|Slang City Mail|
|February 17, 2005|
Slang of the
Week: hit me on the hip (verb phrase)
Technology has an interesting effect on slang. Pagers (also called beepers) have been available to private citizens since the 1950s, but initially they were used primarily by professionals such as doctors. As the service and range improved, they became more popular for personal use.
They also became the communication tool of choice for drug dealers, and by 1994, that problem had become so pronounced that New York replaced many pay phones in high crime areas with old-fashioned rotary dial phones because they would not work with pagers. Now that most people have cell phones, that is not longer a useful barrier and in any case, pagers have become so commonplace that they are no longer stigmatized in that way.
But the old pay phones still influence slang. Rappers often talk about enemies who drop dimes on them. This term for calling the police to tell them about someone’s illegal activities has not changed, even though pay phones now cost fifty cents instead of ten.
What’s new at Slang City?