Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Cockney rhyming slang is a witty patois from the East End of London that often leaches into the wider language. It takes familiar phrases and assigns new meanings that are synonyms of rhyming but otherwise unrelated words. A fiendish detail is then applied, one that makes the slang all-but-incomprehensible to the unitiated: the second half of the phrase--including the rhyming element--is lopped off, leaving an odd bit with no logical connection to the word from which it was derived.

You don't understand? Sorry, but it is very difficult to explain. Perhaps an example will help ...

The familiar sixties' slang term "bread," meaning "money," is rhyming slang that escaped into the world. The sequence: (1) there is the familiar (at least in the UK) phrase "bread and honey"; (2) "honey" rhymes with "money"; (3) lop off the rhyming part--ie, "and honey"; and (4) you're left with "bread." That's all there is to it.

Some other examples:

"loaf" = "head"--from "loaf of bread"
"apples" = "stairs"--from "apples and pears"
"butcher's" = "look"--from "butcher's hook"
"whistle" = "suit" (of clothes)--from "whistle and flute"
"trouble" = "wife"--from "trouble and strife"
"mince" = "eye"--from "mince pie" (usually plural: "minces" or "mincers")
"teapot" = "kid" (child)--from "teapot lid"
"dog" = "telephone"--from "dog and bone"

And my favorite: "porky" = "lie," in the "falsehood" sense. Because "lie" rhymes with "pork pie," which invariably is shortened to the familiar "porky."

Yes, there is a point here, and porky it is. Because John Kerry shares Al Gore's compulsion for concocting self-aggrandizing porkies that inevitably embarrass and diminish him. Such as those jaunts to Cambodia "seared, seared" into his memory, and his repeated pretensions to running the Boston Marathon, a claim seriously questioned by blogger Ace of Spades. And now this:

On Monday, Travelling Shoes blogger Mike Schneider revealed that Kerry, evidently laboring under the delusion that he is competing for the deer hunters' vote, bragged in a recent Field & Stream interview that he had once shot "probably an 8-pointer, something like that--nothing terribly big," and that he "once had an incredible encounter with the most enormous buck--I don't know, 16 points or something. It was just huge. And I failed to pull the trigger at the right moment. I was hunting down in Massachusetts, on the Cape."

Schneider: "Two things: First, an 8 pointer would be huge, a buck of a life-time for most guys. And a 16-pointer would be the grand-daddy of all New England deer, in fact, it'd be close to a Massachusetts record. Second, no one hunts deer on Cape Cod. In fact anti-hunting activists are particularly active on the Cape.

"He wasn't in Cambodia, it's beginning to look like he didn't run the Boston Marathon, and now this. Perhaps it's time we started calling him Senator von Munchausen."

Then Kerry's best friend in the whole world, Power Line blogger "Hindrocket," aka John H. Hinderaker, weighed in:

"If you go to Mike's site, he has links to the Field & Stream article, information about deer hunting in Massachusetts, and on Kerry's participation (or lack thereof) in the Boston Marathon. Having spent a little time on Cape Cod, it is hard to imagine that anyone would hunt deer there. Let alone bag the biggest deer in Massachusetts history!"

You'd think the guy would use his loaf ...

UPDATE - 10:45am pt: here's a new one ... "Britneys" = "beers." You figure it out.

UPDATE - 12:05pm pt: "brass tacks" = "facts." Things to get down to.