The definition of Slang
Defining slang
Difference between Jargon, slang and cant
Extent and origins of slang
Extent and origins of slang
Extent and origins of slang
General and special slang
Types of slang
Internet slang
The Viral Words You Need To Know
Viral words
Viral words
Viral words
Viral words
Viral words
Viral words
Viral words
Viral words
Viral words
Answers to the quiz:
Regional slang
Money slang
Slang dictionaries
Dictionaries of Slang
Why do people use it?
Ways of slang formation
Grammar of spoken English
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Category: englishenglish

Slang. Difference between Jargon, slang and cant

1. Slang

“Slang is a language which takes off its coat,
spits on its hands - and goes to work”
Carl Sandburg

2. The definition of Slang

Slang is the use of informal words and
expressions that are not considered standard in
the speaker's language or dialect but are
considered acceptable in certain social settings.
Slang expressions may act as:
a means of identifying with one's peers.

3. Defining slang

A type of language consisting of words and phrases that
are regarded as very informal, are more common in
speech than writing, and are typically restricted to a
particular context or group of people (Oxford Dictionary)
Words that are not considered part of the standard
vocabulary of a language and that are used very
informally in speech especially by a particular group of
An informal nonstandard vocabulary composed
typically of coinages, arbitrarily changed words, and
extravagant, forced, or facetious figures of speech
(Merriam Webster Dictionary)

4. Difference between Jargon, slang and cant

Jargon usually means the specialized language
used by people in the same work or profession
and it is used:
to exclude non–group members from the
to allow its users to talk precisely about
technical issues in any given field;
Cant is a language specific to a particular
group or profession and regarded with
disparagement: thieves' cant

5. Extent and origins of slang

During the Middle Ages, certain writers such as Jeoffrey Chaucer,
William Caxton, and William of Malmesbury represented the
regional differences in pronunciations and dialects. The different
dialects and the different pronunciations represented the first
meaning for the term “slang.”
The present-day meaning for slang did not begin forming until the
16th or 17th century. The English Criminal Cant developed in the
16th century. It was a new kind of speech used by criminals and
cheats. Out of the four million people who spoke English, only
about ten thousand spoke the English Criminal Cant.
The English Criminal Cant was at first believed to be foreign,
meaning scholars thought that it had either originated in Romania
or had a relationship to French. By the end of the 16th century this
new style of speaking was considered to be a language “without
reason or order” (Thorne 23). During the 18th century
schoolmasters taught pupils to believe that the English Criminal
Cant (which by this time had developed into slang) was not the
correct usage of English and slang was considered to be taboo.

6. Extent and origins of slang

The 18th century slang was beginning to be presented in
popular plays. The first appearance of the slang was in a
play by Richard Brome’s and later appeared in poems and
songs by J. Copland.
By the 1700’s the cultural differences in America had begun
to influence the English-speaking population, and slang
began to expand.
Almost all of the slang words during this time were
anatomical and well known all through Britain and in
America due to the British colonists.
By this time scholars such as Walt Whitman, W. D.
Whitney, and Brander Matthews all considered slang to be
anything that sounded new, and that was not in the
“glossaries of British dialects” (Thorne 26). Walt Whitman
consider slang to be the life of the language. Whitman
wrote “that slang was a wholesome.....of common
humanity to escape the form bald literalism, and express
itself illimitably” (Thorne 26).

7. Extent and origins of slang

It was not until the early 1920’s that slang had
gained the interest of popular writers. It was
during the post-World War I era that society
gained new attitudes about slang. There was now
a demand for entertainment, mass media, and
slangy fiction.
Today modern British and American slang has
been shaped and reshaped by the different cultures
and the emergence of technology, which has left
our society with varieties of slang from extremes
like Street/Drug Slang to African-American Slang.


9. General and special slang

General slang includes words that are not specific
for any social or professional group, whereas
special slang is peculiar for some such group:
teenager slang, university slang, public school
slang, Air Force slang, football slang, sport slang,
sea slang, and so on
General slang:
make one’s bones-убивать кого-нибудь,
old flame-старая любовь,
Sport (special) slang:

10. Types of slang

Cockney Rhyming slang
(the East End of London):
Nails → Monkey’s tails → tails
Wig → Farmer’s pig → pig
Pub → bath tub → tub
Head → loaf of bread → bread
Feet → plates of meat → plates
Mariah Carey → scary
Calvin Klein → wine
Barack Obama → pyjamas
Dark → Jurassic Park

11. Polari

(or alternatively Parlare, Parlary, Palare, Palarie,
Palari; from Italian parlare, "to talk") is a form of
cant slang used in Britain by actors, circus and fairground
showmen, merchant navy sailors, criminals, prostitutes, and
the gay subculture:
aunt nell – listen, hear;
aunt nell danglers – ear-rings;
bona nochy - goodnight (from Italian - buona notte);
chicken – a young man;
clobber – clothes.

12. Internet slang

Internet users have developed many slang terms over
the years. Most of these are not actually acronyms as
they cannot be pronounced, but that is what they are
called nonetheless. There are also examples of
lexical abbreviations. Many of these terms originated
for saving keystrokes:
Be back soon → BBC
Have a nice day → HAND
To be honest → TBO
Please leave me alone → PF*O
Probably → prolly
Never mind → n/m
Whatever → w/e

13. The Viral Words You Need To Know

If you're keeping it 100, you're acting in a way that's true to yourself
and aligned with your values, as well as being respectful to others.
Larry Wilmore always kept it 100 during his daily TV show segment.

14. Viral words

Use this response when you 100% agree with a statement. Onehundred percent = hundo p. Only use it when you are positive
about something.
"Do you think you're going to go to the party tonight?"
"Hundo p — let's split an Uber."

15. Viral words

JOMO, aka "the joy of missing out." Because sometimes, there's nothing
sweeter than curling up in bed with a book on a Friday night, even as the
city parties and swirls around you.
*passes by a line of people waiting to get into a club on a slushy weekend in
You: Ah. Sweet, sweet, JOMO.

16. Viral words

No, this doesn't describe an aggressive barnyard animal. Goat is actually
an acronym for "Greatest of All Time." The term's actually been used to
describe athletes since the 1990s, and pops up in hip hop tracks.
You: "I'm the goat."
Me: *raise single eyebrow skeptically*

17. Viral words

To be exceptionally bitter or agitated. This particular irritation typically
stems from a past event that you still haven't gotten over.
Melissa didn't ask me to be her bridesmaid even though she promised me she
would while we were in college, and I'm totally salty about it.

18. Viral words

If you use Instagram and follow celebrities, you have surely seen a
few "FB!" and "LB" messages in their comments sections. It
actually means "follow back," while LB means "like back." The
purpose of writing these is to get more likes and followers on your
Instagram page.
"Why does every photo on Kylie Jenner's account say
"Oh, those are teens begging for people to visit their Instagram pages and
like their photos."

19. Viral words

TD stands for "to die." Most often used when something is too amazing
and you’re worried you might just…die.
“Do you like this jacket on me?"
"It's TD. Buy it."

20. Viral words

To delete someone, or something, out of your life. It's often used in the
past tense.
"Have you talked to that guy from Tinder?"
"Nah, it's cancelled."

21. Viral words

The new way to greet your group of close friends, or even an individual
"Hey, fam."
"Sup, fam."

22. Viral words

Anyone who isn’t necessary to the situation. Or someone who you or
your friends don’t know or like.
“Do you know who that is?”
“No, he’s extra.”

23. Quiz

Choose the correct definition for the slang
1) Lush (adj):
a) rich;
b) very good;
c) drunk

24. Quiz

2) minging (adj):
a) smth that sounds very good;
b) tasty;
c) very ugly.
3) epic (adj):
a)very long and boring;
b) excellent, the best;
c) Frightening or scary.

25. Quiz

4) bare:
a) very bad;
b) a lot of; very much;
c) the minimum; very little.
5) totes:
a)an informal way of saying “hello” or “high”;
b) totally or completely given as a sign of
c) socks.

26. Answers to the quiz:

Lush – very good;
Minging – very ugly;
Epic – excellent, the best;
Bare – a lot of, very much;
Totes – totally or completely, given as a sign of

27. Regional slang

"John's missus is flat out bangin'. But she was tampin' the other day 'cause
he bombed her out for the boys instead of going to the cinema. She started
mouthing. It was hilarious."
(Bishopston Comprehensive School, Swansea, Wales)
"John's chick is proper buff but she switched on her man the other day
'cos he wanted to jam with his bred'rins instead of taking her out to the
cinema. She was proper vexed and dust out. It was bare jokes."
(Phoenix High School, Shepherds Bush, West London)
"John's girlfriend is pure stunnin'. But she was ragin' cos he dogged her
out of it to got to the pictures with his muckers. She pure went into one
and booted. It was some craic."
(St Cecilia's College, Londonderry, Northern Ireland)
"John's girlfriend is well fit. But... he wanna chill out wid his m8s rather
than take her to the film. She got like well lairy and she legged it. LOL."
(Rodborough School, Godalming, Surrey)

28. Interpretation

John's girlfriend is really pretty. But she got mad with
him the other day because he wanted to hang out with
his friends rather than take her to the cinema. She got
really angry and stormed off. It was very funny.

29. Money slang

Used by markets, street traders, crime and
underworld, the docks, taxi-cab driving,
the immigrant communities:
Bread or Dough: money in general
(on the analogy of it being a staple of life);
Dead presidents: paper money
(from the portraits of various former US presidents that
usually distinguish bills of various denominations);
Cabbage or Lettuce: paper money
(from its color);
Fins: five-dollar bills;
Bag of sand (grand): one thousand pounds;
Big Ben: ten pounds

30. Slang dictionaries

Dictionaries of slang
contain elements from
areas of substandard
speech such as vulgarisms,
jargonisms, taboo words,
colloquialisms, etc.

31. Dictionaries of Slang

The first work to record English slang was
published as B.E.'s Dictionary of the Canting Crew in
Modern works include:
Eric Partridge's famous Dictionary of Slang and
Unconventional English (1937; most recently edited
by Paul Beale, 2002),
The Oxford Dictionary of Slang (edited by John
Ayto, 1998),
The Slang Thesaurus (2nd edition, edited by
Jonathon Green, 1999),
the Cassell Dictionary of Slang (also edited by
Jonathon Green, 2000).


33. Why do people use it?

To be picturesque, arresting, striking and,
above all, different from others;
To avoid the tedium of outmoded hackneyed
"common" words;
To demonstrate one's spiritual independence
and daring;
To sound "modern" and "up-to-date".

34. Ways of slang formation

Different figures of speech:
“Trip” - psychedelic experience resulting from the
drug LSD (metaphor);
"Funky" – stink (a very low term for body odour)
→ the best (elevation);
Rhyming: “girl” → “twist and twirl”;
Compounding: “faceache” – a miserable looking
Abbreviation: “OTL”→ out to lunch → out of
touch with reality;
Building up phrasal verbs by conversion from
word groups using “out, off, on”: “blow off” –

35. Grammar of spoken English

1. There are less words in French than in English.
2. You should of come with us on holiday!
3. So I’m like ‘What are you doing?’ and she’s like ‘What do you think I’m
4. There’s lots of different possibilities.
5. That new restaurant in town, have you been there yet?
6. This sentence is different to the others.
7. We’d better leave now, shouldn’t we?
8. ‘How are you?’ ‘I’m good, thanks.’
9. I’m loving the new Daft Punk record.
10. If I was you I’d quit smoking.
11. She’s a great dancer, Maria is.
12. Whenever I tell someone a joke, they always laugh.
13. You ready?
14. It’s a kind of, um, thingy you use to open a bottle. Know what I
15. A: He’s always going on, isn’t he? B: Uh-huh. A: I mean, he never
stops talking. B: All the time. Never stops.
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