Tag Archives: slang

Crossing the cultural divide

I have taught students many concepts in my years as a trainer, but today’s lesson was one of my favorites:

“Shut up!”

shut up and trainNot the traditional ‘shut your mouth’ usage of the phrase — but the ‘you’ve got to be kidding, tell me more’ meaning.  My class of primarily native German speakers were not aware of this slang term, and they left my course very excited to try it out on their colleagues.

I’m sure it will be a big hit.

I just wish I could remember where the usage originated.  On TV?  In a movie?  Does anyone out there remember?  If you do,

Shut up!  (keep talking)

&#@%*#$

I’m trying out a new curse word…

Matthew Crawley used it on the season finale of Downton Abbey Sunday night.  When Lord Grantham recommended he dance with O’Brien at the Servants’ Ball, it slipped out while he clutched his whiskey.

Can’t blame the guy.

I’ve heard the word before and immediately wondered if it was true to the time period. (Downton Abbey has been dinged for using too-modern slang.)

So I looked it up.

Turns out the first written usage of ‘crikey’ dates back to 1838, and the first spoken use predates even that.  It’s meant to replace ‘Christ’ or ‘For Christ’s sake!’  Today Australia has taken the word as its own; you’ll find it all over Aussie TV and souvenirs.

But I prefer to think of it as a Downton Abbey reference.  So expect a few crikeys here and there on upcoming Eggs. It’s fun to say, a conversation starter…

…and PBS-approved.

 

The word

Each year, the Oxford English Dictionary adds new words and phrases from popular slang to its pages “for the ages.”

Some are questionable…like “LBD,” which seems more like the acronym for “little black dress” than a new word.  Others are spot on — like “overthink,” which I thought was a word already (but let’s not overthink that decision).

OED editors are busily compiling their list for 2011 as we speak, so I had wanted to nominate a new word for their consideration:

“mondo”

But I checked, and the word is already there.  So I guess what I’m really asking is that OED update the definition…and here’s why.

Mondo Guerra is a designer on the current season of “Project Runway” on Lifetime.  Although an extremely quiet person by nature, Mondo’s artistic style is bold, graphic and saturated with bright color.  He doesn’t need to speak; his work speaks for him.

I admire that very much.

In fact, I feel his design sense is so distinctive, it would be appropriate to include his photo and bio under the definition for “mondo” in OED as both a noun and verb, as in…

“I think we should mondo that”…or, “That needs a touch of mondo.” Or perhaps even, “You’re looking especially mondo today.”

I love the way that sounds…and I for one would consider being called “mondo” the highest form of praise.

So, join my crusade, won’t you?  It would be very “mondo” of you.