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July 27, 2011 / Bika

Recipes and Rhyming Slang

Okay, it’s just ONE recipe, but it’s cheap and tasty. Keep a few cans of clams and tomatoes in your pantry and a bulb of garlic in the produce bin, and you can make my “oh shit we need groceries” clam sauce too. Check it out at Seven Deadly Divas.

Shameless self-promotion: Complete.

Watched “To Sir, With Love” last night with the hubby. I’ll spare you the play-by-play; let’s just say it was a culture-shock in terms of race and gender equality, and the cheese factor was occasionally cranked up to eleven (the slow panning of the camera between weirdly-smiling student faces is just creepy, man). Not to mention the gross nude-lip makeup that was the style at the time.

In one scene, these London schoolkids tell their teacher about the ‘lame’ tradition of the older people in London of giving streets odd names based on a roundabout sort of rhyme. I’d read about something similar in a Terry Pratchett book (Going Postal) and didn’t understand it there, either, so I went to the internet to figure out what the hell was going on. Google is my friend.

I finally found it under “Cockney Rhyming Slang.” You take an existing word, let’s say “look,” and you think of a short phrase that rhymes with that word: “Butcher’s Hook.” Then you snag the non-rhyming portion and it becomes a synonym for the original word; i.e., “Have a butcher’s” = “Have a look.” (The progression being Look = Butcher’s Hook = Butcher’s.)

There’s a ton of off-color examples, of course. Take J. Arthur, for instance (tee hee). Wank rhymes with J. Arthur Rank, hence “J. Arthur” becomes slang for rubbing one out.  Titties, rhymed with Bristol Cities,  become a fine pair of Bristols. Turns out you might know a little rhyming slang of your own. Have you ever eighty-sixed a project? You might be surprised to find out it’s just a bit of American rhyming slang: Nix = eighty-six. 

Anyway, that’s what this word-nerd learned from yesterday’s Netflix escapades. It’s a bizarre and sometimes funny play on words, and if you like quirky linguistics you might want to look it up.


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