|Slang City Mail|
|April 15 , 2004|
Slang of the Week: screaming
meemies/screaming mimis (noun phrase)
This week’s category: things that blow up! While we now use screaming meemies to describe our fragile emotional states, it was originally a rocket in the First World War. It went up into the air, came down making a loud screaming noise, and exploded when it hit the ground (or an unfortunate soldier). Needless to say, hearing one coming would make you pretty nervous!
In the Second World War, screaming meemie was used specifically about a rocket called the nebelwerfer. Its other nickname was moaning minnie (also from the sound it made), an expression which is now used in British slang to describe a person who complains a lot.
A similar word is whiz-bang (sometimes whizz-bang). This was the nickname for a WWI artillery shell that made a whizzing noise just before landing with a bang! But this word also got a second life in everyday slang. By the 1920s, a whiz-bang had become both a word for someone (or something) that is really impressive and drug slang for a combination of cocaine and heroin.
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