Swosh from My Nimbles

As a vehement not-morning-person, sometimes I find myself riding the black donkey before noon, and if any pebbly-beached, tallow-breeched sod knocks on my door at too early an hour, I pay him as Paul paid the Ephesians, which is quite a gapeseed, especially if he’s after peck and perch or my spondulicks. Woe to him if his overfamiliar manner implies I’m a rubbacrock! I finish the beating with a queer whidding to the effect that he’s roasting the stones of this bushel bubby and needs to dish up the spurs, or he will rue the resulting romboyle. Trust me: he positively pot wallops down the jumble-gut lane, so unnerved by my treatment that he turns hobo and maces the next rattler that rumbles through town.

Indeed, when I’ve risen too early from the zizzer, I’ve definitely pissed on a nettle. Some days, my mood stems from the need for some inside lining–and I don’t mean poor man’s treacle, either (waggernery!); rather, I crave bubble and squeak followed by ninny-broth. On particularly cat-witted days, I need to go beyond just swinging the billy and get the sun over the foreyard with a jigger of kill-the-beggar.

Then, my mood well lubricated, I turn on a morning chat show hosted by a passle of muffin-wallopers who enjoy inviting noffgurs, rantallions,hum-box patterers, maiden-wife-widows, muckle-suckles, poodle-fakers, young men with startlingly droopy bum-bags, and karitanied ingenues to sit at their table and share too much red rag about poop-noddy, rantum-scantum, and tidderly push. One of the hostesses, the one named Barbara, talks Miss Nancy while another hostess, the one named Sherri, could talk the hind leg off a bird. Occasionally the guests are xaroshie, but the more amusing express themselves like the back of a cigarette card. Once the main-sheet wears off, though, I have to fight off the urge to yell “What gammon and spinach!” and toss the television into the wagger-pagger-bagger.

Enough. Your humble condumble says this tommyrot is mafeesh!


Even if you don’t own A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (publication date: 1961; this was an updated edition over the initial 1937 publication), as I do–shout out to e.e., and thanks again for the gift–you were probably able to de-Jabberwockyify the above paragraphs enough to follow the basic gist: I’m not a morning person, and woe to the random Jehovah’s Witness (etc.) who might come a’knocking before I’ve had my coffee and a little time watching the ladies on The View.  What can I say: they make me feel better about my own life in comparison.

The larger point here is that it’s damn fun to use antiquated slang–well, actually, it’s fun to use any vivid, quirky, whimsical turn of phrase that has evolved out of standard usage to stake its own claim on meaning and expression.  These phrases remind us that our language is breathing, cartwheeling, running around laughing and blowing bubbles as we use it.  Dynamic, amorphous, dispersing, spinning, upturning, clumping, crumbling, clobbering, charismatic, potent, raw, polished, ensorcelling,

language edges out the crescent wrench as my tool of choice..

Hence, while the 20th Century yielded a thick, rich book of slang, we must also acknowledge that language in the 21st Century continues to be reshaped by excogitators on the street who nab an idea, cruise it around for a joy ride in their muscle cars, and dump out the result in front of the pawn shop, whereupon that original idea, one Dr. Nigel Pennywacker, stands up, shaking just a little, and bellers, “Zombie Jesus! When that ride first started, I was tiger’s wife mad and ready to take down some street pinatas with my briefcase, but after a few minutes, I realized it was all beer and skittles. Tie up your street legal bear cubs and make room for this here Nappy-D whose previous life highlights were full of douchebaggery: getting caught in voicejail, lunch-blocking, and forcing quendos at work to watch his powerpuff presentations. Where are my brofessionals? I’m ready for some serious buffet momentum and getting crunked up before hitting the floor with Eau d’ouche guidos, badunkadunk butts, and wegros. We’ll obaminate them all when the eargasm of Pitbull starts flowing!”

Okay, readers, I just hit my keyboard with a cobra yawn, so it’s time to find a tissue and wipe the thing down.  Give it up:  what phrases, slang, or unconventional usages really bake your tater tots?


Old School Slang Translations:

*swosh (nonsense; drivel)

*nimbles (fingers)

*ride the black donkey (to be in a bad humour)

*pebbly-beached (penniless, or nearly so)

*tallow-breeched (with fat behind)

*pay you as Paul paid the Ephesians (to give a terrible beating about the head)

*gapeseed (a cause of astonishment: “I’ve come from abroad for a little gapeseed”)

*peck and perch (food and lodging)

*spondulicks (money; cash)

*rubbacrock (a filthy slattern)

*queer whidding (a scolding)

*roast a stone (to waste time and energy)

*bushel bubby (a woman with large, full breasts)

*dish up the spurs (to cause guests to feel that it is time for them to depart)

*romboyle (to make hue and cry)

*pot-walloping (making vigorous but clumsy movements)

*jumble-gut lane (a rough road)

*mace the rattler (travel in a train without paying)

*zizzer (a bed)

*to have pissed on a nettle (to be peevish, ill-tempered)

*inside lining (food and drink)

*poor man’s treacle (an onion)

*waggernery! (Oh agony!)

*bubble and squeak (cold meat fried with potatoes and greens, or with cabbage alone)

*ninny-broth (coffee)

*cat-witted (obstinate and spiteful)

*swing the billy (to put the kettle on the fire in order to make a pot of tea)

*to get the sun over the foreyard (to drink before noon)

*kill-the-beggar (inferior whiskey)

*muffin-walloper (a scandal-loving woman delighting to meet others at a tea table)

*noffgur (a fashionable harlot)

*rantallion (one whose scrotum is so relaxed as to be longer than his penis)

*hum-box patterer (a parson, esp when preaching)

*maiden-wife-widow (the widow of a man ‘that could never enjoy her maidenhead’; a whore…’neither maid, wife, nor widow’)

*muck-suckle (a filthy woman)

*poodle-faker (a man, esp of the military, who, for the time being rather than habitually, cultivates the society of women)

*bum-bags (trousers)

*to get karitanied (to go into a maternity home and have one’s baby there; hence, to become pregnant)

*too much red rag (loquacious)

*poop-noddy (sexual intercourse)

*rantum-scantum (copulation)

*and tidderly push (and the rest of it; and so on)

*talk Miss Nancy (to talk very politely)

*to talk the hind leg off a bird (to wheedle; to charm; to talk excessively, often with implication of successful persuasion)

*xaroshie (very good; quite correct)

*talk like the back of a cigarette card (to speak pseudo-learnedly or with an unusual syntax)

*main-sheet (strong drink, esp brandy)

*gammon and spinach (nonsense; humbug)

*wagger-pagger-bagger (a waste-paper basket)

*your humble condumble (your humble servant)

*tommyrot (nonsense)

*mafeesh! (done, finished)


New School Slang Translations (from Urban Dictionary.com):

*zombie jesus (An exclamation of surpise or shock originating on Matt Groening’s ‘Futurama’ animated TV show as a futuristic equivalent of the modern usage of ‘Jesus Christ’ as an exclamation)

*tiger’s wife mad (the act of being so angry at someone that you find the item they cherish most and beat them with it)

*street pinata (parking meter)

*beer and skittles (amusement; pleasure; fun. A good time)

*street legal bear cub (a rottweiler)

*Nappy-D (Napoleon Dynamite; a nerd)

*douchebaggery (The greatest word of all time, simple yet pleasing in its onomatopoeic beauty. For one to commit douchebaggery, he/she is not limited to but may include some or perhaps all of the following behaviors:

– the wearing of flat-billed baseball caps backwards
– using an enormous amount of gel to spike the hair porcupine style
– wearing polo shirts or any other type of shirt with the collar popped, a disgusting gesture that should’ve died in the 1980s with parachute pants
– the sideways peace sign gesture
– overdone pursing of the lips
– too many visits to the tanning salon
– pointing at oneself, holding up beer cans, or making other obscenely immature gestures in solo or group photos
– following trends for the sake of fitting in
– adding “The” or the suffix “-ster” to one’s name, as in “The Rickster”)

*voicejail (The loop of options where you get stuck when trying to navigate your voice mail)

*lunch-blocking (The act of preventing or postponing someone from going to lunch through actions such as scheduling meetings, asking questions, or starting discussions at or near lunch time for the target of the block)

*quendo (A male who thinks they are fashionable but actually looks like a dork. Usually very skinny and pale, wearing skin tight jeans with no space for the junk, overly tight clothing, ridiculous cardigan, ‘fashionable’ glasses like Clark Kent [when they don’t even require glasses] and usually topped off with a ridiculous hat, pointy shoes and shit longish haircut)

*powerpuff presentation (A powerpoint presentation containing lots of flashy animations, cool pictures, and all sorts of other snazzy gimmics, but almost entirely lacking in any real substance)

*brofessional (a person who excels in party related activity with a professional style. They are good at all things party: i.e. drinking, smoking, dancing, talking to the opposite sex, getting out of situations, etc.)

*buffet momentum (The lack of self-restraint one experiences after having started eating at a buffet. This phenomenon causes a person to consume above and beyond what comprises a regularly sized meal. This feeling usually occurs in the first fifteen minutes of the buffet and is further perpetuated by:

a) remembering something delicious that you saw earlier and didn’t have room on your plate for

b) wanting more of something you just tried

c) the desire to make the price you paid worthwhile

d) the need to illustrate to your friends that your stomach is indeed a bottomless pit)

*crunked up (partying like there’s no tomorrow)

*Eau d’ouche (The obnoxious, headache-inducing cologne cloud that surrounds a beefy, tight-Armani-shirt wearing dude)

*guido (A sad pathetic excuse for a male; not necessarily of Italian descent, but most likely; usually native to the New York/New Jersey Tri-State area.

WARDROBE: tight zipper shirts, tracksuits, designer jeans, fuzzy kangol hats, tiny hoop earrings, fake gold chains, and related Euro-trash garb and tacky cheese-wear.

NATURAL HABITAT: Known to frequent Tri-State area malls looking for club gear to waste their week’s pay on. During the day when not at their food delivery, telemarketting, or construction job, can be located at their local gym tanning or lifting weights. Can be found nightly at mainstream danceclubs they read about online)

*badunkadunk butt (someone in possession of a large posterior)

*wegros (A nicer way of callin someone a wigger, as in someone who is white, but acts like they are black. Often times a punk or poser)

*obaminate (To completely dominate in a succession of polls or competitions, like presidential candidate Barack Obama did in the primaries)

*eargasm (The sensation one gets while hearing a dramatic climax in music)

*cobra yawn (The involuntary spraying of saliva while yawning)




17 responses to “Swosh from My Nimbles”

  1. Lil Avatar

    Douchebaggery is my all time favourite. Evah.

    Saying someone is a douche just says it all.

  2. Crystal Avatar

    What a fun post! I too am a grumpy goo when awaken too early in the morn.

    Everything is an eargasm when I’m not quite ready to get up and I am forced.

    Happy Halloween!

  3. Deborah Avatar

    Ok, so let’s start with douchebaggery. Unlike Lil, I dislike the word, at least when it stops at the first ‘g’. It makes me wince, although I’m kinda used to hearing it now and sometimes it doesn’t even register. And why? Probably because it has such anti-female associations to a middle-aged feminist like me. .
    But the ‘gery’ makes all the difference. That just made it funny! kWell, that and the fact that this piece is extraordinarily clever. I keep on saying that about you, Jocelyn, and I know it’s getting a bit stale, but it’s a lot of work to keep coming up with new and different ways to say that I love seeing a new title and settling in for the ride. Never know where it’s going to take me but that only heightens the anticipation.
    Given that you are in the thick of it (‘it’ being the Young), demographically-speaking, and that you have professed your love for pop culture (just tonight I was reading a comment by yourself about that very thing) do you feel totally at ease with New School Slang? I have the damnest time feeling like I have a right to use language that has been coined by others and on average it takes me about 9 years before I can unself-consciously adopt a word that everybody else already thinks is old school. But I love what happens to language and how each generation and cultural group puts their own twist on it.

    I can see why you get awards for teaching.

    1. Jocelyn Avatar

      Deborah: You’re quite kind to pretend I’m young and that New School Slang might not sound odd tripping off my tongue. Trust me, I’m wayyyy too middle-class white girl to pull off most of the “street” phraseology that The Kids These Days use. Mostly, I use it for comic effect, to watch my husband spurt soup out his nostrils when I attempt, in any way, to be cool.

      On the other hand, there are a lot of words and phrases that enter the lexicon and become more mainstream, less clearly “someone else’s language.” These, I do use. Incorrectly.

  4. kmkat Avatar

    Asshat, or even better, assmuppet.

  5. Bodaciousboomer Avatar

    What fun! I needed a good chuckle today. Thanks young one and thanks for popping by my place last week. Sorry I was such a killjoy then. Usually I’m not such a downer. Hope to see you again soon.

    BTW- I’m a big fan of asshat myself.

  6. lime Avatar

    any of the variations on a douchebag theme get on my last nerve. d-bag, douche, douchebaggery, all of them.

    i’m sure i have other things i hate hearing but right now they aren’t leaping to mind.

  7. ds Avatar

    Not tommyrot at all (do love that word, “tommyrot”); edifying in the extreme. Personal faves include “blotto” “widdershins” and an extra helping of “Balderdash!” Sad, eh? Even sadder: last week “fisticuffs” forced its way out of my mouth whilst addressing a group of middle schoolers, thus proving that linguistically I am several centuries out-of-date. Which is why I so enjoy coming here. You keep my teeny-tiny grey cells from sloughing away through disuse. Thank you, thank you!

    Ain’t words grand. ; )

  8. geewits Avatar

    I love language, but with new phraseology, just like with new technology, I generally wait to see what sticks. On the other hand, I still pretty much speak like Holden Caulfield although I read that when I was 16 and it was written 10 years before I was born. Also my husband and I have a private language that we really enjoy and even text to each other. It’s a cool language because the words have different meanings depending on how you say them. It’s tricky for texting.
    I watch “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” quite often and I love the weird old Brit expressions that Spike uses.
    I noticed you used a lot of “Jersey Shore” stuff, and I can tell you that stuff will NOT stick around. I can’t even figure out how it became popular, but my best guess is what you said about “The View” (which is actually a good show if you enjoy pop culture, which I do):
    What can I say: they make me feel better about my own life in comparison.

  9. Pearl Avatar

    I’ve always been fond of “twitterpated”, i.e., “bird brained”.


  10. Green Girl in Wisconsin Avatar
    Green Girl in Wisconsin

    I have always been fond of the T’s–twit, tomfoolerey, tinkerbell, tattle-tale, tit-for-tat and totally.

  11. Pearl Avatar

    p.s You read “Sarum”? 🙂 Just had to stop by to say that I had, too. Liza Bean borrowed it to me. 🙂

  12. secret agent woman Avatar

    As much as I love Jazz (and I do!), I have to side with Deborah on douchebag for feminist reasons. Ditto other slang I consider to be anti-woman. I also don’t care for slang that involves asses, bowels, and such. I am squeamish by nature, although I’ll useany variant of fuck at the slightest provocation.

    Although I occasionally use archaic expressions (Jumping Jehosephat!), I don’t know that I use old slang all that often. But I do love playing with words, knowing what they mean and where they originated.

    1. Jocelyn Avatar

      You and Deborah showed me just how far the slang usage is removed from its origin–at least with the “douchebag” word. It wasn’t until your comments that I ever thought about the source of the expression (then again, I only realized a few years ago that sunflower seeds come from sunflowers. Seriously.). It’s never offended me because I have never stepped away from its slang usage and thought about from whence it came.

      Does this mean “douchenozzle” is also demeaning? I mean, it’s not about the woman so much as the apparatus, right?

      1. secret agent woman Avatar

        Ooh. Douchenozzle sounds even more demeaning somehow.

        But I’m like that – I won’t use the expression “wife beater” for those t-shirts. I won’t use “rule of thumb” because of its origin in husbands being allowed to hit women. I won’t use “bitch slap” either.

  13. Jenn @ Juggling Life Avatar

    Oh, this was dank. I love to holla at my peeps who, like me, enjoy sleeping in and the bitches on The View.

  14. Jess Avatar

    Well, I’ll be a bushel bubby badonkadonk butt!! Or not. But a skinny white girl can dream, no?

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