Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Slangwhangers are at it Again

And no, I'm not making that word up. Here's what happened.

I became curious about the origins of the word 'slang', and, well, you know how it is with me...I started following a 'net thread and wound up at the Online Etymology Dictionary (OED for short), at Here I found that 'slang' probably had Scandinavian origins, coming from 'slengenanm', meaning 'nickname', or 'slengja kieften', meaning 'to abuse with words', or possibly 'to sling the jaw'. Or, they just made it up.

At any rate, there's a footnote from the OED that says--A word that ought to have survived is slangwhanger (1807, American English) "noisy or abusive talker or writer."

I think we need to bring 'slangwhanger' back into use. Seems it could apply to a lot of situations in these increasingly noisy times.

But what I started investigating was the oldest slang terms, especially some currently in use in Facebook. 'Unfriend' dates back quite some time ago, long before the electronic era. Here is a quote from an 1891 novel titled "Men of Iron" by Howard Pyle:
"But I have told thee all these things to show that the King is not without some reason to be thy father's unfriend."

Well, this old slangwhanger better saddle up his trusty word processor and ride off before I am unfriendedeth by thee.

Keep whangin' those slangs, friends.

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