A Conversation for American Slang
what you know as km Posted Jul 31, 1999
You're right, it is very very strong in the Valley, but it's not localized at all. "Like" is in common usage (read: insanely hard to keep out of even one spoken sentence, especially when relaying past dialogue) all over the country. "All," however, I have only heard used that way by Valley chicks and, oddly enough, Midwesterners.
droob Posted Jul 31, 1999
Unique to St. Louis, Missouri is the usage of "hoosier" as an equivalent to "redneck" or "hick" or "white trash". Indiana prides itself as being the Hoosier State, and the majority of the country doesn't think twice about the word. In St. Louis, however, a "hoosier" is likely to be found getting drunk in a Dairy Queen parking lot, sporting a mullet, and driving a lowered truck. Local band MU330 have immortalized this particular usage in their song "Hoosier Love", which never gets played outside of eastern MO.
DikMik Posted Jul 31, 1999
We Brits have trousers, you Americans have pants. We have pants (underwear), you have shorts. We have shorts (short trousers), you have... what?
Cheerful Dragon Posted Jul 31, 1999
'lame' and 'shafted' are also used in Britain, to varying degrees. We probably picked them up from America.
Cheerful Dragon Posted Jul 31, 1999
In your list of slang terms for people of different origins you haven't listed 'Brits' for British. THANK YOU! I really do mean that. I don't mind being called a 'limey', but hearing the British referred to as Brits really pisses me off.
Let's make a deal. If the Americans stop calling us Brits, I'll stop calling them Yanks. Does that sound fair?
Once again, thank-you!
RiffRaff Posted Jul 31, 1999
In the Appalachian Mountains, around the northern WV/lower Ohio/Maryland area, it's pronounced more like 'yins' rather than 'yuns'. Most common usage would be "See yins", meaning 'See you', short for 'I'll see you later'.
Sandwich Maker Posted Jul 31, 1999
Where I come from underwear may be called shorts but actually most people call it underwear or "boxers" if referring to the short variety of male undergarment or if referring to the other white variety "tighty-whities" is also popular, but usually derogatory (sp?). Short pants in general are known as shorts. Although for a while in the 80s and I think there are still some floating around today, there were a popular type of short that were brightly patterned and went at least to ones knees and were known as "jams". Also known as surfer shorts or board shorts (for those who skateboard). Does anyone else know what I am talking about.....
Sandwich Maker Posted Jul 31, 1999
the phrase, "It's raining like a cow p*&^sin on a flat rock." I think I first heard that one in college. Or the one "like a bull in a china shop", meaning someone who is clumsy. Or "bat outta hell" for fast also "where's the fire?" for someone who is in a big hurry, may be heard when stopped for speeding by a cop.
Amanda Posted Aug 1, 1999
Droob - do you live in St. Louis??!? I thought I was the only one here who does...so, joy! Another on here who understands the complexities of such terms as "hoosier" and "Farty-Far" (instead of Interstate Forty-Four). I was just about to attempt to define "ain't", "ya'll" and "redneck", but iffin ya'll other people were nice enough to do for, much obliged I reckon! (And no, I don't normally talk like this!) The key to speaking "hick" is really just to shorten all your words untill they're just barely recognizabile, and then with your mouth only opened half way. Example: "Hey, ya'll! Dja'eet yet? 'Cuz I was ganna go git somthin' but I's wonderin' if ya'll wanted to come with?" (Translation: "Hello, everyone! Have you eaten yet? Would you like to come with me and get something to eat?") That last sentance was a lot harder to get out than the first, let me tell you! With practice and diligence you too can speak "hick" in only three short weeks!
A funny thing I've noticed about locality in the US: The "East" is just that, but the rest of the regions aren't where they should be inasmuch as they are in reference to the "East". Example: The "Midwest" states (Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, etc.) are neither mid nor east - unless you live in New York or Maine. The "South" is usually comprised of states like Georgia and the Carolinas, when in fact it is very much to the east (albeit the "South East") leaving the real redneck "Deep South" states (Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas) out in the cold. The "South West" (Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico) should really be the "Mid South". The poor little prairie states like Kansas and Nebraska don't seem to have any direction or nickname at all (unless you count "The Heartland" as one, but it's silly so I don't). Everything else appears to be labeled normally ("North", "West") but the others have always bothered me.
Oh well. Whadarya gonna do?
Sprax23 Posted Aug 1, 1999
Maybe the United States should break into a bunch of little countries with their own special languages. That way, instead of making a big confusing entry on American Slang, they could make a bunch of little confusising entries on "United Eastern American States" slang, or "United Southern States of America" slang.
It wouldn't be that hard to split America up.
Sprax23 Posted Aug 1, 1999
And then there's the word "bitch". Pretty much everywhere it's considered an obscenity, but the meaning is changed (yet again.) I think now to mean someone you make a fool out of, or something like that. Like, if you "lay the smack-down" (beat someone up) on somebody, then you an say "He's my bitch". This is totally confusing and silly, atleast to me. Ofcourse, I've only heard totally dumb and annoying people use the word. (but I guess not everyone that uses it is dumb and annoying, but most of them probably are.)
Fenchurch M. Mercury Posted Aug 1, 1999
And that just reminded me that there's this regional pride thing going around in the rap community that's equally silly:
Northside! (all "side"s pronouced siiyyyyye!)
These are yelled at 2 second intervals. Why? I don't know, I don't listen to it. I just learned from the little kids downstairs.
Also, "got you in check" means "I can get you to do what I want".
Researcher K.Trout 51107 Posted Aug 1, 1999
Still more verbal cliches used quite often by Uh-mericans for describing dimwits:
* His/her elevator doesn't go to the top floor
* One can shy of a sixpack
* One fry short of a Happy Meal
* Smart as a box of rocks
* Smart as a lead pipe
* He/she has three brain cells, two of which don't work
* He/she's 1k shy of a meg
* Smart as an amoeba
* His/her hard drive needs defragging
...and of course, there are many more...
Amanda Posted Aug 2, 1999
Right. Along the same lines is "Got your back", meaning (obviously) "to back someone up", "to support them" or in case of a gang fight "to provide another with adequate posterior coverage in order to prevent them from getting shot in the back". Or something.
Koenig Posted Aug 2, 1999
There's always "boondocks" (often shortened to "boonies") to describe a location far away from any major town ("I was going to visit her, but she lives way out in the boonies.").
And of course the soda/pop/coke issue. All three are used to refer to a carbonated beverage (i.e. Coke or Sprite). I think using "coke" to refer to any such drink is a St. Louis thing, but I'm not sure.
Fenchurch M. Mercury Posted Aug 2, 1999
No, they used "coke" to refer to anythere here in San Diego too, so I think it's pretty widespread.
The coke mystery explained
Blatherskite the Mugwump - Bandwidth Bandit Posted Aug 2, 1999
I served for a bit in the military, so I was with people from all over the country, and this particular issue got more attention than it deserves.
Coke: people from the deep South generally use this term to describe any carbonated beverage. It sounds rather silly in conversation:
"You want a coke?"
Pop: same as above, used by people from the old northwest states (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, etc.)
Soda: term used by people in western sates
Sinking to the depths of the language
Sparrow Hawk Posted Aug 2, 1999
Sorry to go back so far, but the word "Cajun" isn't a slang term (even remotely). Nor does it include everyone from Louisiana, or even just the outside the city type. Cajuns are the people that descended from a French group of people who moved to South Louisiana following their expulsion from Acadia, or Nova Scotia, in the 1700s. They then melded with mainland French immigrant cultures and with Haitian, Spanish, English, German, and Native American cultures in this area(generally the further south you go, the more Cajuns in the area).
Cajun isn't a term given to just anyone from a particular area, with a certain accent, or all Louisiana folk that enjoy a good Crawfish Boil, but those people to whom the word applies will probably tell you the fact in pride. (BTW - I'm a proud Cajun if you couldn't tell)
A lot of people from up north are really misinformed as to how people live in Louisiana and what type of person a Cajun really is, but that's just because of bad movies and I don't think anyone who's been here walks away still bearing those misconceptions.
Farquar Posted Aug 2, 1999
I never really hear yuns or yins in Arkansas. Everything was always "y'all". Do they use the term "young'uns" on WV?
Key: Complain about this post
- 41: what you know as km (Jul 31, 1999)
- 42: droob (Jul 31, 1999)
- 43: DikMik (Jul 31, 1999)
- 44: Cheerful Dragon (Jul 31, 1999)
- 45: Cheerful Dragon (Jul 31, 1999)
- 46: RiffRaff (Jul 31, 1999)
- 47: Sandwich Maker (Jul 31, 1999)
- 48: Sandwich Maker (Jul 31, 1999)
- 49: Amanda (Aug 1, 1999)
- 50: Sprax23 (Aug 1, 1999)
- 51: Sprax23 (Aug 1, 1999)
- 52: Fenchurch M. Mercury (Aug 1, 1999)
- 53: DikMik (Aug 1, 1999)
- 54: Researcher K.Trout 51107 (Aug 1, 1999)
- 55: Amanda (Aug 2, 1999)
- 56: Koenig (Aug 2, 1999)
- 57: Fenchurch M. Mercury (Aug 2, 1999)
- 58: Blatherskite the Mugwump - Bandwidth Bandit (Aug 2, 1999)
- 59: Sparrow Hawk (Aug 2, 1999)
- 60: Farquar (Aug 2, 1999)