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By Michael Munro

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Additional resources for Chambers pardon my English! : an exploration of slang and informal language

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The once-over whammo very good or successful Polari or Parlyaree is a variety of slang that is most commonly used among members of the theatrical profession. It is believed to have evolved out of the lingua franca used around Mediterranean ports and brought to Britain by British sailors. Other influences include the Romany encountered by strolling players and back-slang. Some of its words and phrases have achieved a wider currency, most notably among the gay community. Here are just a few examples: Aunt Nells the ears Aunt Nellie fakes earrings bona good buvare a drink carsey a toilet, or a house charper to search charpering omi a policeman Pornography Slang charver to have sexual intercourse dinarly money dolly nice, pleasant, attractive dona a woman eek the face feele a child lallie a leg letty or latty a bed or lodgings mangarly or mangary food naff inferior, worthless nantee or nanti nothing 27 ogle-fakes spectacles omi a man park to give polone or paloney a young woman, or an effeminate man riah hair sharpy a police officer strill a musical instrument, especially a piano tober road varda or vada to look or see zhoosh to fix, titivate or tidy zhooshy showy Pornography Slang Readers should note that much of the language in the list below, not to mention the practices described, may be highly offensive to many.

Certain tabloids take this to extremes, such as in one-word headlines like The Sun’s infamous ‘Gotcha’. While, in the past, more challenging vocabulary would be used in the full articles within the august publication, increasingly the lazy hacks concerned simply repeat the monosyllabic terms as if no alternative were available. News reporting became multi-media in the 20th century, especially on radio and television, and this also generated specific slang, such as ‘bong’ and ‘noddy’. The glossary below also contains slang traditionally used by printers in the newspaper industry.

This is the distinctive vocabulary used by the magazine Variety, the trade paper that is the ‘house journal’ of the US entertainment industry. It specializes in shortening words to make snappy headlines, nicknaming people and places, and using abbreviations. f. f. a. o. the once-over whammo very good or successful Polari or Parlyaree is a variety of slang that is most commonly used among members of the theatrical profession. It is believed to have evolved out of the lingua franca used around Mediterranean ports and brought to Britain by British sailors.

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