The chief use of slang…

Is to show that you’re one of the gang.  In fact slang has so many uses that it is difficult to choose one as central.

So begins an entry in David Crystal’s Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language1. He points to Eric Partridge’s Slang Today and Yesterday(1933) as identifying at least fifteen reasons for using slang. Sheer high spirits, to be different, to show that one belongs, to escape from clichés, and to be secret are among the reasons offered.

1Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, 3rd ed. David Crystal, ed. p. 55. REF P29 C64 2010

[Note:  Dictionary Person is away and in fact is down in the United States this week.  Posts here will be short,  sporadic, and quirkier than usual.]


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