I am wondering if you could help me out with some slang expressions that
I run into when I watch the sitcom show "Friends". I have tried
every dictionary I have without any success. Anyway, here they are:
grab a spoon (it is said when a guy tries to convince another guy to
forget his ex-wife and move on).
3. plugs (it is said when a girl grabs her ex's head, as in "you
7. Marshmallow Peep
it is a bit of too much for me to ask so many questions, but I would appreciate
your help very much. Thanks in advance and Happy Christmas!
Thanks for writing. A lot of my students also have problems with words
and expressions in situation comedies, especially Friends. There
are a few reasons for that. Some words might, as you guessed, be slang
that you can't find in the dictionary. Others are references to things
found in American culture. A third category is slang or creative language
used just once, or by one group of people. Finally, words are sometimes
misheard or misspelled, either by the listener or the TV captioner.
Let's start with some words from the first category: plugs
and crap-weasel. Plug and weasel
exist in standard dictionaries, but not with the meanings you want. Plugs
are pieces of skin and hair that have been surgically moved from another
part of the head or body onto the top of the head to make a man look less
bald. A weasel is a deceitful person. (You probably found
weasel in the standard dictionary as a long thin animal
similar to a rat. For some reason, we imagine this animal is dishonest.)
Crap a more polite way to say shit (excrement
in a standard dictionary) and is used here for emphasis. Therefore, a
crap-weasel is a terrible person who lies.
For these words, I recommend a good slang dictionary. For non-native speakers,
the best one I've seen is NTC's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial
Expressions, edited by Richard A. Spears. The definitions are very easy
to understand (unlike those in slang dictionaries for Americans), there
are examples of how to use each word, and it's not expensive (always a
good thing). Because we get a lot of questions about reference books,
we've added a page of book recommendations with order links to Amazon.com.
To find out about this book and other useful books about slang, click
Shows like Friends and The Simpsons often refer to other
American TV shows, U.S. history and popular culture. The cultural reference
in your list is Marshmallow Peeps. This is a kind of
soft candy you can buy around Easter time in the US. They usually look
like yellow chicks, though you can also get ones shaped like rabbits.
You can often find out what these cultural references are by looking for
them on an English language search engine, such as Yahoo.com or Google.com
(which also has an image search that will return dozens of pictures of
When I saw your list, I thought you might have misheard or misspelled
words like flupie and blobbies, because
I couldn't remember hearing them before. However, I was able to find most
of those words in Friends episodes on the Internet. In these
cases, you will not find the words or expressions in a slang dictionary
because they are unique to that show or conversation. Unfortunately (or
fortunately, depending on how you look at it) you'll need to trust your
own judgment to figure out the meaning of these expressions from the context.
For example, grab a spoon appears in an episode where
Joey tells Ross that women are like flavors of ice cream and recommends
that Ross grab a spoon. This is not a standard slang expression. It's
just a metaphor comparing women to ice cream. Joey means that Ross should
date or have sex with some other women. Ross replies, "Do you know
how long it's been since I grabbed a spoon? Do the words, 'Billy, don't
be a hero' mean anything to you?"
Billy, don't be a hero was a popular song from the early 1970s, so Ross
means that he has not dated much since that time - clearly an exaggeration,
since he was probably a small child when the song was popular. This is
another case where you could try searching for the phrase (in quotation
marks) on a search engine. If it's a popular phrase, it should come up
in a lot of sites.
Most of the other expressions you asked about can also be figured out
blobbies Rachel explains her new job in a restaurant
to her friends: "Sometimes Artelle lets me put the little chocolate
blobbies on the cookies." A blob (standard English, not slang) is
something shapeless, but the fact that these are chocolate and put on
cookies means they must be like chocolate chips, but irregularly shaped.
flupie Rachel has just broken up with her fiancé
and feels that she has no direction in her life. "But see, it was
a plan," she says. "You know, it was clear. It was figured out,
and now everything's just kinda like..."
"Flupie?" asks Phoebe. Flupie, an adjective invented by Phoebe,
is obviously the opposite of clear, figured out and planned.
dinkle (dingle), schwang You can actually find these
in some slang dictionaries - especially dingle (I think it sounds like
dinkle because Joey is trying to speak with a German accent). However,
just the context is enough to figure them out. Joey is playing Sigmund
Freud in a musical. He sings to a female patient:
want is a dingle,
What you envy's a schwang,
A thing through which you can tinkle,
Or play with, or simply let hang...
theory was penis envy - the idea that most women's problems were because
they wanted a penis. So dingle and schwang mean penis. Tinkle
is a cute children's word for pee (urinate in the standard
doy In a discussion about a missing ring, Joey asks Rachel,
"When did you have it on last?" Phoebe answers, "Doy! Probably
right before she lost it!" Although Chandler then makes a joke about
her strange word, it's most likely just an exclamation of annoyance (as
in "What a stupid question! The answer is obvious.")
I wasn't able to find any examples of pla, so it might not be the right
spelling, but it doesn't sound like a usual slang word. It might be another
example of creative writing on the part of the Friends staff.
As for Mitzi and Tootie, those are the names of pets. Tootie was Phoebe's
cat and Mitzi was the pet hamster of one of Ross's girlfriends.
Context is always helpful. Some websites such as http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~shadelet/
have a lot of Friends transcripts that you can review, if you've
forgotten the original conversation. I hope that answers your questions!
P.S. I think most of the words from your other email are also contextual.
However, big fat means really big. It can be positive
(a big fat steak) or negative (a big fat liar), and most recently, in
the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding. To buy a vowel
is an expression from the American TV game show Wheel of Fortune,
on which players try to guess a phrase letter by letter. Although they
have to guess consonants, they can buy vowels with their prize money to
get more clues. -AC