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19 Old-Timey Slang Terms to Bolster Your Vocabulary

One of my favorite reference books on our office bookshelf is the Dictionary of American Slang (1967 edition). Here are some words and phrases you should awkwardly shoehorn into conversation.

1. In the ketchup: Operating at a deficit
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2. John Hollowlegs: A hungry man [hobo use]
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3. Lobbygow: One who loafs around an opium den in hopes of being offered a free pipe
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4. Happy cabbage: A sizable amount of money to be spent on self-satisfying things
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5. Zib: A nondescript nincompoop
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6. Give someone the wind: To jilt a suitor with great suddenness
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7. The zings: A hangover
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8. Butter and egg man: A wealthy, unsophisticated, small-town businessman who tries to become a playboy, especially when visiting a large city
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9. Cluck and grunt: Eggs and ham
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10. Off the cob: Corny

> > > 31 Adorable Slang Terms for Sexual Intercourse from the Last 600 Years

11. Dog robber: A baseball umpire
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12. Happies: Arch supporters [shoe salesman use]
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13. High-wine: A mixture of grain alcohol and Coca-Cola [hobo use]
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14. Flub the dub: To evade one's duty
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15. Donkey's breakfast: A straw mattress
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16. George Eddy: A customer who does not tip
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17. Wet sock: A limp, flaccid handshake
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18. Gazoozle: To cheat
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19. On a toot: On a drunken spree

> > > 4 Changes to English So Subtle We Hardly Notice They're Happening

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language
The Evolution of "Two" in the Indo-European Language Family
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The Indo-European language family includes most of the languages of Europe as well as many languages in Asia. There is a long research tradition that has shown, though careful historical comparison, that languages spanning a huge linguistic and geographical range, from French to Greek to Russian to Hindi to Persian, are all related to each other and sprung from a common source, Proto-Indo-European. One of the techniques for studying the relationship of the different languages to each other is to look at the similarities between individual words and work out the sound changes that led from one language to the next.

This diagram, submitted to Reddit by user IronChestplate1, shows the word for two in various Indo-European languages. (The “proto” versions, marked with an asterisk, are hypothesized forms, built by working backward from historical evidence.) The languages cluster around certain common features, but the words are all strikingly similar, especially when you consider the words for two in languages outside the Indo-European family: iki (Turkish), èjì (Yoruba), ni (Japanese), kaksi (Finnish), etc. There are many possible forms two could take, but in this particular group of languages it is extremely limited. What are the chances of that happening by accident? Once you see it laid out like this, it doesn’t take much to put *dwóh and *dwóh together.

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infographics
Beyond Plumbing: 19 Other Jobs on Mario's Resume
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Nintendo made news this week by subtly announcing that Mario is no longer a plumber. In fact, they're really downplaying his whole plumbing career. On the character's Japanese-language bio, the company says, "He also seems to have worked as a plumber a long time ago."

But Mario has always had plenty of jobs on the side. Here's a look at his resume:

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