AskDefine | Define slang

Dictionary Definition



1 informal language consisting of words and expressions that are not considered appropriate for formal occasions; often vituperative or vulgar; "their speech was full of slang expressions"
2 a characteristic language of a particular group (as among thieves); "they don't speak our lingo" [syn: cant, jargon, lingo, argot, patois, vernacular]


1 use slang or vulgar language
2 fool or hoax; "The immigrant was duped because he trusted everyone"; "You can't fool me!" [syn: gull, dupe, befool, cod, fool, put on, take in, put one over, put one across]
3 abuse with coarse language

User Contributed Dictionary



  • , /slæŋ/, /sl

Extensive Definition

Slang is the use of highly informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's dialect or language.
Slang is sometimes regional in that it is used only in a particular territory, but slang terms are frequently particular to a certain subculture, such as musicians, and members of minority groups. Nevertheless, usage of slang expressions can spread outside their original arenas to become commonly used, such as "cool" and "jive". While some words eventually lose their status as slang, others continue to be considered as such by most speakers. When slang spreads beyond the group or subculture that originally uses it, its original users often replace it with other, less-recognized terms to maintain group identity.

Origins of slang

One use of slang is to circumvent social taboos, as mainstream language tends to shy away from evoking certain realities. For this reason, slang vocabularies are particularly rich in certain domains, such as violence, crime and drugs and sex. Alternatively, slang can grow out of mere familiarity with the things described. Among wine connoisseurs, Cabernet Sauvignon might be known as "Cab Sav", Chardonnay as "Chard" and so on; this means that naming the different wines expends less superfluous effort. It also serves as a shared code among connoisseurs.
Even within a single language community, slang tends to vary widely across social, ethnic, economic, and geographic strata. Slang sometimes grows more and more common until it becomes the dominant way of saying something, at which time it is regarded as mainstream, acceptable language (e.g. the Spanish word caballo), while at other times it may fall into disuse. Numerous slang terms pass into informal mainstream speech, and sometimes into formal speech, though this may involve a change in meaning or usage.
Slang very often involves the creation of novel meanings for existing words. It is very common for such novel meanings to diverge significantly from the standard meaning. Thus, "cool" and "hot" can both mean "very good", "impressive" or "good looking".
Slang terms are often known only within a clique or ingroup. For example, Leet ("Leetspeak" or "1337"), was originally popular only among certain Internet sub-cultures, such as crackers (malicious "hackers") and online video gamers. During the 1990s and 2000s, however, Leet became increasingly more commonplace on the Internet, and has even spread outside of Internet-based communication and into spoken languages. Another type of slang, with roots in Internet culture, is texting language (txt or chatspeak), which is widely used in instant messaging on the Internet (AOL speak) and mobile phones (SMS language).
Certain dialects may be viewed by some people as slang, such as Hawaiian Creole English and African American Vernacular English.


External links

slang in Bulgarian: Групов говор
slang in Czech: Slang
slang in Danish: Slang
slang in German: Umgangssprache
slang in Spanish: Slang
slang in Esperanto: Slango
slang in Persian: زبان عامیانه
slang in French: Argot
slang in Korean: 속어
slang in Indonesian: Bahasa gaul
slang in Italian: Gergo
slang in Hebrew: סלנג
slang in Hungarian: Szleng
slang in Dutch: Straattaal
slang in Japanese: 俗語
slang in Norwegian: Slang
slang in Polish: Gwara
slang in Portuguese: Gíria
slang in Russian: Сленг
slang in Albanian: Gjuha e folur
slang in Simple English: Slang
slang in Slovak: Slang
slang in Serbian: Сленг
slang in Finnish: Slangi
slang in Swedish: Slanguttryck
slang in Tagalog: Balbal
slang in Thai: ศัพท์สแลง
slang in Vietnamese: Tiếng lóng
slang in Turkish: Argo (dilbilim)
slang in Contenese: 俗語
slang in Chinese: 俚語

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Aesopian language, Babel, Greek, argot, babble, barbarism, bluff, bluster, bluster and bluff, bounce, brag, bully, cant, cipher, code, colloquialism, common speech, corruption, cryptogram, double Dutch, garble, gasconade, gibberish, gift of tongues, glossolalia, gobbledygook, hector, illiterate speech, impropriety, intimidate, jargon, jargonal, jargonish, jumble, lingo, localism, mumbo jumbo, noise, out-herod Herod, patois, patter, phraseology, rage, rant, rave, roister, rollick, scatological, scatology, scramble, secret language, slangy, splutter, sputter, storm, substandard language, swagger, swashbuckle, taboo, taboo language, taboo word, vapor, vernacular, vocabulary, vulgar language, vulgar tongue, vulgarism, vulgate
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