Try Our Apps


Gobble up these 8 terms for eating


[slang] /slæŋ/
very informal usage in vocabulary and idiom that is characteristically more metaphorical, playful, elliptical, vivid, and ephemeral than ordinary language, as Hit the road.
(in English and some other languages) speech and writing characterized by the use of vulgar and socially taboo vocabulary and idiomatic expressions.
the jargon of a particular class, profession, etc.
the special vocabulary of thieves, vagabonds, etc.; argot.
verb (used without object)
to use slang or abusive language.
verb (used with object)
to assail with abusive language.
Origin of slang1
1750-60; origin uncertain
4. cant.
Usage note
See informal.


[slang] /slæŋ/
verb, Nonstandard.
simple past tense of sling1 .

slang dictionary

a specialized dictionary covering the words, phrases, and idioms that reflect the least formal speech of a language. These terms are often metaphorical and playful, and are likely to be evanescent as the spoken language changes from one generation to another. Much slang belongs to specific groups, as the jargon of a particular class, profession, or age group. Some is vulgar. Some slang terms have staying power as slang, but others make a transition into common informal speech, and then into the standard language. An online slang dictionary, such as the Slang Dictionary, provides immediate information about the meaning and history of a queried term and its appropriateness or lack of appropriateness in a range of social and professional circumstances. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for slang
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You had so far escaped the tobacco habit and I had hoped you would escape the slang habit.

    My Boyhood John Burroughs
  • In short, to use a slang expression, I distinctly got away with it.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • A writer on the subject of slang has given us two good examples of meaningless and expressive slang.

    Stories That Words Tell Us Elizabeth O'Neill
  • Tim was picking up all the city boys' false pride as well as their slang.

  • To use a slang term, but one full of expressiveness, he had “the drop” on them.

    The Boy Scouts' Mountain Camp John Henry Goldfrap
British Dictionary definitions for slang


  1. vocabulary, idiom, etc, that is not appropriate to the standard form of a language or to formal contexts, may be restricted as to social status or distribution, and is characteristically more metaphorical and transitory than standard language
  2. (as modifier): a slang word
another word for jargon1
to abuse (someone) with vituperative language; insult
Derived Forms
slangy, adjective
slangily, adverb
slanginess, noun
Word Origin
C18: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for slang

1756, "special vocabulary of tramps or thieves," later "jargon of a particular profession" (1801), of uncertain origin, the usual guess being that it is from a Scandinavian source, cf. Norwegian slengenamn "nickname," slengja kjeften "to abuse with words," literally "to sling the jaw," related to Old Norse slyngva "to sling." But OED, while admitting "some approximation in sense," discounts this connection based on "date and early associations." Liberman also denies it, as well as any connection with French langue (or language or lingo). Rather, he derives it elaborately from an old slang word meaning "narrow piece of land," itself of obscure origin. Century Dictionary says "there is no evidence to establish a Gipsy origin." Sense of "very informal language characterized by vividness and novelty" first recorded 1818.

[S]lang is a conscious offence against some conventional standard of propriety. A mere vulgarism is not slang, except when it is purposely adopted, and acquires an artificial currency, among some class of persons to whom it is not native. The other distinctive feature of slang is that it is neither part of the ordinary language, nor an attempt to supply its deficiencies. The slang word is a deliberate substitute for a word of the vernacular, just as the characters of a cipher are substitutes for the letters of the alphabet, or as a nickname is a substitute for a personal name. [Henry Bradley, from "Slang," in "Encyclopedia Britannica," 11th ed.]
A word that ought to have survived is slangwhanger (1807, American English) "noisy or abusive talker or writer."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
slang in Culture

slang definition

Expressions that do not belong to standard written English. For example, “flipping out” is slang for “losing one's mind” or “losing one's temper.” Slang expressions are usually inappropriate in formal speech or writing. (See jargon.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for slang



: Federal regulators plan to adopt tougher rules against switching customers' long-distance companies without their knowledge, a practice known as ''slamming'' (1990s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
slang in Technology

1. R.A. Sibley. CACM 4(1):75-84 (Jan 1961).
2. Set LANGuage. Jastrzebowski, ca 1990. C extension with set-theoretic data types and garbage collection. "The SLANG Programming Language Reference Manual, Version 3.3", W. Jastrzebowski , 1990.
3. Structured LANGuage. Michael Kessler, IBM. A language based on structured programming macros for IBM 370 assembly language. "Project RMAG: SLANG (Structured Language) Compiler", R.A. Magnuson, NIH-DCRT-DMB-SSS-UG105, NIH, DHEW, Bethesda, MD 20205 (1980).
4. "SLANG: A Problem Solving Language for Continuous-Model Simulation and Optimisation", J.M. Thames, Proc 24th ACM Natl Conf 1969.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Word Value for slang

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for slang