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Very Local Slang ... or Is It Jargon?

Does your family (or group of friends, for that matter) have words or terminology that are unique to you? I mean, when you say xword, you all know what's meant, but anyone else is likely to go "Huh?"

For instance: this is the humble yet soothingly tasty sweet steamed rice cake, which the Intarwebs say is called something like pak tong kou (attempts at rendering the Chinese into English vary):

(Photo from Wikimedia)

It's commonly found at restaurants that serve dim sum.

However, among our family and my friend Kat's family (who are the folks with whom we usually do dim sum), this is known as square meal.

Yes. Square. I know that the picture shows a triangular cake. But the first time we had them, they were cut in squares. And someone called them "square meal" in reference to what poor Milo is served in The Phantom Tollbooth when he's asked what he wants for dinner, and unwisely, he recalls an expression of his mom's, and says "I think we should have a square meal." And he's served a platter of squares. Which don't taste like much, unlike steamed rice cakes, which are nice.

And the name stuck.

So: Do you have any interesting alternative terminology in your life? Please tell!



( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 2nd, 2009 04:50 am (UTC)
Yeah ...
... but it's kinda dumb.

Somewhere down the line, I mindlessly shortened "okay dokey" (slang for "doing fine") down the line to "okaydoe", said as if it was one word.

Basic usage is horrible. "You okaydoe?"

I ... try not to do that out of the house.

Dec. 3rd, 2009 12:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Yeah ...

>> I ... try not to do that out of the house. <<


You couldn't possiby get any weirder looks than we used to get when discussing Dungeons and Dragons in public!

Dec. 2nd, 2009 04:56 am (UTC)
My father calls cats "wassers." I am not sure how exactly this came about, except that it dates back to his childhood.
Dec. 3rd, 2009 12:25 pm (UTC)

Wow, interesting! I wonder what that came from? Maybe someone's name ... .

Dec. 2nd, 2009 05:00 am (UTC)
No fun stories here, but that looks tasty. I love steamed buns, rice cakes, etc but haven't had that particular pak tong kou. Might have to try making it at home sometime this winter, if I'm not too lazy to let it ferment.
Dec. 3rd, 2009 12:27 pm (UTC)

It didn't really strike me how odd that was until the Mr. was labeling boxes of leftover dim sum to take home. The box with the sweets said "1 custard tart, 1 pineapple bun, 1 square meal."


Dec. 2nd, 2009 05:31 am (UTC)
Are you kidding? I basically can't have a conversation of more than about 10 minutes' length with anyone other than macavitykitsune! It's too much work to explain things like Moo Toss, Drape, and CST.
Dec. 2nd, 2009 05:36 am (UTC)
Oh dear god. A'mael and I practically have our own language by this point; I swear our synapses have fused by this point. -_- We have bunch of them, really. There's mice, bigcats (not related - well, directly), moo tosses and catches.... *grins* is FUN.
Dec. 2nd, 2009 05:41 am (UTC)
Okay, so. For clarification, then:

Moo Toss: A statement or explanation that is ridiculously obvious and/or patently false and/or flagrantly impolite but which the listener has no choice but to accept due to expectation, embarrassment, or social constraint. It's hard to find an example, but the general idea is that of putting a cow in a pen full of sheep. The cow can moo, but the sheep hear a bleat, because acknowledging the cow is Not Done. When the cow realises that teh sheep only hear a bleat, it moos louder and louder with the full and smug knowledge that it can't possibly be heard as a moo.

Moo Catch: An explanation for something odd that is created by one person in order to avoid having to acknowledge the truth. ie: "I keep finding magazines full of naked men in my 17 year-old son's room. He must have a secret girlfriend who leaves this stuff behind."

Bigcat: The lazy, satisfied disposition and physical deportment of a person who is feeling particularly content. Usually follows sex, but is not limited to it. Named for the similarity to large hunting cats in repose. Our OC, Kieran, spends a lot of his time in this state due to being a smug bastard who has a Ted.

Drape: OC Ted's usual response to Kieran's Bigcatting. Consists of hanging off him like a supremely contented curtain, and usually involves petting of some kind.

CST: Creepy Selective Telepathy. Caused by two or more people writing the same thing into IM simultaneously, or conversely by two people saying the same thing out loud. It happens a lot with us!

Sorry, but it was way too tempting to resist!
Dec. 4th, 2009 03:08 am (UTC)

Aww, thanks for explaining it all to me! That's very cute!

I've experienced CST myself. It happens surprisingly often with my co-worker, who is a very different sort of person otherwise.

Dec. 4th, 2009 03:09 am (UTC)

Thanks for convincing her to explain it!

Dec. 2nd, 2009 09:12 am (UTC)
YES. In my family there are tons. My mother's fault, really. Then I talk to my friends and they don't get me. Unfortunately, they're all Spanish terms.

Another thing we do a lot, is to quote movies' titles when we're having a normal conversation. Everytime we need to say a word which is the main word of a movie, we continue with the rest of the title, even if it has no sense in the conversation. The worst part is when we do it outside and people don't know the movie or don't make the conection, so they think we're talking rubbish.
Dec. 4th, 2009 12:41 pm (UTC)

Movie titles ... yeah, we do some of that too! The "That word -- I do not think it means what you think it means" comes up a a lot. (Along with "Never get involved in a land war in Asia!")

Dec. 5th, 2009 10:53 am (UTC)
He, he. "The Princess Bride" is such a classic that my friends DO get me when I quote it. Glad to see I'm not alone in this!
Dec. 2nd, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC)
We call the cats K (s). So dumb. >_> Example: "The Ks all attacked me when I got up this morning, so I succumbed to their extortion and gave them a can of catfood."
Dec. 4th, 2009 12:43 pm (UTC)

Hmmm ... was there an in-between phase involving "Kitties," maybe?

I call our rabbits all sorts of silly things: bunrabs, bungaboos, bungles, bungaroos.

(Edit for messed-up icon choice.)

Edited at 2009-12-04 12:44 pm (UTC)
Dec. 4th, 2009 12:48 pm (UTC)
Haha! It is dumber than that. >_> There was an episode of Dr Who where the alien people of the week were named things like Poofy W. or Emile Z. or Gojyo S, and we thought that was pretty funny, so we started called the cats their name plus K (yes, for Kitty >_>): Harpo K, Persephone K, etc. Then it morphed into the Ks.
Dec. 5th, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
That's not dumb -- clearly, they have their own feline surnames! :)
Dec. 3rd, 2009 02:30 am (UTC)
There are some hoity toity cheese puffy things that we buy at the co-op and call "Cheesy Poofs" from South Park. Here they are. They are ridiculously good for trashy food.

I'm sure there's more but I can't think of anything.
Dec. 4th, 2009 12:46 pm (UTC)

At our house, salad gets called "slad" a lot, too.

Dec. 4th, 2009 12:49 pm (UTC)
Haha yes, we call those things cheesy poofs too. :D I could eat a bag of those. They are insidious. >_>
Dec. 6th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
And the worst is that they get better the further down the bag you go!
Dec. 3rd, 2009 07:07 am (UTC)
Does your family (or group of friends, for that matter) have words or terminology that are unique to you? I mean, when you say xword, you all know what's meant, but anyone else is likely to go "Huh?"

Yes. My family kind of speaks that as a dialect, including sound effects and whistles. My father's catch-all query for everything from confirming information in common to checking emotional status is "Saright?" which I believe I finally traced back to Señor Wences; my brother went through an effortful period of learning not to curse reflexively, resulting in hilariously minced oaths like "Shizmonkeys!" not raising an eyebrow around the house. Also my mother has nominal aphasia, so expressions like "Put your feet on" (sometimes shortened simply to "Feet!") are understood to mean, "Get your shoes on; time to leave." Then there's the usual mix of non-English which mutates into household slang, in our case primarily Yiddish; some of it turned out to be perfectly standard ("Don't nudzh") and some of it remains mysterious, like the fact that my grandmother would refer to a particular kind of desultory misting rain as mazeling, which I think is what happened when mizzling met mazel tov, but it's also possible it came down independently from eleventh-century German or who knows what. Throw in the bits that are film or book references ("Pastels!"—"I want my Cheesy Spoo!"—"Moon!") and all bets are off.

I find more common currency among my friend groups, because expressions travel, but it's not uniform; I still have one group of friends for whom the term dingbat describes a very specific flavor of fiction and others for whom it's just a silly adjective. And then you get into expressions or turns of phrase or sentence structure ("That is not best") and you'll be cataloguing for the rest of your life.
Dec. 5th, 2009 03:06 pm (UTC)
family words

Minced oaths: yeah, I do that at the office, resulting in dire pronouncements like "Crud!" and "That freaked the stuffing out of me!" Middle-aged female civil servants aren't supposed to swear ...

I like "put your feet on"!

Our family used a good bit of Yiddish as well. My mother was pretty fluent, albeit with a child's vocabulary; my father could understand her but could not put a complete sentence together himself. They used to use it to "talk behind our backs in front of us," so we never really learned anything but a few colorful bits: noodge, schmatta, shmegege, shlep, vanse, mishpukhe, and so on.

Edited at 2009-12-05 03:09 pm (UTC)
Dec. 3rd, 2009 11:41 pm (UTC)
My family doesn't have words so much as pathological bad grammar used for humor. Most of this comes from my stepdad, which he picked up from my baby brother because he thinks that toddler-speak is hilarious. The most common example is the phrase "another one (insert noun here)" as opposed to "another (noun)". For example, "get me another one piece of cake". Another is "already again" - "Already again, another delicious meal".

Oh, and the one word we have is "remose" - it's a combination of "remorse" and "remote". I think our friend Victoria invented it in regard to her own mood, but now it's mostly used to describe entertainment ("this movie is too remose").
Dec. 5th, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC)
family words

Hee, remose - that's useful! Those depressing, atmospheric kind of movies made in Sweden and so forth, right? Those would be remose.

Dec. 7th, 2009 12:36 am (UTC)
Re: family words
Precisely :)
Dec. 5th, 2009 06:00 pm (UTC)
You know how much I love playing with language, so I tend to pick up/create this sort of jargon at the drop of a hat, along with the common geeky flinging about of random book/movie/etc. references. "Pibble" as a cuddlier name for "pit bull" turns out to be a somewhat common thing among breed aficionados, especially online, but I originally picked that up from a friend. "Moosedog" is one that's pretty well-known to Norwegian Elkhound folks but mystifying to everyone else -- it's a more accurate translation of "elghund". And "cookie" for "dog biscuit" is a pretty common thing amongst dog trainers, even without the obvious namespace collision I have with Miss B. and her treats. (Calling her "Bikkit" instead of "Biscuit" came by way of the freshly-reincarnated Abbot in Pratchett's A Thief of Time.)

The "dinocorn" meme got started in some back-and-forth banter a year ago between me and delux_vivens -- the "POC as rare magical unicorns" schtick was already going strong, and the live-action Avatar casting racefail starting up then was yet again making it clear that many people had trouble wrapping their heads around the idea of native folk even *existing* in the present day. So I snarked that this meant Black Indians must be half dinosaur/half unicorn -- both mythical AND extinct! She came up with the condensed form, and from there it just took off. But "prairie mandingo" (for the common skanky sexual stereotyping of native men) is entirely my fault.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )


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