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Dictionary of Contemporary Slang, Third Edition; Tony Thorne (A & C Black, 2005)

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chai

84

in which it denotes the waste paper discarded from a printer.

chai n British

a girl, female. An item of parlyaree first recorded in the 19th century and still used by older members of the gay community in London in the 1980s. An alternative spelling is chy. The term derives from Romany.

chai-klom, chy-clom n British

a female wig or hairstyle. An item of parlyaree recorded since the 1960s. The second part of the compound is of uncertain origin. The first is the parlyaree (originally Romany) term for a girl.

chair, the n American

the electric chair. Used for the execution of criminals in many parts of the world.

Chalfonts n pl British

‘haemorrhoids’. Rhyming slang for piles, from the small town of Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire. Farmers and nauticals are synonyms.

‘Stan was around yesterday, complaining about his Chalfonts.’

(Recorded, pensioner, Bristol, 1989)

chandies n South African

a difficult situation, trouble. Recorded as an item of Sowetan slang in the Cape Sunday Times, 29 January 1995.

chang, charlie chang n

cocaine. A term used by young streetgang members in London since around 2000. The coinage may be an invention or a deformation or mis-hearing of the name – Charlie Chan – of a fictional 1940s detective.

chap vb American

to irritate or provoke. A term heard in adolescent usage since the 1980s, deriving from the sense of the standard term signifying ‘to chafe’.

Quit chappin’ me!

chap-esse n British

a woman. The word became popular in ironic and facetious middle-class speech and in the slang of the armed services in the early 1990s.

Now here’s something special for all you chaps and chap-esses out there…

char, cha n British

tea. The words for tea in almost all Eastern languages, from Slavonic through Indian to Chinese, are variants of ‘ch’a’ or ‘chai’.

a nice cup of char

chara’ n British

a motor coach. From the word charabanc (in French char à bancs, meaning a carriage with benches), widespread from at least the 1920s into the 1950s as a rather pretentious alternative to coach, and used by tour operators and their customers. The word in full was pronounced ‘sharrabong’ or ‘sharrabang’, and the shortening likewise. Elderly speakers still occasionally use the term.

charfing n South African

joking, teasing. Recorded as an item of Sowetan slang in the Cape Sunday Times, 29 January 1995.

charge n British

hashish or marihuana. The word was popular in the 1950s and 1960s, especially among beatniks, students, etc., who generally did not use hard drugs. This term, no longer heard, refers (rather inappropriately perhaps in the case of cannabis) to the ‘charge’ or sudden electrifying sensation felt by the drug user, possibly reinforced by charas (the Hindi word for cannabis, used by some English speakers in the 1960s). In American usage it was originally applied to the effect of a heroin injection.

Got any charge, man?

Charles n British cocaine.

See also charlie1 2 charlie1 n

1.British a foolish person. This innocuous word, often encountered in the expression ‘a right/proper charlie’, is in fact derived from the more vulgar cockney rhyming slang Charlie Hunt: cunt. In pre-World War II cockney usage cunt merely meant a fool, rather than the modern sense of a thoroughly unpleasant person.

2.cocaine. A euphemism from the international alphabet designation for the letter ‘C’, or simply a nickname. (The full form of the proper name, Charles, is occasionally used, usually facetiously, in Britain in this sense of the word.)

‘She came steaming into the room when I had a massive great pile of charlie drying out on the floor.’

(News of the World, 29 October 1989)

3. American the Viet Cong personified. During the Vietnam War the military

85

cheaters

alphabet designation ‘Victor Charlie’ was shortened thus.

4.South African a friend. Recorded as an item of Sowetan slang in the Cape Sunday Times, 29 January 1995.

5.British the penis

charlie2 adj British

cheap and nasty, flashy or in bad taste. A public-school and Sloane Ranger term of disapproval, heard in the early 1980s.

He’s really awfully charlie.

The flat’s a bit charlie, if you ask me.

Charlie (Chester) n British

a child molester, paedophile. The rhyming slang phrase, used by schoolchildren, borrows the name of a UK comedian of the 1950s.

charlies n pl

female breasts. A word used (almost exclusively by men) since the 19th century. There have been many attempts to explain this term by deriving it from rhyming slang (Charlie Wheeler: Sheila), from Romany or from the habits of Charles II. It is more probably simply a personification which implies affectionate familiarity.

charver, charva vb, n British

(to have) sexual intercourse. A word that was almost unknown by the 1980s, but which was used in criminal, theatrical and other circles in the 1950s and early 1960s. It is Romany in origin (from charvo meaning to interfere with), and refers to the ‘taking’ of a woman by a man, so, by extension, it has been used to portray a woman as a sex object.

chase the dragon vb

a. to take heroin by smoking it. The specific meaning of this expression (the arrival of which coincided with an influx of cheap heroin into the UK in the late 1970s) is to inhale fumes from a piece of the vaporising drug through a tube, often literally chasing the smoke across the sheet of foil on which the drug is ‘cooked’.

‘Carmella never injected heroin, her serious involvement came with “chasing the dragon”, inhaling a burning trail from a piece of tin foil.’

(Independent, 17 July 1989)

b. to flirt with death by using heroin. This more generalised meaning of the sinisterly colourful phrase was adopted by middleand upper-class drug users when heroin spread to these circles in the early 1980s.

(le) chat n British

seductive talk or flattery. From ‘chatting up’, often pronounced jocularly as the French word for ‘cat’. An item of student slang in use in London and elsewhere since around 2000.

chat vb

a.to speak, talk

‘…u chat out ur ass.’

(Recorded, contributor to www.wassup.com, November 2003)

b.to say

‘Jus because we use slang doesn’t make us dumbasses…so stop chattin fluff!’

(Recorded, contributor to www.wassup.com, November 2003)

c.to contribute to an online chat room

chateau’d adj British

drunk. A colourful upper-class and yuppie expression of the late 1980s playing on ‘shattered’ and implying that it is an expensive claret (Bordeaux) or other châ- teau-bottled wine which has caused the inebriety.

chav, charv, charva n British

a vulgar person, representative of the working class or underclass. A vogue term and concept from 2004, defined by the Sunday Telegraph as ‘…the nonrespectable working classes: the dolescroungers, petty criminals, football hooligans and teenage pram-pushers’. The word originates as Romany for ‘friend’. The chav’s appearance typically incorporates (for both sexes) white trainers, a tracksuit, heavy jewellery (known as Argos bling after the catalogue chain store), baseball caps and often the scraped-back hairstyle dubbed a ‘Croydon facelift’ (Croydon being a London suburb considered emblematic of brash unsophistication).

‘The cultural phenomenon that is “chav” was kicked off by www.chavscum.co.uk, a site billing itself as a humorous guide to Britain’s burgeoning peasant underclass.’

(Guardian, 10 March 2004)

chavvie n British

a friend, ‘mate’. The word probably comes from Romany.

Compare chav

cheaters n pl American

sunglasses or glasses. A word now popular with schoolchildren but which probably originated with cardsharps, who supposedly used ‘magic specta-

chebs

86

cles’, or with fraudsters who wore dark glasses as a disguise.

chebs n pl British

female breasts. One of a set of synonyms popular among younger males since 2000. Wabs, waps, baps and smams are others.

check vb British

to visit, especially one’s girl/boyfriend. In this sense the term, popular since 2000, has been defined as ‘seeing someone, not officially going out’.

Seb’s checkin’ Rachel, so I hear.

check! exclamation American

yes. A jargon expression of affirmation (based on the mark of verification on a checklist, for instance) carried over into popular speech.

‘Hey you, stay cool! Check!’

(Panic on the 5.22, US film, 1974)

check out vb

to die. The notion of leaving a hotel or motel has been carried over into an eternal context. An old euphemism in American English which is now international.

cheddar1 adj

cheesy. A pejorative vogue term in use in the USA and UK since around 2000.

cheddar2, cheddars n American

money. An expression used on campus in the USA since around 2000.

I need to grab some cheddar before we hit the bars.

‘Don’t take all my cheddars.’

(Recorded, US student, 2003)

cheeba n See chiba

cheekies n pl British

alcoholic drinks, especially pints of beer. The term, popular particularly in the southwest of England, was recorded in 2001. In 2004 the b3ta website reported its use in Australia.

cheese1 n Australian

one’s partner or one’s wife.

See also cheese and kisses cheese2

1.n a cheese, the cheese an important person. This is a shortened version of the colloquial ‘big cheese’.

2.n something or someone unpleasant or unsavoury, particularly distasteful bod-

ily secretions. From the smell and texture of ripe cheese.

3.n, exclamation British another spelling and/or pronunciation of chiz!

4.n a Dutch person. A humorous or derogatory term heard in one form or another (‘cheese-head’ or ‘John Cheese’ are alternatives) since the 19th century.

cheese and kisses n Australian

one’s wife. This rhyming slang for the missus is probably the origin of the synonymous cheese and old cheese, referring to a mother.

cheeseball n

an unsavoury or contemptible person. An all-purpose term of abuse borrowing the name of the cocktail biscuit and the notion of cheesy.

cheese it vb American

to beware, hide or run away. This old phrase, normally used in the form of an exclamation such as ‘cheese it – the cops!’, has become a comic cliché in the USA. It may once have been used by members of the underworld (in Britain) or it may be a pre-1900 invention by writers or journalists. In any case it is actually heard in use today, usually somewhat facetiously by adults and straightforwardly by children.

cheesy adj

a. unpleasant, unsavoury, squalid, disreputable, underhanded. The original notion of smelly cheese has encompassed a number of nuances of distaste. The word became extremely fashionable in 1990s youth slang.

a cheesy place

a cheesy thing to do

‘It was a degrading, lying, cheating piece of cheesiness.’

(John Lydon [characterising Alec Cox’s film Sid and Nancy], BBC television, 1989)

b. outdated and/or in poor taste in a pleasant or amusing way

cheesy quaver n British

1.a raver, in the sense of a devotee of post-1980s dance culture

2.a favour

The rhyming slang borrows the name of a savoury snack.

chernie n British

a stupid person. In playground usage since the 1980s, the term dates from the nuclear accident at the Chernobyl power station in Ukraine and the associ-

87

chicken

ated notions of contamination, genetic defects, etc.

cherries n pl American

flashing lights on a police car. ‘Hit the cherries!’ is the command to turn them on.

cherry1 n

1a. a young girl, a virgin. This is an extension of the last sense, although modern users of the word may derive it simply from the notion of something sweet or delicious.

1b. South African an attractive young female. Recorded as an item of Sowetan slang in the Cape Sunday Times, 29 January 1995.

1c. maidenhead, virginity. The word is usually part of the phrase ‘to lose one’s cherry’, said normally of girls but occasionally of boys. The expression is old (dating at least from the late 19th century) but has not been superseded. It derives from the supposed similarity of the fruit to the hymen.

2. British the tip of a lit cigarette

cherry2 adj

new, fresh and attractive. A term used by teenagers and young adults since the 1970s in the USA and subsequently elsewhere. It evokes both the shininess of the fruit and the figurative sense of virginity.

cherry3, cherry up vb British

to blush. In playground usage since 2000.

Chevy Chase n British

the face. The rhyming-slang phrase uses the name of the US comic actor, who borrowed the name of a suburb of Washington DC (itself named after the site of a battle in Northumberland, UK).

chew (someone) out, chew (someone’s) ass, chew vb American

to chastise, tell off, give someone a severe ‘dressing-down’. A colloquial expression heard typically in educational institutions and the armed services.

chi-ack, chi-ike, chiake vb

to tease or taunt. A rather dated term derived from ‘to cheek’. It has been more common in Australia where the noun form, meaning impudence or insolence, is also heard.

chiba n

cannabis, marihuana. A fashionable term heard among hip hop and rap aficiona-

dos since the early 1990s. It was first recorded in the 1970s and may derive from Hispanic slang.

Chicano n

a Mexican American. Méjicano or Méxicano in Spanish has been anglicised to this word which, by the 1980s, had few pejorative overtones. It has to a large extent been superseded by Latino or ‘Hispanic’.

chi-chi adj

excessively cute, pretentious or twee. The word is a direct borrowing from French.

chi-chi man n Caribbean a homosexual male

‘The worst thing is when you see children of three or four singing songs about killing the chi-chi man.’

(Guardian, 26 June 2004)

chick n

a. a girl, girlfriend. The word has been used as a term of affection for hundreds of years, but was readopted by British slang from America in the teddy boy era. It was used unself-consciously by hippies until the mid-1970s, since when it has been disapproved of by the majority of women. The term is now dated.

‘This year two chicks and I got enough bread together and flew to Eilat (Israel) to see what was happening out there.’

(Reader’s letter, Oz magazine, February 1970)

b. American also chickie, chicken a passive homosexual partner or sodomised victim of a rooster. An American prison term of the 1970s and 1980s.

chicken1 n

1. a coward. In this sense the word has been in use for several centuries, although the children’s taunt or exclamation was an Americanism of the early 1950s.

2a. a young male who is, or is likely to be, preyed on by an older homosexual, in gay, police and prison usage.

Compare chickenhawk

2b. an under-age girl as a sex object or partner in the jargon of pornography. (‘Chicken’ was a common term of endearment, especially to a younger or vulnerable lover, in the 19th and early 20th centuries.)

2c. a girl

3. a game in which young people dare one another to attempt something dan-

chicken

88

gerous (e.g. to stand in the path of an oncoming train or car); the chicken, or first to withdraw, is the loser. When motor vehicle races are involved chicken run is the usual phrase.

chicken2 adj afraid, cowardly

chickenhawk n

a.a male homosexual who ‘preys on’ younger men. This American term from the gay lexicon was given wider currency by press articles in the late 1980s when Scott Thurston, the entertainer Liberace’s lover, referred to him as a chickenhawk in revelations after his death.

b.a heterosexual seducer or exploiter of under-age girls

‘Lolita at twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen

– and chickenhawk Charlie [Chaplin] never far away, mistily watching the bud unfold.’

(Hollywood Babylon, Kenneth Anger, 1975)

chicken-head n American a foolish female

chicken oriental adj British

crazy, deranged, mental. The rhymingslang phrase (using the name of a popular Chinese takeaway dish) is often used in the cry ‘mental, mental, chicken oriental!’. From the end of the 1990s it was popularised by celebrities such as Next of Kin, Denise Van Outen, Pete Tong and ‘lots of clubby types’.

chicken run n American

a teenage game in which drivers aim their cars at each other to see which one will swerve first; chicken is used here in the colloquial sense of coward(ly)

chickenshit1 n

anything worthless, petty or contemptible. In American usage the word originally had the specific meaning of oppressive minor regulations and other effects of bureaucracy, particularly in the armed forces in World War II. The noun sense is now rarer than the adjectival use of the word, except when describing paltry amounts of money.

chickenshit2 adj

a. cowardly, afraid. An Americanism which was adopted in Britain, mainly by schoolchildren and teenagers, in the late 1980s.

b. petty, contemptible. This sense derives from the American and Canadian armedforces’ expression to describe smallminded regulations, orders, etc.

chief1, chief-bod n

a foolish or obnoxious individual, a misfit. A vogue term from the language of adolescent gangs, also recorded in the late 1980s among aficionados of dance culture. The term was in use among North London schoolboys in 1993 and 1994. (‘Chief’ occurs in North American usage, the ‘bod’ form is exclusively British.)

chief2 adj British

stupid or pretentious. The adjectival use has been fashionable among younger speakers across the UK since the late 1990s.

chill1 vb

1. to kill someone. A ‘tough-guy’ euphemism originating in US street slang.

‘Teachers report that teenagers talk about “packing a barrel” or “chilling someone with a pipe”.’

(Sunday Times, 31 August 1992)

2. to relax, become calm. This shortening of the earlier chill out (itself adopted from American usage) became popular among British adolescents during the 1990s.

chill2 adj

1. relaxed, relaxing, unstressed. Derived from the verb form, this adolescent vogue term has been in use since the 1990s.

feeling chill a chill party

2. American excellent. An expression used on campus in the USA since around 2000.

Hey, your new car is chill.

chillax vb American

to ‘take it easy’. A blend of chill and relax used by teenagers in 2004.

chilled adj

excellent, admirable. A teenage vogue word of the later 1980s. The term is a synonym for cool, influenced by the verb form to chill out (relax, unwind). British fans of rap and acid house music and skateboarding introduced the word to schoolchildren’s slang.

chilled article, the n Australian

a cold beer. A mock-pompous euphemism used by drinkers.

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chippy

chillin’, chilling adj American

1.relaxing. Chillin(g) is a teenagers’ shortening recorded in the late 1980s.

2.excellent. An expression used on campus in the USA since around 2000.

chill one’s bills vb British See bills

chill out vb American

to relax, take it easy. A popular phrase since the 1980s, first among teenagers but later among adults too, it comes from black street talk and is a later variation of cool out.

chillum n

a type of container (usually ceramic, but sometimes made of wood or stone) which is packed with marihuana or hashish (often mixed with tobacco) for smoking. This item from the lexicon of hippies and other cannabis users is not a pipe but a hollow cone held cupped in both hands, with a ‘chillum stone’ lodged in it to prevent the contents being sucked into the lungs of an enthusiastic user. Chillum is not, strictly speaking, a slang word, but Hindi in origin. It is, however, the only name for the object in question.

Compare bong

chilly adj British

excellent, fashionable. A British teenagers’ term of all-purpose approval based upon chill (out) and chilling out, recorded in 1991.

chimney-wok n British

a satellite dish affixed to the exterior of a house. The joky nickname was heard from the early 1990s, sometimes abbreviated to wok.

chin vb British

to hit someone (by implication on the face or head, although not necessarily on the chin). An old working-class term still heard in or around bar brawls, playground fights, etc.

‘He called me a poof, so I chinned the bastard.’

(Recorded, pub habitué, London, 1988)

china n British

a friend, mate. Rhyming slang from ‘china plate’. An example of London rhyming slang which has survived from the 19th century and is still in workingclass use today, albeit often ironically or self-consciously. It is usually part of the phrase ‘me old china’.

Chinese adj See get Chinese

ching n British

a five-pound note or an amount of £5. An item of black street-talk used especially by males, recorded in 2003.

chink n

1.a Chinese person. The word (possibly inspired by Chinese words for their own country and people, actually pronounced ‘Joong-’) has been used in American and Australian speech since the turn of the 20th century; in Britain it is slightly more recent.

2.money, change. From the sound of coins.

chinkie, chinky n British

a.a Chinese restaurant or takeaway food service

b.a Chinese meal

I don’t feel like cooking. Let’s grab a chinky on the way home.

c.a Chinese person. A more patronising or dismissive version of chink.

chinless wonder n British

an effete or gormless youth, particularly a vacuous upper-class male. The pejorative expression is applied to those literally weak-chinned, but more often to young men, usually in a privileged position, who are irresolute, offensively presumptuous or absurd. Debs’ delight and pedigree chum have similar overtones.

chip vb British

to leave, run away. Like its synonym duss, a vogue term among teenage gang members since the 1990s.

‘Let’s chip, it’s the beast.’

(Recorded London schoolboy, 1994) chippie, chippy n

1.British a fish and chip shop. A nickname which appeared to spread from Liverpool in the early 1960s.

2.British a carpenter

3.American and Australian a prostitute or promiscuous woman. The etymology of this sense of the word is unclear.

chipping n American

a.the occasional use of illicit drugs (as opposed to regular use by addicts)

b.secret and sporadic use of illicit drugs while under surveillance, for instance in prison or while undergoing a drug rehabilitation programme

chippy adj

aggressive and hypersensitive, irritatingly resentful. The word is based on either the 19th-century ‘chip in’, mean-

chips

90

ing to interfere, or the later notion of having ‘a chip on one’s shoulder’.

‘He’s chippy. I find that small people are often chippy.’

(Recorded, Sloane Ranger, London, 1984)

‘Mr Kinnock appears to be sinking under a barrage of criticism to the effect that he is an ill-educated Welsh windbag carried high by chippy class hatred.’

(Evening Standard, 25 July 1988)

chips n pl British

money. Rather than referring to the tokens used for gambling, this is probably derived from the earlier and synonymous use of potatoes. Like that term it occurred several times in the telephone conversations between Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, and her psychic advisor, Madame Vasso, published in Vasso’s memoirs and in the UK press in 1996.

chirps vb British

to flirt, ‘chat up’, attempt to seduce. The term, usually describing male behaviour, has been popular among students and others since the 1990s. Its derivation is unclear but some users claim that it is inspired by the ‘charming’ chirping of birds.

He’s been chirpsing her all night but I bet he’s not going to score.

chiv n, vb

(to) knife (someone). A word originating in Romany (gypsy) speech, used particularly in criminal argot of the 1950s. The word, also written and pronounced shiv, often referred to a home-made knife or razor blade used for instance by prisoners or street gangs.

choad1, chode n Canadian

a.the penis

b.a stupid and/or obnoxious person. The origin of this term is unclear, but (particularly in the second, figurative sense) it has become popular among college students and Internet users since the late 1990s, also in combinations such as ‘dick-chode’ and ‘chode-lick/wad’.

choad2, chode adj Canadian unpleasant, worthless, inferior. The adjectival form derives from the noun. It was defined on the Internet by Play Time in March 1997 as ‘so bad it’s good’.

chocaholic n

a person with an inordinate fondness for chocolate in all its forms. A jocular term punning on alcoholic. Colloquial and

slang terms relating to food and indulgence (foodie, couch potato, etc.) were a feature of the 1980s.

chocolate bandit n British

a male homosexual. Like brownie-hound, turd burglar, etc., this unaffectionately jocular term portrays the sodomist as a covert thief of excrement.

chocolate cha-cha n American

anal intercourse. One of many vulgarisms in use among heterosexuals and based on the faecal aspects of (not necessarily homosexual) sodomy.

If you ask me, they’ve been doing the chocolate cha-cha.

chocolate-dipper n

a male homosexual. One of many supposedly humorous but pejorative phrases, invariably used by heterosexual males and based on the faecal aspects of sodomy. (Brownie-hound and chutneyferret are others.)

chocolate drop n

a black or coloured person. A usually unaffectionate term used mainly by schoolchildren.

chocolate frog n Australian

1.a foreigner, immigrant, not necessarily someone non-white. A piece of purely Australian rhyming slang for wog.

2.an informer, stool pigeon. In this sense the word is probably rhyming slang for dog, as in ‘dirty dog’, ‘low dog’, etc.

chocolate soldier n

a weak, ineffectual or cowardly person. The phrase was at the centre of a court case in February 2002 when the black model Naomi Campbell alleged unsuccessfully that the Daily Mirror had used it in a racist slur against her. In fact the expression probably dates back to the late 19th century and originally referred to a purely decorative or excessively fragile soldier. ‘Chocolate fireguard’ and ‘chocolate teapot’ were used in the 1950s to describe useless items.

chocolate starfish n British the anus

chode n, adj Canadian See choad2 choirboy n American

a.an innocent, naïve or young male

b.a new recruit to the police force, a rookie

c.someone feigning innocence or naïvety. In this ironic sense the word was used by the ex-police officer Joseph

91

chopper

Wambaugh as the title of his 1973 novel, The Choirboys (filmed in 1977).

choke a darkie vb Australian

to defecate. A vulgarism heard since the 1960s.

choked, choked-off adj British overcome with indignation, fury, rancour or another strong emotion. Choked is a very widespread working-class usage, especially in London speech. Choked-off is a less common and more recent variant.

I tell you I was choked, really bloody choked, when she told me they’d given the contract to someone else.

choke (someone) off vb

a.British to discourage, repudiate or reject someone. This term is used in a fairly specific sense in the context of prisons, where it usually means to frustrate someone who is attempting an official complaint or application.

b.to aggress, castigate

‘She [his wife] choked me off yet again.’

(Recorded, London taxi driver, June 2005)

choke the/one’s chicken vb

(of a man) to masturbate. A teenagers’ and students’ variant of jerkin’ the gherkin, flogging the lizard, etc.

choking adj British

desperate for relief, typically in the form of alcohol or sex. The widespread term, popular, e.g., among university students since the late 1990s, is a shortening of the colloquial phrase ‘choking for (the specified item)’. The phrase ‘choking for it’ invariably refers to sex. Gagging is a contemporary synonym.

choky, chokey n British

prison or a cell. A word which was still in use in the late 1980s, although sounding rather dated. The term comes from the Hindi chauki, meaning a shed or police compound, and was imported from India in the mid-19th century by members of the armed forces.

chomp1 vb

to fellate. This usage is a specialisation of the colloquial sense of to eat.

chomp2 n British

food. From the colloquial verb which imitates the sound of eating.

chompers n pl

the teeth. A jocular term inspired by the verb to chomp and the earlier choppers.

chones n pl American

the testicles. A corruption of the Spanish cojones.

chong adj British

a variant form of chung chonged adj

a.stoned

b.tired

The term, still in use in 2005, may derive from Cheech and Chong, the names of two marihuana-loving comedians of the 1960s.

choo-choo n

a train. Like chuffer or chuff-chuff this is a nursery phrase often used facetiously by adults.

chook n Australian

a chicken. This is an alternative pronunciation of an old dialect term, imitating the clucking of hens, which gives chuck in British English.

‘I hope your chooks turn to emus and kick down your dunnee.’

(Rural Australian curse)

choom n Australian

an English person. Now usually pejorative, the term seems to have appeared during World War I and was probably an imitation of the northern English pronunciation of ‘chum’.

choong, chung n Australian

a Chinese person. A derogatory racist term which may be an imitation of Oriental speech or a deformation of chink or jungle bunny.

chop1 n

a cut-down, customised motorcycle. A shortening of chopper 2a.

‘Sarah belongs to the distinctly laid back, Harley-Davidson inclined “lifestyle” bikers. Soon she will be appearing on a customised 550 cut-down “chop”.’

(Independent, 6 April 1988) chop2 vb

a.to attempt to seduce

That guy was chopping me all evening.

b.to succeed in seducing, pull

Man, I chopped her at last.

c.to have sex

I just want to chop.

In all these senses the term has been used, mainly by males, since around 2000.

chopper n

1. a helicopter. This was probably originally a children’s version of the longer

choppers

92

word, reinforced by the sound and scything action of the rotor blades. It was adopted by adults in World War II.

2a. a customised motorcycle, usually one having high ape-hangers and lengthened front forks, as ridden by Hell’s Angels. It is derived from ‘chopped hog’ or chopped (meaning cut down, altered). Nowadays it is often shortened to chop.

2b. a young person’s tricycle or bicycle designed and manufactured to look like a customised motorcycle, that is with a large back wheel and long front forks. From the 1970s when such bikes became popular.

3.British the penis. A working-class vulgarism dating from at least the 1940s and still heard.

4.American a machine gun. Although this use of the word is familiar to many people through films and crime fiction, it has been obsolete in spontaneous speech since before World War II.

choppers n pl

the teeth. A lighthearted term used all over the English-speaking world, often referring to false teeth.

a new set of choppers

chops1 n

the mouth or jaws. The word has been heard since the 18th century, before which it was usually in the form ‘chaps’, referring to the jaws of animals.

chops2 vb British

to talk too much or to cheek. In playground usage.

chop shop n American

a customising workshop for cars or motorcycles. To chop in this case means to cut down or alter.

chopsy adj British

garrulous, inclined to talk out of turn, argumentative, mouthy. From the use of chops to designate the mouth or jaws.

‘Spurs have turned into a really chopsy team since Venables took over.’

(Recorded, Welsh football supporter, London, 1989)

chore vb British

to steal. In this sense the word may be Urdu in origin.

chow n

1. food. The word is about a century old and derives either from the Far Eastern pidgin English term ‘chowchow’, meaning a mixture, or from jiao(ze) (pro-

nounced ‘jowzer’), which is Mandarin Chinese for a dumpling.

2.a Chinese person. The term is usually used derogatively.

3.British a vulgar person. This is a social designation possibly based on the greeting/farewell ciao! It was defined as a ‘person who wears lots of gold and speaks with an almost cockney/Essex accent’.

chow down vb American

to eat, sit down to a meal, ‘tuck in’. From chow meaning food.

‘While we’re here let’s chow down, hey?’

(Real Men, US film, 1987)

Christian Slater adj British

later. The rhyming slang borrows the name of the Hollywood actor.

Christmas! exclamation

an inoffensive euphemism for Christ, mainly used by British and Australian speakers

Christmas-crackered adj British exhausted, worn out. Rhyming slang for knackered; a less common version than cream-crackered.

chrome n American

a gun. A term from the argot of street gangs.

chrome-dome n

a bald person. A humorous derogatory term referring to the polished sheen of a hairless head. In their 1977 book, The Boy Looked at Johnny, Julie Burchill and Tony Parsons consistently referred to the balding musician Brian Eno as a chrome-dome.

chronic, cronic, kronik adj American excellent, powerful. One of many appropriations of negative words as vogue terms of approbation in adolescent speech, such as bad, wicked, brutal, etc. Chronic appeared in the late 1990s.

Wow, this sure is some chronic blow. ‘Try some of this cake – it’s cronic.’

(Recorded, London student, 2003)

chubbette n

a ‘well-built’ or shapely young woman. A vogue term of the early 1980s among some American and British speakers.

chubby n American

an erection. An item of teenage slang often heard in the phrase ‘crack/pop a chubby’. It may derive from the earlier synonym crack a fat.

‘Hi boys, don’t pop a chubby on our account.’

(Meet the Applegates, US film, 1991)

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chuffed

chubby-chaser n

someone who is sexually interested in or attracted to large or obese people. ‘Chubby Checker’ has also been recorded in London speech for a male who enjoys looking at ‘well-built’ women. The phrase was an Americanism of the early 1960s and was adopted as the nick-name of the American soul singer who popularised the ‘twist’.

chuck1 n

a term of endearment literally meaning chicken in northern English speech. It was originally a rural dialect term imitating the sound of clucking (chook in modern Australian English).

chuck2 vb

1.to vomit. A moderately respectable euphemism probably abbreviated from the more common chuck up.

2.to throw out; specifically in police and underworld jargon to reject (an appeal), dismiss (a case) or acquit (a defendant)

3.British to stop, desist. In this sense the word has been used particularly in work- ing-class slang of the north of England.

‘Chuck hassling me, will ya!’

(Your Cheating Heart, British TV drama, 1990)

4.to eat excessively. In this case the verb is synonymous with ‘chuck out’ or pig out.

5.to fuck. The variant form is used euphemistically as an exclamation or intensifier.

‘They say it is, is it chuck!’

(Gary Crowley, The Beat, British TV music programme, 25 October 1993)

6.South African to leave, hurry away

Let’s chuck.

chuck a cheesy vb Australian

to grin. The colloquial cliché ‘a cheesy grin’ has given rise to this more recent expression, in use since the mid-1980s among adolescents.

chuck a hissie vb British

to become enraged, lose control. Heard since 2000, the phrase derives from the earlier hissie(-fit).

chuck a mental vb

to become enraged, agitated, disoriented. The term was featured in the Australian soap opera Neighbours in 1991, and is also in use among British and Scottish schoolchildren.

chuckle-dust n American

any illicit drug in powder form. The phrase seems to originate from the early 1990s when it was used to refer to angel dust or cocaine and was subsequently also recorded among North London schoolboys in 1993 and 1994.

chucklehead n American

a foolish, silly or eccentric person

chuck up vb

to vomit. Upchuck is a later variant form.

chuddie n

chewing gum. In the form ‘chuttie’ the term was first recorded in American speech as long ago as the 1920s; it was very probably originally a nursery form of the verb to chew. In the late 1990s it became a vogue term among UK adolescents. Chuffie is a synonym.

chuddies n pl British

underwear. The term seems to have originated in South Asian speech and has been popularised by TV comedy series such as Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at No. 42. By 2004 it was also in use in school playgrounds among other ethnic groups.

Eat/kiss my chuddies!

chuff n British

1. the anus, backside. A word which has been heard since the 1940s and which is innocuous enough to use where other synonyms are taboo. The etymology of the word is obscure, but it may be from the dialect meaning plump (which is related to chuffed meaning pleased).

‘As tight as a badger’s chuff.’

(Room at the Bottom, British TV series, 1988)

2. a fart. A schoolchildren’s and students’ vulgarism recently popularised by Viz comic.

See also chuffing

chuff-chuff n British a synonym of chuffer

chuffed adj British

delighted, pleased. The word’s meaning stretches from flattered to excited. It probably originates in northern English dialect (meaning puffed-up and proud) and is still most frequently heard in the North and Midlands. Embellished forms are ‘dead chuffed’, ‘chuffed pink’ and ‘chuffed to arseholes’. The TV soap opera Coronation Street, which is set in the north of England, has ‘chuffed to little mint-balls’.

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