One’s esteemed colleague Grant Barrett, the professionally-employed hunter of slang (American) English, has a book out, The Official Dictionary of Unofficial English. I’m not crazy about the type, and neither is he, but this is the first dictionary of any kind I have read that treats online sources as sources. I’m pretty sure I am not cited (why would I be?), but I was surprised to find a number of terms I use or have used listed as bona fide slang (not an oxymoron).

chocolate foot
Your strong foot, as in biketrials
“a person who renarrates, summarizes, or describes a television program for recording in preparation for subtitling” (sic – it’s scarcely ever used for “subtitling,” almost always for captioning)
bouma (shape)
Papazianism for a thing that doesn’t exist, the outline of printed words that determines readability
What I did for micropatronage: Occupying multiple competing media with the same message at the same time so it becomes inescapable

Door prize (Toronto-specific: To get hit while riding your bike past a suddenly-opened car door) is in there. However, I doubt that any of the following are really “slang” anymore:

  1. bedhead (I really don’t think it’s two words)
  2. blue-sky (v.)
  3. brownfield
  4. chippy (hockey)
  5. discordant couple (more commonly serodiscordant)
  6. DNF
  7. dry drunk
  8. freeball/go commando
  9. granny flat (accepted Canadian English; it’s in the Canadian Oxford)
  10. handbags at ten paces (also at dawn, uncited)
  11. lesbian bed death
  12. The much-unloved acronym LGBT(TQQI2S)
  13. magalog
  14. mouth-breather
  15. phish
  16. plyometrics
  17. puck bunny
  18. security theatre
  19. tuner (car; he doesn’t list rice or ricing)

Don Norman will be pleased at JND. Femtosecond absolutely isn’t “slang” any more than kilojoule is. Fragged in a sense other than “blown up in a video game” seems rather obscure at this point (Grant’s published sense is U.S. military “outlined in fragmented order”).

My fave is of course unass, and dedicated readers will be relieved to learn I have no intention of faux-anglicizing that to unarse.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2006.11.26 16:02. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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