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Friday, June 29, 2012

Selections from My Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang

Posted by Courtney Ferguson on Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Chin lilac!
  • Chin lilac!

Continuing my Blogtown series, where I peruse my favorite book in the world, the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume II, H-O by J.E. Lighter.

This week's slang is brought to you by the letter "L."

saltwater lawyer n. Jocular. a shark.
1830: "Shortly afterwards a pig on board an English ship near us... walked out of the gangway overboard, and immediately supplied a great number of 'saltwater lawyers' with a very loquacious client."

lickety-split n. [pun] cunnilingus.—constr. with go or come.—usually considered vulgar.
1970 in Playboy: "Mae West jokes are in again (e.g., Mae on phone to Chinese laundry: 'Where the hell is my laundry? Get it over here right away.' Chinaman on arrival: 'I come lickety-split, Mae West.' Mae: 'Never mind that. Just gimme the laundry.')."

lilacs n. pl. comparatively full side whiskers.
1919: "They were calling certain styles of whiskers by the name of 'lilacs.'"

lot louse n. usu. pl. Circus. an annoying townsperson who wanders about a circus grounds.
1943: "'Lot lice'... in circuses, this term is applied to townspeople who do not buy tickets but stand around the lot, gaping at everything and getting in the way."

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