor - a scout or fore-runner
Antipast - a fore-taste
Antipredicaments - "Things necessary to be known before hand, for the better understanding the Predicaments"
Antimony - once known as "a mineral Substance of a metalline Nature, consisting of a Sort of sulphurous and metallic Substance having all the seeming Characters of a real Metal, except Malleability, so that it is called Semi Metal"
Antipædobaptists - those against baptising children
Antipodes - was once "such Inhabitants of the Earth as live Feet to Feet, or diametrically opposite one to the other. Pope Gregory excommunicated all such as believed the Antipodes"
Antistrumatick - "good against the King's Evil" (see Royal Touch)
still a lot to come…
Old slang, cant,…
Afternoon farmer - old expression for someone who wastes their best opportunity
All there - old expression for someone who is 'up to the mark' or perfectly dressed
Bash - as a kid it meant to beat someone
Big-wig - a person of authority or office
Bird-cage - old expression for a cab, but could be used for cheap or second-hand cars
Block - head
Bob - a shilling
Bog-oranges - I love this old expression for potatoes
Brass - money
Chalk up - to credit
Cheesy - now means cheap and of low quality, but it once meant fine or showy
Chinwag - now means to chat, but once it meant officious impertinence
Conk - nose
Copper - policeman
Fad - a short-lived enthusiasm for something, but it once meant a hobby or favourite pursuit
File - we all know several definitions of this word, but it once meant a cunning person and earlier still a pickpocket
Flash - still has the same meaning, showy but without taste
Fluff it - now means to fail to perform, but it once meant something that you did not want
Gone to grass - means to retire, but once it meant to be dead
Innings - can mean a good long life, but once meant a good run of luck with plenty of money coming in
Ivories - would mean today a piano, but once meant a set of teeth 'cage of ivories' or to drink 'wash your ivories'
Kiddy - means a child, but once meant a low thief
Mate - colloquialism meaning 'friend', but once was reserved for a "costermonger or low person"
Mild - once meant second-rate feeble, or inefficient
Mob - once was short for Mobility, which was the populace or 'great unwashed'
Muck - just means dirt or rubbish, but once meant to beat or excel
Mug - informal expression for a person's face (e.g. mug shot), but once meant mouth or face but often in the context of drink, e.g. to mug oneself was to get drunk
Mug-up - I remember using it to mean preparing for exams
Mugging - once meant simply a thrashing in the boxing ring
Nob - short for nobleman, or a person of high position, a 'swell' (check out snob as well, you will be surprised)
Nut - head
Palm oil - once meant money or a bribe
Pensioner - once meant someone of 'degraded morals' who lived off the earnings of a prostitute
Pot - as in 'go to pot', means today to deteriorate through neglect, but once meant to die
Potato-trap - love this, it once meant the mouth
Rag - once meant bank note, so naturally a 'rag-shop' meant a bank
Rig - still means to 'pull a trick', but in the past 'well rigged' meant well dressed
Screw loose - once meant when friends became cold and distant, or when a persons reputation or credit sank
Shoddy - today means badly made, but originally it meant when yarn from old soldier's and policemen's coats was unravelled and prepared into a fine cloth fabric used for ladies mantles, etc.
Sky-Blue - this is a tricky one because it once referred to London milk, either much diluted with water, or where the cream had been skimmed three times. I remember when milk was delivered daily to our doorstep, that the milk with less cream (not totally skimmed) had a blue colour foil sealer (red for full cream). I wonder if the colour came from the original "three times-skimm'd - sky-blue".
Snob - once meant a low, vulgar person. Nob was often appended to names of people of 'gentle birth', and was short for nobiles. This was also used by sons of Lords, who would add fil nob., and hence nob. Those who were not of 'gentle birth' had appended to their name sin nobilitate, shortened to s.nob. Those who imitated nobs were often called quasi-nobs, shortened to si-nob, and later snob. One satirist noted that there were three great estates of the realm, nob, snob, and mob.
Swell - once meant a man of importance, showy
Toad-in-the-hole - I love this expression for someone carrying a sandwich board
Togs - once meant clothes, and natural Sunday togs were your best clothes
Tom and Jerry - we all know what that means today, but once it meant a 'low drinking shop'
Translator - once meant someone who dealt in old shoes or clothes, and refit them for cheap wear. Translators were second-hand boots, repaired and sold at a low price.
Trolling - has acquired a completely new definition with the Internet, but it also means the "careful and systematic search for something", e.g. trolling the seabed for fish or trolling a flea market for bargains. But it once meant sauntering or idling, and a troll was an idle prostitute.
Trotters - once meant feet, and 'trotters cases' were shoes
Trump - this might appear odd given todays political climate in the US, but trump once meant a jolly or good-natured person
Tub-thumping - once meant someone preaching or speech-making from a tub or beer barrel, showing their contempt for decorated pulpits
If you have got this far, here is a little test. What is a 'seven-sided animal'? It's a one eyed man. He has an inside, outside, left side, right side, frontside, backside, and …. a blindside.