Read this carefully. It is brilliant!
I was just planning to post this to a Link-O-Rama, but I liked too many of these! Here’s a few of my favorites from 59 More Slang Phrases From The 1920s We Should Start Using Again:
“Banana oil!”: “That’s doubtful!”
Barneymugging: sexual intercourse.
“Cash or Check?”: “Will you kiss me now or do we wait until later?” Note: “Check” on its own means to take a raincheck on kissing or save the kiss for another time.
Cast a Kitten: to throw a temper tantrum. (Also use for “temper tantrum”: “ing bing.”)
Dead Hoofer: a terrible dancer, someone with two left feet.
Eel’s Hips: a phrase similar to “The Cat’s Meow” or “The Monkey’s Eyebrows.”
Face Stretcher: an older lady still trying to look young (and usually failing).
Fire Extinguisher: the escort or chaperone for a social event. (Also use for “chaperone”: an “alarm clock.”)
Flat Tire: used to indicate that one’s date did not meet expectations. Example: “She seemed so interesting, but she was nothing but a flat tire!”
Mustard Plaster: someone who isn’t wanted but won’t leave.
Go check out the rest: 59 More Slang Phrases From The 1920s We Should Start Using Again
Mental Floss posted a list of “contronyms” or “self-antonyms,” namely words that mean their own opposite. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. Sanction (via French, from Latin sanctio(n-), from sancire ‘ratify,’) can mean ‘give official permission or approval for (an action)’ or conversely, ‘impose a penalty on.’
3. Left can mean either remaining or departed. If the gentlemen have withdrawn to the drawing room for after-dinner cigars, who’s left? (The gentlemen have left and the ladies are left.)
4. Dust, along with the next two words, is a noun turned into a verb meaning either to add or to remove the thing in question. Only the context will tell you which it is. When you dust are you applying dust or removing it? It depends whether you’re dusting the crops or the furniture.
10. Fast can mean “moving rapidly,” as in “running fast,” or ‘fixed, unmoving,’ as in “holding fast.” If colors are fast they will not run. The meaning ‘firm, steadfast’ came first. The adverb took on the sense ‘strongly, vigorously,’ which evolved into ‘quickly,’ a meaning that spread to the adjective.
Another strange category of words that I love seem to be called “autoholonyms.” Basically, these are words which refer to both the species and the genus. Here are some examples:
- “Cow” can be mean just female bovines or all bovines.
- “Day” can mean a 24 hour period or just the light portions thereof.
- “Man” can refer to all humans (contrast: animals) or just male humans (contrast: woman) or just adult male humans (contrast: boy).
Can you think of other common words that fit that pattern? I want to know more!
Oh, my… the question of how to properly punctuate sexual desire is indeed a tricky (and damn funny) one. Here’s a tidbit:
Technically, you could fix this with a semicolon….
“You smell so good; it’s making me stupid.”
In some ways this is the right thing to do. A semicolon is the official way to show two independent clauses have a close relationship to each other.
Here’s the problem: Semicolons are for wankers. Seriously. You can go your whole life without ever needing to really use a semicolon.
Unless you’re an academic, of course. If you’re an academic, you’ve got to use semicolon to impress other wankers with how much of a wanker you are so you can get your paper published. You know, that paper you wrote detailing your in-depth Marxist interpretation of the last eight lines of John Donne’s “The Flea?” The paper where you used the word “moreover” twenty-seven times in eleven pages?
Most importantly, a semicolon looks really strange in a piece of casual dialogue. People don’t speak using semicolons. Unless they’re wankers.
I love semicolons… but colons are even more fabulously wankerish!
A recent conversation Chez Hsieh:
Me to Paul: It’s not a problem, the computer is backuping right now…. backuping… backuping…” Paul: “You mean ‘backing up’?” Me: “YES. Backing up.”
Really, just try reading the whole thing from beginning to end. I dare you!
Even better, she posted a few follow-up comments in response to others, including:
Language and grammar are also topics that have generally been widely debated, it may be interesting to me to see how others would correct my sentences sometimes or rewrite them for me, that would not offend me, if you can write what I write better than I can then you should show me that way I can learn from it.
“The Hokey Pokey,” as if written by William Shakespeare:
O proud left foot, that ventures quick within Then soon upon a backward journey lithe. Anon, once more the gesture, then begin: Command sinistral pedestal to writhe. Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Poke, A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl. To spin! A wilde release from Heavens yoke. Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl. The Hoke, the poke — banish now thy doubt Verily, I say, ’tis what it’s all about.
I couldn’t find a proper source for this bit of awesome, but it’s often attributed to Jeff Brechlin. If anyone knows more, I’d love to hear it in the comments!