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Slang throughout History

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Kingsley Nguyen

on 22 August 2013

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Transcript of Slang throughout History

Slang throughout History
By Kingsley Nguyen 11M

1820s Slang
'pony up' meaning to 'pay up your share'. 'Pony up' is an old slang phrase and is pretty much never heard anymore these days.

The origin of 'pony up' is not confirmed, but its first signs of being recorded has been in America. The phrase has also been said to originate in the UK-- Back in the 1790s, 'pony' would also mean '25 pounds' in British Slang, which is possibly where it originated from.

Pony up is used in the verb part of a sentence.
1820s Slang
Compared to Modern English
Rather than the phrase 'pony up', people nowadays would commonly use the term 'pay up' (which is what it literally meant)

The phrase has possibly died out because pounds is not the main currency used anymore. It has been replaced by the flexibility of conversation rates between different currencies. Essentially, the phrase has died out because of societal changes and technological advances.
In the 1870s, right up until the late 1900s, a 'masher' was a man who would 'make improper advances on a woman'.

The base word 'mash' would refer to any girl who officiated in public, such as a dancer, singer, or actress. The term mash creating masher is due to conversion.

Quote from Walford’s Antiqurian 1887:
"Soon any girl who officiated in public, as dancer, singer, or actress, was called a mash, and admirers (young fellows that, at this time, always ‘got up’ in white vest, high white collar, white satin tie, box hat, and bangle on wrist) were termed mashers…. "

Masher is used in the subject or indirect object position of a sentence.
1870s Slang
Compared to Modern English
These days, 'mash' would mean 'crush', for example to 'mashed potatoes' are essentially crushed potatos. Since 'mash' has the same meaning as 'crush', it can be concluded that these days, the word 'crush' has almost completely replaced 'mash'.

One theory is that when one is in love, one is overpowered by the romantic feeling and are thus 'mashed', or 'crushed' by the feelings.
'bootleg' is to 'illegally smuggle', referring to smuggling alcohol in the 1920s. In the 1920s, selling alcohol legally became prohibited and created a demand for an illicit supply. Millions of bottles of 'medicinal' whiskey would be sold over drugstore counters on real or forged prescriptions.
Bootleg is used in the verb position of a sentence.
1920s Slang
Bootleg is a compound word made up of the words 'boot' and 'leg'. It originates from the practice of illegally smuggling items in the tail of the boots, as seen in the picture on the left.

It used to specifically refer to the smuggling of alcohol in the 1920s, however, since then, prohibition of alcohol has been removed. The meaning has now broadened and it not only refers to smuggling alcohol, but also drugs such as marijuana.
Compared to Modern English
Compared to Modern English
The word 'swag' is currently widely used, as there is a huge celebrity culture. However, it's meaning is starting to deteriorate as it is being used too often.

The meaning is noticably different when people lengthen the sound of the dipthong in the word 'swag', and end up saying 'swaaaaaaaaaaag'. When pronounced like that, it is usually used sarcastically. :
Tom sees a man who pee'd his pants, "dude.. swaaaaaaaag!"
'love handles' refers to the 'unsightly fat on the sides of the lower waist'. In the mid-late 1900s, color television was invented and became regularly used.

The commonisation of color television lead to the issue of 'body image', which is the aesthetics and sexual attractiveness of one's bodies. 'love handles' is one of the slang terms that were invented to help talking about the topic of body image.

Love handles is used in the object
position of a sentence
1970s Slang
Compared to Modern English
The phrase 'love handles' is still used nowadays, and it is used with a negative connotation. This is because of body image, having 'love handles' is considered unattractive. In the 1970s, it was also used with a negative connotation, however the negative connotation behind love handles are gradually lowering, as society is beginning to accept 'obese' and 'fat' people as normal.
The word 'swag' refers to 'the way one presents oneself, through appearance, body language, and style'. Swag is usually associated with the current trends of celebrities, whom set the standard for what is 'cool'.

It has originated from hip-hop lyrics of famous rappers such as Jay-Z and Soulja Boy. Swag is used in the object or adverbial position of a sentence.

Current Slang
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