An initial 4A N2...?

Donald M Lance lancedm at MISSOURI.EDU
Mon Jul 1 19:27:36 UTC 2002

on 7/1/02 11:45 AM, Dave Wilton at dave at WILTON.NET wrote:

>> Are 'cool' 'pot' 'grass' slang?  Though they may be "associated with a
>> particular social grouping," they aren't used only by those
>> groups.  These terms are widely used but aren't exactly "standard."
>> What about a term like 'threads' for clothing?  Examples of why it's
>> so hard to define 'slang'.
> Which is precisely why I used the terms "associated with" and "vaguely
> defined group" regarding slang. The groups that use jargon are more
> precisely defined and organized (e.g., medical profession, police, Civil War
> reenactors, model railroaders), as opposed to say "drug culture" which
> encompasses crackhouse junkies, vice cops, Colombian drug lords, college
> students, and yuppie Wall Street stockbrokers.
> I would argue that "cool" has moved into standard American English. It's
> informal, but ubiquitous. Similarly, I would put "pot" into standard English
> nowadays. "Grass" is more problematic; I would still call that one slang.
> Another problem with defining "slang" is ephemerality. While most slang
> terms are ephemeral, some (like "grass" and "threads") hang around for
> decades. Slang is characterized by ephemerality, but it is not defined or
> categorized by it. The same could probably be said for social groups and
> slang usage.
I agree.  This is how I would have answered my own questions.


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