It seems that funny names for Britain’s underclass are much in the news of late. Over at Ben Hammersley’s blog I came across this list of labels: Chavs, Neds, Townies, Kevs, Charvers, Steeks, Spides, Bazzas, Yarcos, Ratboys, Kappa Slappers, Skangers, Janners, Stigs, Scallies. He rounds off the post with a mention of Pikies. Wondering what the connotations of this last were, I asked Google, who sent me to the UrbanDictionary.com. It’s an idea that I very much like: anyone can submit a definition of a slang term, and people vote for the definitions they like. Who better to compile the people’s dictionary than the people? There are things in here that Meriam-Webster just won’t tell you. The number one pikie definition is: “a term used for a common, unfashionable looking youth, usually wearing unsurpassable amounts of gold jewellery and reebok ‘classics’.”
To see if this urban dictionary was any good, I tried out the word “props”. This is a slang term that appears in phrases like “mad props to my peeps, yo.” I understand it from context, but where does it come from? I was pleased to get a satisfying answer: props = proper respects. So: mad props to the urban dictionary, yo.