Even if you are a native English speaker and have a decent grasp of the language, it doesn’t mean you know the slang, which is constantly changing and harder to keep a grasp on. Especially these days, with the internet and the way web jargon is always coming and going.
Anyone who wants to keep up with the times will need a little bit of help. So where do you go to get it? I would suggest a slang dictionary, and there are quite a few around the net that you can use. These are the five that I consider the best, and you may have even used yourself in the past.
Of course, Urban Dictionary is always going to be the first port of call. User contributed definitions are added to different words (or suggested words), which can then be voted on by other users. If they disagree or want to give a different definition to the same word, that can be added and voted on, as well. You are able to give examples to put the term into context. I would say this is the most popular slang site on the web. They even have video definitions now, which can be incredibly funny to watch.
What if you aren’t looking for a word definition, but a breakdown of an acronym that you have seen posted somewhere like a social networking site? This can be frustrating, because anything is able to be broken down into an abbreviation of some sort. But only some of them are considered ‘official’ and are likely to be widely known across the web. Get past that by checking out the meaning on this site. You can browse by starting letter, search one out, see what is trending now or just learn random ones.
3. Word Spy
Created by Paul McFedries, this is a collection of buzz words being created all over the world, both online and in real life, every day. Not only does he offer the word and the meaning, but he lets you know where it originally came from so you have the full context it was first used in. Very interesting for word lovers that like to know where their words originated. You can see the archives by the first letter, check out recent posts or search. I like keeping an eye on the front page, and visit a few times a week to see if anything interesting has been added. This is a definite RSS subscription must.
This is a helpful wiki style dictionary for people who know something about rap to educate those who don’t. From the artists themselves to terminology used in mainstream and underground hip hop styles alike, you can find it here. It is still a growing site in comparison to other wikis, but they have more than 8,000 content pages so far. Not a bad start!
Oh, Twitter…you are like a world onto yourself. Between hashtags and status updates themselves, it is easy for even the most obsessed tweeter to get confused by some of the buzz words showing up on the site. This is a compendium of those terms. Search by letter or keyword, and submit a word if you want to. It isn’t that extensive yet, but I have found a fair number of good descriptions within. It is worth adding to the guide, as well.
Do you know of any dictionaries that deal primarily in slang or internet terminology? We would love to hear about it. Leave us a comment and let us know which dictionaries you prefer to use.