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We were fascinated when we discovered a book, “Talk the Talk: The Slang of 65 American Subcultures.” The book, by Luc Reid, is a compilation of slang terms from America’s favorite hobbies, pastimes and interests.

The book includes interesting facts about each subculture’s vernacular, such as why American skiers have more words for snow than the Eskimos do and how a potato chip relates to bicycles.

Here are some subculture slang terms.

From the coin collector section:

  • Blazer: A coin in incredibly good condition that immediately attracts the eye.
  • Key: In reference to a coin, the most difficult-to-obtain of a set.
From the graffiti writers section:
  • Burn: 1. To outdo other graffiti writers in terms of style. 2. In reference to a piece of graffiti, to be very stylish or impressive.
  • Layup: A side track where trains and subway cars are sometimes parked when not in use.
From the hacker section:
  • Kludge or Kluge: A piece of programming or a programming fix that is: a) cleverly executed but poorly conceived, b) quick and dirty or c) much more complex than necessary.
  • Wetware: Humans or human brains. Contrasted with hardware (computer components) and software (programming).
From the hot rodders section:
  • Binders: Brakes.
  • Shaved: In reference to a car, modified with removal of trim, door handles and other parts that wouldn’t sit flush with the body panels.

From the rock climbers section:

  • Beta: Advice or detailed data about a climb.
  • Flash: To succeed in leading a climb no one has ever attempted before, with no embarrassing slip-ups, using information gained from scouting or other climbers.
  • Wired: In reference to a climb  [that is] so well known that the climber can climb it perfectly.
From the scuba divers section:
  • Bug: A lobster.
  • Six-pack: A small boat that can carry up to six divers.
We are looking for government information technology slang terms and definitions. If you have some to share, send us an e-mail message at achandler@1105govinfo.com.

Chandler is an intern at the 1105 Government Information Group.

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