No Need to Swallow Every Dickie Bird; A New Guide Makes a Meal of Old and Modern Slang

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), November 7, 2001 | Go to article overview

No Need to Swallow Every Dickie Bird; A New Guide Makes a Meal of Old and Modern Slang


Byline: STEVE DUBE

Well kiss my chuddies. A tidy bloke has completed the first research into slang and its links with what we stuff down our cakeholes.

Grub, nosh or tuck is thought to be responsible for about 10pc of the 90,000 slang words and phrases in common use in Britain.

Lexicographer Jonathon Green has written a guide on the untold language of food, showing that some slang is very old.

For instance, saving one's bacon apparently dates back to 1300 when the whole body was known as a bacon, but jam pies, or lamb's fries, meaning someone's eyes, are more recent.

The icing on the cake is a section on contemporary teen slang, much of which is influenced by music such as hip-hop.

Examples include bacon - again - which can mean police, cheeseball for someone unattractive, and cherry meaning an annoying individual.

"He irks my tater" means, "he irritates me"; "open the lunchbox" is to break wind, and "veg out" for a lapse into inactivity.

Calling someone 'duck' dates back to the 1500s and appears in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, but 'chick' and 'chicken' have only been around as terms of endearment since the 1850s.

The guide also details regional phrases, many of which are little known outside.

For example, in the North-East of England, bait can mean food taken to work, hasty pudding is porridge, and ket is another word for sweet or something nice.

Mr Green said slang has its roots in making comparisons or subverting the meaning of innocent words.

"This report celebrates the untold story of the language of food from Shakespeare's day to the latest rap songs."

Compared with the sheer volume of slang in regular use, Green's report merely scratches the surface of a subject that infuriates purists and delights most linguists without over-egging the pudding.

Lunchbox of course has another popular meaning, perhaps best alluded to within a family newspaper by referring the reader to Linford Christie.

It's an example of how much slang originates from a few areas, such as sex and the gay, drugs and music scenes, that are dominated by younger generations.

In contrast, the elderly seem disinclined to create new words.

Wales has its own contributions. Everyone knows that tidy means good or satisfactory, while to rag is to tease or annoy someone. Daps is a particular Welsh slang word for plimsolls or trainers. To mither, meaning to fuss and bother, is also used in North-West England and the Midlands.

It's also a noun for a complaining or persistently bothering person.

Wales is a rich mine of slang, particularly with the advantage of its two languages. The subject was explored by John Talk Tidy and More Talk Tidy, both published by D Brown of Bridgend and both now out of print.

Coppish, for instance, is heard in both languages - your coppish is down means your flies are undone. It comes from the English codpiece, which indicates that it must be a good few centuries old.

The Welsh language has given Wenglish some unique words. Feeling didoreth, meaning you can't get anything done, comes directly from the Welsh, as does danted for fed up, from wedi danto.

One of the classic Anglo-Welsh slang words, twp, has also crossed straight over from Welsh.

Slang can be parochial. Swansea jacks call each other mush and wus - the last word comes from the Welsh gwas, servant. But at the top of the Swansea Valley they say bun, and once you get to Clydach it's mun. Both come from bychan - boy.

Cardiff is influenced by Somerset, so it's but or butty, from buddy, in the capital.

Examples of contemporary South Wales slang were recorded by pupils of Ysgol Glan Taf four years ago, and remain a fair summary of modern youth-talk. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

No Need to Swallow Every Dickie Bird; A New Guide Makes a Meal of Old and Modern Slang
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.