The Concise New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English
Be careful what you say – it might not mean what you think it means. For those in the United States that “conversate” with new found friends or business colleagues in the United Kingdom or Australia what you think you are saying might not mean what you think it does. And what they say, in the UK or in Australia, to you, might not be, at all, what they mean. Even though they are using common English words.
The decorum of this web site prohibits me from revealing the faux paux in interpretation made in a business conversation between myself and a colleague in the UK.
Lets just say that he told me that he was “going to wake up his wife” in a British sort-of-way. But “wake up my wife” were not the words he used. (See reference section to look up the phrase)
This encounter netted me a gift from the UK - The Concise New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English
The best defense is a good offense
A tag line for The Concise New Partridge Dictionary… is “A veritable Madame Tussaud’s of the vulgar language”. Not that we are advocating coming up to speed on vulgar language – but, you may find yourself in a situation where had you known the “multi-cultural” interpretations of common English phrases you may have avoided embarrassing situations. So, “To be forewarned is to be forearmed”
The Concise Dictionary has an introductory section on the use of slang. These are thirteen reasons the dictionary provides for why we use slang.
Thirteen reasons for the use of Slang
And slang is employed for one (or two or more) of thirteen reasons:
- In sheer high spirits; ‘just for the fun of the thing’.
- As an exercise in wit or humour.
- To be ‘different’ – to be novel.
- To be picturesque.
- To be startling; to startle.
- To escape from cliché’s and long-windedness.
- To enrich the language.
- To give solidity and concreteness to the abstract and the idealistic, and nearness to the Observations on slang and unconventional English xvi distant scene or object.
- To reduce solemnity, pain, tragedy.
- To put oneself in tune with one’s company.
- To induce friendliness or intimacy.
- To show that one belongs to a certain school, trade or profession, intellectual set or social class. In short to be in the fashion – or toprove that someone else isn’t.
- To be secret – not understood by those around one.
In Defense of Slang
Words at War: Words at Peace
For over a century, there have been protests against the use of slang and controversies on the relation of slang to the literary language or, as it is now usually called, Standard English. Purists have risen in their wrath and conservatives in their dignity to defend the Bastille of linguistic purity against the revolutionary rabble.
The very vehemence of the attack and the very sturdiness of the defense have ensured that only the fittest survive to gain entrance to the citadel, there establish themselves, and then become conservatives and purists in their turn.
Any term that prevents us from thinking, any term that we employ to spare us from searching for the right word, is a verbal narcotic. As though there weren’t too many narcotics already
Words are very important things; at the lowest estimate, they are indispensable counters of communication.
Selected Radio-Related Slang
from The Concise New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English
you can find a list of British Slang from another source here.
Got one you can’t find here – add it to the comments to this post
afterburner noun a linear amplifier for a citizens’ band radio US, 1976
ancient Mary noun an AM radio US, 1976
angry nine nickname during the Korean war, an AN/GRC-9 radio US, 1994
antenna platoon noun during the Vietnam war, a platoon with an unusually large number of radios assigned to it US, 1989
back door closed adjective describes a convoy when the final vehicle is looking out for any police interest. Citizen band radio slang US, 1976
barber shop noun in trucking, a bridge with a low clearance. Citizens’ band radio slang US, 1977
barefoot adjective 2 (of a car or truck) lacking one or more tyres US, 1941. 3 (of a citizens’ band radio) operating without a power booster US, 1976. 4 in craps, said of a bet on the pass line without odds taken US, 1983
batphone noun a police radio; the police personal radio system. Inspired by comic book crimefighter Batman’s utility belt UK, 1977
bear meat noun a speeding vehicle without the benefit of citizens’ band radio communications. Easy prey for BEAR (the police) US, 1976
big juicer noun a powerful, all-night AM radio station US, 1976
bluejack verb to send an anonymous one-way message to a mobile phone enabled with ‘Bluetooth’ radio technology UK, 2004
bluesnarf verb to steal personal information from a mobile phone enabled with Bluetooth™ radio technology. A compound of the Bluetooth brand and SNARF (to take, to grab) UK, 2004
body lotion noun a drink. Citizens’ band radio slang UK, 1981
bucket mouth noun in trucking, a trucker who monopolises conversation on the citizens’ band radio US, 1976
collect call noun a citizens’ band radio message for a specific named person US, 1976
concrete wheels noun a citizens’ band radio transmitter situated in a building. Citizens’ band radio slang UK, 1981
cradle baby noun a novice citizens’ band radio user. Based on the initials CB US, 1976
Dagenham dustbin noun a Ford car. Citizens’ band radio slang. Dagenham in Essex is the best-known as the major manufacturing base for Ford cars UK, 1981
eyeball noun 1 a meeting between two shortwave radio operators who have only known each other over the radio US, 1976.
feeler noun 1 a finger UK, 1831. 2 in poker, a small bet made for the purpose of assessing how other players are likely to bet on the hand US, 1967. 3 a citizens’ band radio antenna on a truck US, 1976
fiddle and fire noun in the car sales business, a radio and heater US, 1953
flapper noun 1 the penis in a flaccid state US, 1980. 2 the ear US, 1933. 3 a radio antenna US, 1976
footwarmer noun 1 a linear amplifier for a citizens’ band radio US, 1976. 2 a walking plough CANADA, 1954
furnace and organ noun a car radio and heater US, 1959
gangbang noun 5 a group of friends talking together on citizens’ band radio US, 1977.
gate jaw noun in trucking, a driver who monopolises conversation on the citizens’ band radio US, 1976
Gibson girl noun an emergency radio used when a military aircraft is shot down over a body of water US, 1943
glory card noun a licence from the Federal Communications Commission to operate a citizens’ band radio US, 1976
God slot noun a regular position in a television or radio broadcast schedule given over to religious programmes UK, 1972
ham noun 1 an amateur shortwave radio operator and enthusiast US, 1919.
hamburger helper noun 1 crack cocaine. The drug bears some resemblance to a brand name food product US, 1994. 2 a linear amplifier for a citizens’ band radio US, 1976
ham patch noun a telephone connection enabled by shortwave radio ANTARCTICA, 1997
Hanoi Hannah noun a composite character on Radio Hanoi who broadcast during the Vietnam war with a target audience of US troops and a goal of lessening troop morale US, 1967
hash and trash noun background noise during a citizens’ band radio transmission US, 1976
heater noun 1 a revolver. The term smacks of gangster films US, 1926. 2 a linear amplifier for a citizens’ band radio US, 1976.
hillbilly operahouse noun a truck with a radio US, 1971
jaw-jack verb to chatter loudly and with no purpose; hence, to talk on citizens’ band radio US, 1962
jigger noun 1 a bank robber US, 1950. 2 a lookout during a crime US, 1925. 3 an illegally constructed radio receiver. Prison usage AUSTRALIA, 1944.
juice man noun 1 a usurer, loan-shark, illegal lender US, 1961. 2 an AM radio disc jockey who broadcasts on a powerful, all-night station heard by truckers US, 1976. 3 an electrician US, 1923
kicker noun 10 a linear amplifier for a citizens’ band radio US, 1976
latrine lips noun a citizens’ band radio user who employs a vocabulary that is considered foul or obscene US, 1976
magic numbers used as a farewell. Referring to 73 and 88, citizens’ band radio code for ‘good wishes’ US, 1976
monster net noun during the Vietnam war, the secure radio network connecting radios in the field and headquarters US, 1990
Nazi go-cart; Nazi go-kart noun a Volkswagen car. Citizens’ band radio slang remembering that Volkswagen were German manufacturers before and during World War 2 US, 1976
nickel’s worth noun a five-minute conversation on a citizens’ band radio. Five minutes was once the longest conversation allowed at one time US, 1976
OM noun a male; a partner; a husband. An abbreviation of ‘old man’. Frequent usage by shortwave radio operators, carried over into citizens’ band radio slang US, 1976
our friend with the talking brooch noun a uniformed police officer. A reference to the police radio worn on the uniform’s breast UK, 1992
OW noun a wife, a girlfriend. Citizens’ band radio slang, abbreviated from OLD WOMAN UK, 1981
persuader noun 1 any weapon, the more deadly the more persuasive UK, 1796. 2 a whip, as used by a bullock driver or a jockey AUSTRALIA, 1890. 3 a linear amplifier for a citizens’ band radio US, 1977
pository yes, affirmative. Citizens’ band radio slang US, 1976
pound noun 1 a five-dollar note US, 1935. 2 a five-year jail sentence US, 1967. 3 an ‘s’ unit (five decibels) in measuring the level of a citizens’ band radio signal US, 1976.
pregnant rollerskate; pregnant skateboard noun a Volkswagen ‘Beetle’ car. Citizens’ band radio slang US, 1976
radio noun a prisoner who talks loudly and without paying attention to who might be listening US, 1976
redneck radio noun citizens’ band radio US, 1977
rubber duckie noun a short, flexible, rubber-coated vehicle-mounted radio aerial. A jokey reference to ‘Rubber Duck’ as referring to the HANDLE (a citizens’ band radio identity) of the hero of the film Convoy, 1975 UK, 1981
rubber lip noun a citizens’ band radio user who monopolises conversation US, 1976
seat cover noun an attractive woman. Citizens’ band radio slang US, 1976
skate jockey noun a driver of a small car, especially a sports car. Citizens’ band radio slang, combines ‘skate’ (small car) with another form of ‘driver’ US, 1976
skunk juice; skunk juicer; skunk junker noun an illegal linear amplifier for a citizens’ band radio US, 1976
slammer noun 6 an illegal linear amplifier for a citizens’ band radio US, 1976
slider noun 1 an electronic device that allows operation between authorised channels on a citizens’ band radio US, 1976
socks noun a linear amplifier for a citizens’ band radio. From the term FOOTWARMER (a linear amplifier in a truck) US, 1976
splashover noun a signal leaking from one citizens’ band radio channel to another US, 1976
superslab noun a major road. Citizens’ band radio slang, elaboration of SLAB US, 1976
talking handbag noun a portable radio UK, 1996
thumb job noun a hitchthiker; the act of hitchhiking. Citizens’ band radio slang US, 1976
tiger in the tank noun a linear amplifier for a citizens’ band radio. From the 1960’s Esso advertising slogan ‘Put a tiger in your tank’US, 1976
Uncle Charlie noun 1 used as a representation of the dominant white culture in the US US, 1963. 2 among truckers using citizens’ band radio, the Federal Communications Commission US, 1976. 3 the Viet Cong US, 1985
ungowa; ungowa bwana yes, affirmative, OK. Citizens’ band radio slang US, 1976
Van Gogh noun a trucker operating with a citizens’ band radio. A trucker without a citizens’ band radio is said to be driving ‘without ears’, and hence the artistic allusion US, 1976
wallpaper noun . 3 a postcard acknowledging receipt of a citizens’ band or ham radio message US, 1976
windjammer noun 1 a person who talks too much US, 1949. 2 a citizens’ band radio user who monopolises conversation US, 1976.
Dangerous British Slang – http://frrl.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/britishslang.pdf