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

Abaisance - a low bowing as a respect paid to a person (now: obeisance from the French

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")

æosis - 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"

ædobaptists - 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)

Next 62

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.