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SLANG SLANG, informal, non-standard words and phrases, generally shorter lived than the expressions of ordinary colloquial

speech, and typically formed by creative, often witty uxtapositions of words or images! Slang can be contrasted with argon "technical language of occupational or other groups# and with argot or cant "secret vocabulary of underworld groups#, but the borderlines separating these categories from slang are greatly blurred, and some writers use the terms cant, argot, and argon in a general way to include all the foregoing meanings! $rigins Slang tends to originate in subcultures within a society! $ccupational groups "for example, loggers, police, medical professionals, and computer specialists# are prominent originators of both argon and slang% other groups creating slang include the armed forces, teenagers, racial minorities, ghetto residents, labor unions, citi&ens-band radiobroadcasters, sports groups, drug addicts, criminals, and even religious denominations "'piscopalians, for example, produced spi(e, a )igh *hurch Anglican#! Slang expressions often embody attitudes and values of group members! +hey may thus contribute to a sense of group identity and may convey to the listener information about the spea(er,s bac(ground! -efore an apt expression becomes slang, however, it must be widely adopted by members of the subculture! At this point slang and argon overlap greatly! .f the subculture has enough contact with the mainstream culture, its figures of speech become slang expressions (nown to the whole society! /or example, cat "a sport#, cool "aloof, stylish#, 0r! *harley "a white man#, +he 0an "the law#, and 1ncle +om "a mee( blac(# all originated in the predominantly blac( )arlem district of New 2or( *ity and have traveled far since their inception! Slang is thus generally not tied to any geographic region within a country! A slang expression may suddenly become widely used and as quic(ly date "34-s(iddoo#! .t may become accepted as standard speech, either in its original slang meaning "bus, from omnibus# or with an altered, possibly tamed meaning " a&&, which originally had sexual connotations#! Some expressions have persisted for centuries as slang "boo&e for alcoholic beverage#! .n the 35th century, mass media and rapid travel have speeded up both the circulation and the demise of slang terms! +elevision and novels have turned criminal cant into slang "five grand for 67555#! *hanging social circumstances may stimulate the spread of slang! 8rug-related expressions "such as pot and mari uana# were virtually a secret argon in the 9:;5s% in the 9:<5s they were adopted by rebellious youth% and in the 9:=5s and ,>5s they were widely (nown! 1ses .n some cases slang may provide a needed name for an ob ect or action "wal(ie-tal(ie, a portable two-way radio% tailgating, driving too close behind another vehicle#, or it may offer an emotional outlet "bu&& off? for go away?# or a satirical or patroni&ing reference "smo(ey, state highway trooper#! .t may provide euphemisms " ohn, head, can, and in -ritain, loo, all for toilet, itself originally a euphemism#, and it may allow its user to create a shoc( effect by using a pungent slang expression in an unexpected context! Slang has provided myriad synonyms for parts of the body "bean, head% schno&&le, nose#, for money "moola, bread, scratch#, for food "grub, slop, garbage#, and for drun(enness "soused, stewed, plastered#! /ormation Slang expressions are created by the same processes that affect ordinary speech! 'xpressions may ta(e form as metaphors, similes, and other figures of speech "dead as a doornail#! @ords may acquire new meanings "cool, cat#! A narrow meaning may become generali&ed "fin(,

originally a stri(ebrea(er, later a betrayer or disappointer# or vice-versa "heap, a run-down car#! @ords may be clipped, or abbreviated "mi(e, microphone#, and acronyms may gain currency "A.B, awol, snafu#! A foreign suffix may be added "the 2iddish and Cussian -ni( in beatni(# and foreign words adopted "baloney, from -ologna#! A change in meaning may ma(e a vulgar word acceptable " a&&# or an acceptable word vulgar "raspberry, a sound imitating flatus% from raspberry tart in the rhyming slang of Australia and *oc(ney London% see DACG$N#! Sometimes words are newly coined "oomph, sex appeal, and later, energy or impact#! Bosition in the Language Slang is one of the vehicles through which languages change and become renewed, and its vigor and color enrich daily speech! Although it has gained respectability in the 35th century, in the past it was often loudly condemned as vulgar! Nevertheless, Sha(espeare brought into acceptable usage such slang terms as hubbub, to bump, and to dwindle, and 35th-century writers have used slang brilliantly to convey character and ambience! Slang appears at all times and in all languages! A person,s head was (apala "dish# in Sans(rit, testa "pot# in Latin% testa later became the standard Latin word for head! Among @estern languages, 'nglish, /rench, Spanish, .talian, German, 2iddish, Comanian, and Comany "Gypsy# are particularly rich in slang! DACG$N, vocabulary used by a special group or occupational class, usually only partially understood by outsiders! +he special vocabularies of medicine, law, ban(ing, science and technology, education, military affairs, sports, and the entertainment world all fall under the heading of argon! 'xamples of occupational argon include such formal technical expressions as perorbital hematoma "blac( eye, to the layperson#, in medicine, and escrow and discount rate, in finance, and informal terms such as licorice stic( "clarinet, among a&& musicians#! *ant, sometimes defined as false or insincere language, also "li(e argot# refers to the argon and slang used by thieves and beggars and the underworld! *olorful terms and phrases such as mug "either a police photograph or to attac( a victim#, payola "graft or blac(mail#, hoo(er "prostitute#, and to rub out or to blow away "to (ill# are among examples of cant that eventually became commonly understood and that were adopted as slang by society in general! Some writers reserve the term argon for technical language! Applied to colorful occupational expressions such as licorice stic(, the concepts of argon and slang overlap greatly! .n general, however, slang is more casual and acceptable to outsiders than argon! Slang and cant are more vivid than argon, with a greater turnover in vocabulary! +he special in-group speech of young people and of members of distinct ethnic groups is generally called slang, especially when it is understood by outsiders! Some writers use the term argot in a generali&ed way that covers cant, in-group slang, and occupational argonEno uniform terminology has been adopted for these common ways of using language! +he term argon, however, also pertains in general to gibberish and unintelligible language and to overinflated, needlessly technical language! .n addition, it can refer to specific dialects resulting from a mix of several languages "as in *hinoo( Dargon, used by American .ndian traders#!