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Last Updated: Friday, 10 June, 2005, 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK
A lexicon of teen speak
A new campaign aims to persuade people to become teachers because they will learn new words. Teen speak can be confusing for anyone who is not a teen. So here is the E-cyclopedia's first annual guide to youth-speak for the not-so-young.

If a teenager said the words (above right) to you, should you be offended or flattered?

The answer, thankfully, is flattered, since a rough translation is "Wow! You are the coolest person. Do you want to hang out at my place?"

Society is more geared than ever to young people, but their slang - and the speed at which it changes - can be a mystery to those old enough to vote.

This coded language designed to exclude adults is being used to tempt would-be teachers into schools - the latest campaign by the Teacher Training Agency includes a poster which asks "Linguists. Would you like to learn new words?"

So which words are current in the classroom? E-cyclopedia, the Magazine's guide to matters of linguistic interest, has compiled this guide. The main influences seem to be Creole patois and rapper slang.

Little Britain
Wanna roll with Vicky and the gang?
It is by no means an exhaustive list, though we hope that with your suggestions it will become more complete. Nor will you find the likes of "chav" or even "chavtastic", which this week proved their mainstream usage by making it into the Collins English Dictionary.

But a health warning to non-teens - use this slang at your own risk. Not only will it sound desperately lame issuing from your mouth, chances are it will be out-of-date by the time we hit the "publish" button.

Use the form at the bottom of the page to add any choice words you've picked up throughout the year.


ah nam - tell on, rat on.


back slang - a code which uses the original spelling of words and adds extra letters and syllables for effect or to disguise the real meaning. The rap lyric "shizzle my nizzle", which confounded a High Court judge, is one such example.

bait - obvious, as in "that's so bait".
(Nimesh Bhudia, Wembley, London)

bare - a lot of, very. In the case of a man or woman described as bare butters, see below.

beast - an adjective to describe something that's really cool.
(Suggested by reader Richard Beadnall, North Yorkshire)

book - cool. The first option given in predictive text when trying to type c-o-o-l.

boom boom - a slogan of approval in inner-city London. There was much debate during the election campaign about whether Tony Blair was booed or boomed at the Lilian Bayliss Technology School in London.

buff - sexy, fit.

bum - to enjoy something: "he bums that game so much". And there are levels of bummage - to really like something is to "bum it blue", but "he bummed it black" means he used to like it but has since gone off it.

butters - ugly (pronounced without sounding the t's).

buzzing - cool.


chirps - chat up: "we chirps some buff gals last night."

chung - extremely sexy. If someone is described as "chung", that's better-looking than their "buff" friend.

clappin' - out of date or worn out, usually to describe attire or accessories, as in "man, my tracksuit is clappin'. Gotta get down JJB Sport and buy a new one." Also means tired out.
(Suggested by reader Denney, Reading)

cotch down - to hang out, relax, chill out or sleep. Possibly derived, via patois, from the French "se coucher", meaning to lie down. See also kotch.

crump - a multi-purpose term which can be an insult, an exclamation and a rather explicit sex act. It generally means bad, but can also mean good, depending on the context: "that ain't good man, it's crump" or "that's one crump message you left there".


dash - to dash is to pass something to somebody - but it can be "pass" in the broadest possible sense, including to throw violently with the intention of causing hurt or damage.

dred - dreadful, terrible, bad, cruel.

dry - dull, boring, stupid, unfunny. A bad joke might be described as "dry".


feds - police. Taken from the US word for the FBI.

flat roofin' - to be overworked and stressed, as in "I was flat roofin for my GCSEs". Probably comes from flat out.
(Suggested by reader Michael, London)

fo sho - "urban" version of yes, for sure, certainly.

from ends - one who is "from the streets" and so knows what's going on.

fudge - a very, very stupid person indeed - the implication being that these letters will be their GCSE results.


grimy - good, or may describe a practical joke or amusing - and probably unsavoury - act.


hangin - ugly, most likely with an unattractive body and bad dress sense to boot.

heavy - cool, interesting.
(Suggested by reader Yahya Raje)

howling - ugly.


jack - to steal or take, as in "car-jacking".

jokes - funny or enjoyable, as in "that party was jokes".
(Suggested by reader Anishka Wil, Edgware)

jook - to stab or to steal.
(Suggested by reader Caroline Jones, Godalming)


kotch - sit and chill out. See also cotch.


laoy dat - forget that.
(Suggested by reader Masum Ullah, Birmingham)

long - someone who won't put out, also meaning a lot of effort: "He wanted to have sex with me, but I told him I'm long."

lush - good-looking, sexy.


mint - cool. Self-explanatory, surely.

munter - ugly. An alternate to minger, which has long since passed into the mainstream since its first recorded use in 1995.


nang - London term for cool, excellent, brilliant. When something is very good, it's "proper nang".

nim nim nim - blah blah blah; yadda yadda yadda. What's said when someone is talking rubbish.
(Suggested by reader Ian, Bristol)


off the hook - cool, appealing, fresh, exceeding one's expectations. A phrase much over-used by Maxwell in Big Brother to express appreciation for his surroundings, for an attractive member of the opposite sex...

owned - to be made a fool of, to be beaten by. Can also be spelled "pwned", to denote a common spelling error in online gaming slang.
(Suggested by reader Jason Truman, Leamington Spa)


rago - whatever, OK.

random - odd, irregular, crazy, out there. Not used when something is genuinely random, but as an adjective by those who like to think they live a life less ordinary and have a wacky sense of humour. An example from Urban Dictionary reads thus:
Teen 1: "Cheese! hahahaha"
Teen 2: "Wow! That's sooooo random!"
Also used by players of the online game Counter-Strike to describe someone whose performance is inconsistent.

rents - parents.
(Suggested by reader Eric, London)

rinsed - overused, used up, all gone. "That song was rinsed, I don't like it anymore."
(Suggested by reader Angharad, Brixton)

roll with - hang out with.


safa - coolest of the cool, superlative version of safe (see below).

safe - cool, good, sweet.

shabby - cool, smart, "da bomb". As in "that's a well shabby suit."

sick - interesting, cool, never seen before. The more sick something is, the better. This usage originated with skaters and snowboarders.

sik - see sick.

skeen - I see. Also seen.
(Suggested by reader Alex Harris, Nottingham)

slap up - to beat up. Hence the happy slapping craze in which feral youths attack passers-by and film it on their mobiles.

standard - goes without saying.

swag - extreme, scary. A word which once denoted ill-gotten gains and then freebies - particularly branded merchandise - it can also be used as an adjective for something frightening.

switch - to turn on someone.


tell over/told over - to rat on someone.


unass - to relinquish or surrender control of an object or person; to leave.
(Suggested by reader Spoon, Leamington Spa)


vexed - irritated, angry. An old word, it has gained new currency, as demonstrated by Science in Big Brother to express his annoyance with some triviality or other.


wagwaan - what's up, what's going on. Originates from Jamaican patois.
(Suggested by reader Abtin, Berkhamsted)

wicked - cool. Yes, 30-somethings who remember it from their own school days, it has made a comeback. Can also mean very, thus something can be described as "wicked cool".


yard - house, garden, where one lives and hangs out.

your mum - a comeback to a question or insult. An implied affront to one's mother, which may be taken as an ineffectual insult or may result in grievous bodily harm.

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