Thursday, 6 May 2010

Word of the Day

Last night I was watching one of my favourite TV shows (Big Bang Theory, if you haven't seen it your missing out on some quality comedy). There was one scene that caught my eye.

Wolowitz - Don't let him get to you its Kripky
Rajesh - Yeah he's a ginormous knob
Wolowitz - That's why he eats by himself instead of sitting here at the cool table
Rajesh - Fo shizzle!

Huh? Fo What? Fo shizzle ... I've heard it a bit in recent times but for the first time I wondered what the does that actually mean?

After avid googling I found out that Fo shizzle means 'for sure'. How did 'for sure' become Fo shizzle you may ask? Me too, so I kept googling and realised that the whole saying is Fo Shizzle Ma Nizzle which apparently stands for 'for sure my n**ger'.

After even more googling I realised that adding 'izzle' to the end of words is a rapper thing to help more words rhyme (I'm guessing they don't believe that the art of rhyming comes from not making words up) and that most of the web credits Snoop Dogg with coming up with the first 'izzle'.

Apparently some things on the web are wrong *shock*. There was one guy saying that actually the first 'izzle' came from "Double Dutch Bus" from the Gap Band. But wiktionary cleared it up with


Popularized by rap artist Snoop Dogg, from a style of cant (esoteric slang) used by black pimps and jive hustlers of the 1970’s. The “-iz, -izzle, -izzo, -ilz” speak, similar in some ways to Pig Latin, was developed by American blacks around the period of the Harlem Renaissance, with hotspots of the speak in Oakland, New York City, and Philadelphia. It was partially developed as young black girls improvised chants and nursery rhymes while jumping rope, with the -iz dialect serving to add syllables when necessary to maintain the rhythm. A similar -iz dialect has also been used by carnies(carnival workers) for centuries.

So although Snoop Dog may have come up with the first Fo shizzle he didn't come up with the actual 'izzle'.

Once I had gotten to the bottom of Fo shizzle (or fo shizz to those of us who are REALLY cool). I wondered what other great new expressions am I missing out on. I asked facebook and got;

Chillaxing - chilling crossed with relaxing
Totes - totally
Fantabulous - fantastic crossed with fabulous

But I was unsatisfied and kept googling. What other words was I missing out on?

Some of my favourites were:

Peeps - my people, friends. "I'm going to meet my peeps"
Props - to give one their 'proper' and due respect. "props dude that was awesome"
Jonesing - to crave something. "I'm jonesing for some fries"
Money - cool "that car is so money"

I also found a great web list that had a list of 53 slang terms by decade. It starts in the 1920s and goes to 2000. I haven't checked that they have the first use of the word (in that context) corresponding to the correct decade. But its interesting to see when the much used terms like.

And another site that has a parents questionnaire to find out how 'in the know' they are about their teens language. With questions like:

Your son and his friend are shooting hoops in your driveway. When you ask if he'd like to stay for dinner, your sons friend says "I've gotta bounce" what does he have to do?

a. Finish the game
b. Get going
c. Run it by his parents

Most of the slang like Fo shizz started out as US rapper slang. But I also came across a list of common slang used within the UK things like;

- Wasteman (London) - idiot, fool

- Bewt or pearla (Wales) - fantastic or beautiful

- Tidy or sound (Wales) - good

- Craic (Northern Ireland) - good fun

- Buff or peng (London and south east) - very attractive

- Bangin' or mint or lush (Wales) - very good looking

- Owned (London and south east) - beaten up or made a fool of

So if you find any great slang words that you want to share please let me know. Im also wondering if I might break out into a little fo shizzle myself ... maybe not. I will leave you with some Jay-Z lyrics. If you can translate let me know that as well *grin*

H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A
Fo' shizzle my nizzle used to dribble down in VA
H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A
That's the anthem get'cha damn hands up
H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A
Not guilty ya'll got-ta feel me
H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A
That's the anthem get'cha damn hands UP!

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