Showing posts with label Slang. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Slang. Show all posts

May 8, 2020

Wordology, Slang

Non-standard, slang or colloquial terms used by English speakers are sometimes alleged not to be real words, despite appearing in numerous dictionaries. Irregardless is sometimes dismissed as not a word. All words in English became accepted by being commonly used for a certain period of time; thus there are many informal words currently regarded as "incorrect" in formal speech or writing, but the idea that they are not words is a misconception. Examples of words that are sometimes alleged not to be words include "conversate", "funnest", "mentee", "impactful", and "thusly", all of which appear in numerous dictionaries as English words.

Incidentally, slang is a type of language that consists 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, such as grass is slang for marijuana.

Nov 20, 2015

Brownie Points

The term originated with the points earned for various achievements by the youngest group of the Girl Scouts, called Brownies. Brownie points are imaginary points earned by someone for doing a good deed, and lost by doing something bad.

The Girl Scout or Girl Guide Brownies took their name from the mythical creature, the brownie. The mythical brownies were known for being kind and helpful and performing household chores while a family slept. The girl-brownies are supposed to emulate this behavior, being quietly helpful without asking for much in return. (Historical Dictionary of American Slang argues that Brownie points, was US army slang from WWII.)

The slang brown-noser, seems to have first popped up around 1939. It is defined in the 1944 edition of American Speech, as: "A person who is always asking and answering questions in class to impress the instructor. Also a person who stays after class to try to insinuate himself into the teacher’s good graces." This hints at the brown-noser / brownie points connection and how the behavior of Brownies might have overlapped with that of brown-nosers. However, it is American military slang and alludes to the practice of 'brown nosing', or 'arse-licking'. The older term brown-nose is used for a person who curries favor to such an extent that his nose seems to be up his superior’s backside.