Don’t you just love reading a blog post that fires up your imagination and gets those word wheels turning in your brain? Back on May 7th I read Elle Hill’s missive, When Good Cliches Go Bad, on the use of language in novels. Including slang. Used well, slang can be a great way to world-build or nail characters… or not. Writers also run the risk of confusing the hell out of their readers by using slang badly.
My use of slang in fiction, and even nonfiction, is very limited. Call me a nervous writer, but when it comes to writing I play it safe. Yet my brain perks up when it comes to new words and phrases. From my toddler nieces to Court TV, from books to Twitter and blogs, my vocabulary is ever expanding. Below are some terms that aren’t listed in my beaten-up and beloved copy of “Slang and Its Analogues” by J.S. Farmer and W.E. Henley.
Roach Coach: Taco vans or any motorized vehicle serving food.
Bingo Wings: Loose skin, arm waddle that jiggles when grandma raises her arm and yells “bingo.”
De-virginated: The new term for losing one’s virginity!
Stomach cough: Who knew our digestive systems could grow flem-hacking mini-lungs? It’s a belly cough that requires a missed day of pre-school.
Wally World: I must be the last person on the planet to realize Wally World is actually WALMART!
Lot Lizards: Truck stop hookers.
Embiggen: Enlarge a photo.
There are loads more, some G-rated… others not so much. I’d love to know what informal language colors your world. So bring on the slang!