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Sep 3, 2018
This week’s theme
Words coined by rhyming slang

This week’s words
raspberry
titfer
oscar
boracic
scooby

raspberry
A tiger blowing a raspberry

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

What would you say if I told you that dog is another word for a phone, and that apples can mean stairs, and bottle equals class.*

No, I’m not elephants. I don’t even drink.

I didn’t randomly pick and match words -- there’s a certain rhyme and reason to them. Welcome to the world of rhyming slang! Here’s how it works:

Take a word, say, drunk.
Find a phrase that rhymes with it: elephant’s trunk.
Drop the rhyming word: trunk.
Voila, you have your rhyming slang: drunk = elephants.

Perverse, no? And if that’s not devious enough, you can do another iteration and come up with a rhyming slang for the rhyming slang.

This week we’ll see five terms that have their origins in rhyming slang, also known as Cockney rhyming slang, after Cockney, the word for an inhabitant of the East End district of London. The East End was the birthplace of this form of slang.

*dog and bone ⇨ phone
apples and pears ⇨ stairs
bottle and glass ⇨ class

raspberry

PRONUNCIATION:
(RAZ-ber-ee)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A sound, similar to breaking wind, made by pushing the tongue between the lips and blowing air through the mouth.
2. A rejection, disapproval, or contempt.

ETYMOLOGY:
Rhyming slang, raspberry tart ⇨ fart. Earliest documented use: 1890. A synonym is Bronx cheer.

USAGE:
“Investors blew a raspberry at the news yesterday, which accompanied a lacklustre batch of fourth-quarter results.”
Robin Pagnamenta; Last Call for 13,000 Jobs as BT Downsizes; The Times (London, UK); May 11, 2018.

See more usage examples of raspberry in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
A harbor, even if it is a little harbor, is a good thing, since adventurers come into it as well as go out, and the life in it grows strong, because it takes something from the world, and has something to give in return. -Sarah Orne Jewett, poet and novelist (3 Sep 1849-1909)

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