I heard an interesting term last evening at a local watering hole: to get ghost. A friend and I were discussing a mutual acquaintance, when she used "I got ghost" in her anecdote. I must've looked confused because she asked if I had not heard the term before.
So, I decided to look into today and guess what? The Oxford Words blog has a nice post about it.
The first time I encountered ghost in this context, it was completely unfamiliar to me, and I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. For one thing, the syntax is bizarre. Although it’s a noun, ghost is deployed here with ‘to get’ in a construction that normally takes an adjective; think of the familiar phrases ‘to get lost’ or ‘to get drunk’. Dropping a noun in there isn’t ungrammatical, but it’s by no means everyday, and that left me scratching my head.
If a phrase comes to the notice of some lexicographers in the employ of Oxford University Press, and one hears the phrase being used by ordinary people in a social setting, it's here to stay. I asked a couple of folks if they knew what it meant the next I went into the place, and they all know, so I was the odd man out, though I do know it now. Sheesh, the folks down at the local Moose Lodge are more progressive when it comes to language than the so-called word lovers online. (And, most of those I asked are older than I, so it's not an age thing.)
I'm pretty sure Proof, and probably the rest of us, aren't the intended audience. Part of the great attraction of slang to the young is that their parents can't understand it. In fact, if it starts getting used by another generation, it's past time to move on to another slang expression.
Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
In fact, if it starts getting used by another generation, it's past time to move on to another slang expression.
Yes, I just found it interesting that here was a term that's been in use at least for the previous two decades in a community I've lived in all that time a third of whose demographics are included in the intended audience of hip-hop songs and I had never heard it used in the wild. I do like browsing dictionaries, but I am much more excited when I run across a word or term I've never heard before out in the non-dead-tree world of people and their interactions with one another.
The first time I heard about Cockney rhyming slang was in an enlisted man's (veteran's) club in Slough. And. it certainly was fun being bombarded with all these hitherto unknown (to me) terms in a variety of UK English regional accents while enjoying a pint of bitter.
And, arnie, I do agree with you about one of the uses of slang, cant, argot, or sociolect is to keep outsiders ar arm's length from the group, but it's also used among group when no strangers are lurking, which to my mind, means it fills some other purpose or purposes.
Sheesh, the folks down at the local Moose Lodge are more progressive when it comes to language than the so-called word lovers online.
It still cracks me up that you go to the Moose Lodge.
I loved the explanation on the Oxford Words Blog, and this part might convince some of you cynics:
The cryptic storytelling and twists of language, though, those are what make the lyric worthwhile. How much more evocative is ‘we got ghost’ than ‘we left’? For any hip-hop song, no matter how nod-worthy the beat, creative wordplay in the lyrics is what keeps me coming back.