Learnin’ from the Urban

I like the Urban Dictionary. Any time I look through it, it’s a fascinating read. I can always pick up a few Spanish words and learn about other cultures. I can also count on finding some sort of reference for just about any sort of sexual variant imaginable. I haven’t searched for an entry about having sex with a gorilla on top of a moving van while wearing a mining helmet and holding a deli sandwich in each hand, but I bet there’s a word for it.

While I may consult the Urban Dictionary about the occasional unfamiliar acronym I run across, it’s much more entertainment for me than it is a reference work. I can generally pick up the meaning of an unfamiliar word through context clues. If I can’t, I find asking “what the hell does that word mean” clears things right up. One of the things I like about it is that it’s a rich sources of hilarious mental images. If you want to try it out, paint a vivid mental picture of the entries as you read them. I guarantee you’ll crack up. Full disclosure, though, you may also get horrified and incur some mental scarring. Personally, I don’t get offended by anything ever and it’s very difficult to shock me, so I get a kick out of whatever comes up. Your mileage may vary.

I can imagine the person who goes to the Urban Dictionary for intense research. Maybe they’re trying to find some cool-sounding new term that isn’t used where they live and they’re wanting to set a trend. They’ll likely just end up getting a lot of weird looks and sounding like a jackass, but I applaud their effort. Then there’s the person who’s trying to figure out what all these young people are talking about. Maybe they’re just wanting to see what the hell kids are saying and they don’t want to appear lame by asking them directly. I commend that. The internet was created so we could do our own research and not have to talk to people. So hey, go nuts.

But maybe that person is wanting to learn the terminology so they can use it themselves. They want to be “down with the kids”. (I’ve actually heard adults say that. Adults, as in plural.) If you use that phrase, stop. Stop right this instant. And maybe ask a friend to punch you in the face for a while. Also, realize that one of the features of slang is an age limit. I enjoy getting turnt. But if I called it that, I’d have to devote a full hour of my day to kicking my own ass. It works the other way as well. I’m a big fan of slang from the 50s, but I don’t use it much. One reason is that I’d probably have to explain what I meant and it loses its linguistic texture if it has to be explained. I also don’t want to come off as a guy who takes his social cues from watching Grease repeatedly.

Anyway, have fun with it and see what you come up with.

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