A Conversation for English Slang
Vestboy Posted Dec 15, 2006
No, I haven't been there but I've seen it on the roadsigns.
Cheerful Dragon Posted Dec 15, 2006
No offence, people, but this is a thread for discussing Unexplained Phrases. If you want to chat, please do it via your personal space, email or some other thread. We actually have a forum called Miscellaneous Chat. You'll find it here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/MiscChat You can chat about anything you like there.
Gavin Corder Posted Mar 4, 2007
Jeremy paxman explains 'Bob's your Uncle' , in the 'Political Animal: An Anatomy'
"The administration put together by Lord Salisbury (Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil) after the 1900 General Election contained so many members of his family that it was known as the 'Hotel Cecil': the career of his Chief Secretary for Ireland is much less memorable than the quip about how he got the job: 'Bob's your uncle.'"
iamsparticusesmate Posted Mar 17, 2009
A nonce is not "someone who rats on a criminal" its prison slang for paedophile. Its one of the few crimes where there is general revulsion from the inmates, being branded a nonce when in prison can be dangerous whether true or not. All information courtesy of a couple of friends who are a prison guard and probation officer respectively.
madwytch Posted Apr 25, 2009
Naff was originally an acronym that began life as gay slang (polari). It stood for Not Available For F*cking, and was predominantly used to describe heterosexual males. Over time it became used to describe something unsatisfactory.
Why it was used by Ronnie Barker in Porridge, I don't know, but there you have it.
Gavin Corder Posted Apr 25, 2009
I'm afraid you aren't right madwytch.
Naff etymology according to OED:
One of the most popular theories is the suggestion that the word is perhaps an acronym either the initial letters of Normal As F*ck, or the initial letters of Not Available For F*cking, but this seems to be a later rationalization.
Various theories have been proposed as to the origin of this word.
It has been suggested that it is (in Polari slang) < naff in naff omi a dreary man (compare OMEE n.), in which naff may perhaps be < Italian gnaffa despicable person (16th cent.).
O.E.D. Suppl. (1976) compares the earlier English regional (northern) forms naffhead, naffin, naffy, all denoting a simpleton or idiot (see Eng. Dial. Dict. s.v. Naff v.), and also NIFF-NAFF n., NIFFY-NAFFY adj., and NYAFF n., NYAFF v.]
You should know that the origins of naff in polaru slang predate polari's adoption by homosexuals which only happened in the mid 20th century. Before that it was more generally a form of slang incorporating Italianate words, rhyming slang, cant terms, and other elements of vocabulary, which originated in England in the 18th and 19th centuries as a kind of secret language within various groups, including sailors, vagrants, circus people, entertainers, etc.
madwytch Posted Apr 26, 2009
Well, it just goes to show that you learn something new every day.
It makes more sense now, why Ronnie Barker would use it in Porridge.
johnt Posted May 2, 2010
Taters meaning cold weather comes from taters(potatos) in the mould=cold
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