"laid" and other random BE slang in the HDAS

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Sun Jul 25 16:11:04 UTC 2004

"Slave" = ordinary job has been around for a while, but I have not encountered it with "cut."  Any related terms?


Wilson Gray <hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET> wrote:
---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Wilson Gray
Subject: "laid" and other random BE slang in the HDAS

I was pleasantly surprised to see the definitions "well-dressed" and
"stylishly dressed" for "laid" in the HDAS, since my impression
heretofore had been that this was a local meaning peculiar to black
Saint Louis, where the phrase "get laid" is - or, at least, was; I
first heard it in 1949 - merely another way to say "jump sharp" (= get
dressed up for public display, as at a house party or at a nightclub).

On the other hand, "jump sharp" itself, which I've always considered to
be - in olden times, at least - in universal use, appears to be
missing. I say "appears" because it's dark and I'm working without my
reading lamp. If I turn it on, one of our cats will come and stretch
out on top of the HDAS in order to catch some rays.

The HDAS has "break bad," but not the far hipper "break nasty," which
has exactly the same meaning and may be slightly older. I first heard
"break nasty" some time ca.1965, but I heard "break bad" so soon
thereafter that the sequence may be only coincidental.

"Nigger box," used by whites in the Greater Boston Area instead of
"ghetto box/blaster" since ca.1980, also appears to be missing.

"Mother for you" [muthuhFUHyuh is only trivially distinct from
muthuhFUHkuh] and "My Friend" (because of initial "M" & "F") are other
euphemisms for "motherfucker" and at least as old as the song, "Bad
Mother For You" by Dirty Red.

In BE, "ignorant stick" means "pushbroom."

"Cut the slave," meaning to "work at a regular, legal job" is missing.

-Wilson Gray

Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail is new and improved - Check it out!

More information about the Ads-l mailing list