Slang and Jargon Beneath the Waves: The Big Under
'Top, my name is Brock Figglewater, I knew your aunt. I tap a piece of pillow that belonged to your aunt, and I jump belongs to you now. You see, I just bought this Stimech, and I jump it was stolen by a bruce named Horace. Horace was a pream tattle of mine. Three weeks ago, I let Horace take out my pream stimech to go bounce along the billibong looking for bubblely-bobs to bring to the spitter's patch. Horace says he ran into some boom sauce and had to hop out of the stimech in just a tater sack. I cannot jump that Hoarace bounced 5 kims across the pillow in a tater sack. I have tapped spitter dops on the Big Under pillow for years, I ain't no trainer. I ain't rigged to swallow dry sand, and I washed Hoarace. But I need my stimech back, and I ain't got the press to go all over the Big Under boiling Hoarce's peals of truth. I need your help.'
Slang is how the classes pull society apart one sentence at a time by making themselves foreigners within in their own borders.
Even under the ocean the food chain starts with the sun. The wealth of ocean life that may seem boundless has very real geographical limitations on its abundance. The deeper you go the rarer, hardier and more inventive are the lifeforms that thrive. It is no different for humanity. The deepest of refugee settlements beneath the waves is called Marrine Ducks.
Marrine Ducks was originally settled by academics looking to explore and exploit the deep. Marrine Ducks was built astride the Longitutal Trench. The Trench is a crevasse in the sea floor that is off unknown depth, 200 kilometers across at it narrowest point and over 3000 long when measured from north to south. When gold was discovered near the scientist's waystation a wave of treasure seekers followed them. But the community was isolated and the easy to mine gold was all gone in less than a decade. Several tragedies marked those rough years of transition out of the gold rush economy, but the survivors pushed on and developed their own vibrant culture with their own dialect. Here are some examples of the jargon, slang and estoteric references that are used when the residents of Marrine Ducks speak with each other.
- Eye Power: having a lot of conceptual appeal or promise, but having dubious real life benefits
o Example: Following the veins by drilling mineshafts had a lot of eye power, but the frequent seaquakes kept the shafts from being profitable.
o Etymology: The phrase eye power originated from a miss pronunciation of the phrase ivory tower. The phrase ivory tower refers to a place or situation in which people make and discuss theories about problems (such as poverty and racism) without having any experience with those problems. Marrine Ducks was originally settled by academics seeking to test experimental and conceptual technologies. Few of those technologies have been developed into profitable industries. They were described as working only in an Ivory Tower setting. The phrase Eye Power has come to describe something that looks good, but has not been tested or is not practical.
- Hissy: sick, malfunctioning or not working correctly
o Example: I wouldn't take the yellow seacrawler, it has been a little hissy lately.
o Example: I think I had some bad shellfish, I have a hissy stomach.
o Etymology: Many of the machines in the early days of Marrine Ducks were pneumatic devices powered by compressed air. Devices would be examined for leaks or breaks by listening for a hissing sound associated with such damage. An item that hissed, or was hissy, was considered to be malfunctioning.
- Light: Drunk or intoxicated, and acting in bemused fashion
o After two bottle of sake Alice and Bob were feeling light and kept laughing at even the smallest jokes,
o Etymology : The Nyumachikku, the artificial men that helped settle Marrine Ducks have a brain powered by compressed air. This brain requires of a certain pressure and certain gas density to work properly. When Nyumachikku inject lighter gasses, hydrogen or helium, into their systems their brains begin to function abnormally and they experience a sensation comparable to stimulant intoxication. The Nyumachikku describe the sensation as feeling light. This phrase has been widely adopted to described general mental impairment due to intoxication.
- Preen: New or owned for less then a year.
o Example All the other girls were wearing preen dresses, but Alice wore the same gown she had sported last year.
o Etymology: Martin Preen was the operator of the annual Seacrawler caravan that brought in dry goods and consumable goods during the early days of the Gold Rush. Other caravans brought in workers or raw material but Preen's was the only one that reliably brought in consumer products The term Preen came to describe anything new or recently acquired.
- Quick: Drunk or Intoxicated and having difficulty performing physical tasks.
o Example: After Big Bob drank five fingers of K-rum he was too quick to play darts, and ended up putting three darts in the water closet's door.
o Etymology The Nyumachikku, the artificial men that helped settle Marrine Ducks have a brain powered by compressed air. This brain requires of a certain pressure and certain gas density to work properly. When Nyumachikku inject lighter gasses, hydrogen or helium, into their systems their brains begin to function abnormally and they experience a sensation comparable to an stimulant intoxication. After injesting light gases, their usually deliberate and careful actions are fast or quick and clumsy. The phrase quick has been widely adopted to described general physical impairment due to intoxication
- Alignment: a tendency to act or think in a particular way
o Example: My mother is not aligned for extravagance, and thus was unwilling to entertain the draper's offers of a silk gown.
o Etymology: The Nyumachikku, the artificial men that helped settle Marrine Ducks, have an artificial pneumatic brain that is capable of learning and forming memories. These thought process require a precise of alignment of tiny valves and switches. Thus, how the valves and switches in the Nyumachikku brain are aligned dictate how the Nyumachikku thinks.
- Boom Sauce: Anything that is dangerous or destructive.
o Example: That tavern is covered in boom sauce. It is the kind joint where the sweep up the eyes and teeth up off the floor the next morning
o Etymology: Early prospectors and construction workers used liquid nitro glycerin to clear terrain. They referred to as Boom Sauce because of the danger involved in working with it. The use of the phrase widened to describe any object, situation or place that is dangerous.
- Bubbley-Bob: the rotting corpse of seaborne mega-fauna, specifically ones used by crustacean farmers to feed their livestock.
o Mr. Figgwater drug a 40 ton Bubbley-Bob back to towards his compound and used it to feed several thousand spitters (crabs).
o Etymology: Without direct sunlight, the biosphere around Marrine Ducks contains a lot carrion eaters. The resident of Marine Ducks have taken to exploiting the carrion on the ocean floor themselves. A large dead animal is called a Bubbley-Bob because it gives off gas (bubbles) from the microbial decomposition and they are often slightly buoyant.
- Darcy: Wealthy man who does not drink, gamble or visit prostitutes.
o Blake and Tim both got a large payday from their last trip. But unlike Tim, Blake became a darcy and hasn't spent single coin on liquor or women.
o Etymology: There is a mythical Hero named Darcy from the days of surface dwelling who resisted all temptation, but was so boring no woman wanted to marry him.
- Dry Sand: An obvious lie or tall tale
o Those stories of cities on the surface are just dry sand, and only children and idiots believe them.
o Etymology: Marine Ducks is located among strong currents and relatively frequent geological activity, and thus the seafloor has a lot less silt and sand than other areas. The settlement is also over 800 meters under water. Thus there is not a lot of sand and it is rarely dry.
- Gold: intellectual endowment, intelligence
o Example: The father is a physician and the mother a barrister, and two of their children have become professors. It is safe to say there is a lot of Gold in that family.
o Etymology : The Nyumachikku thinking engine or mind is made up paper thin pieces of metallic gold worked into valves and leaves. Because the Nyumachikku are known for there raw intelligence, having efficient mental function is referred to as having a lot of gold.
- Kay-Gee: a metal worker or machinist
o Example: Bob is trained as kay-gee and works on Seacrawler engines.
o Etymology: The term Kaji means fire in the native language of some the original founders of Marrine Ducks. The term Kaji was also used to described people who worked with fire such as blacksmiths. The Marrine Duck's citizenry started pronouncing the word as Kay-Gee and used it to describe anyone that worked with metals .
- Kim: Kilometer
o Etymology: Many of the prospectors used old irregular measurements such as miles or pounds. The original survey teams used metrics, and the prospector saw distances on the as being measured as Km. They took to pronouncing these as Kims, because they were not familiar with the word kilometer.
- Man (sometimes Mann): Land lord
o Etymology : Among the founding members of the original expedition was a geographer named Archibald Mann. He was in charge of defining the geographic rights of the prospectors, and collecting the appropriate fees.
- Matilda: Free rations provided to the poor by the government
o Example: Bob and Alice had no money and the only meals they got were from weekly matildas of salt fish and grain cakes.
o Etymology: A popular song among the residents of Marrine Ducks is Waltzing Matilda. In the song a poor migrant worker sets up camp next a pond called a billabong, and he refers to his nap sack with all his belongings as Matilda. After the gold rush went bust all that many of prospectors had were the rations provide by the ruling council. The prospectors took to calling these rations Matilda, because they were their sole possessions.
- Mourngrym : a beating or injury that is painful but does not leave physical mark or result in a physical impairment.
o Example: The loan sharks didn't want to hurt Tim's face or hands because they wanted him to be able to go back to work so they gave Tim a mourngrym.
o Etymology: Mourngrym was the name of popular boxer who is incorrectly remembered as never striking his opponents in the face. He did however have a style of boxing that emphasized body blows.
- Mess-hi: cooked food or a prepared meal
o My grandpa took my sack of rice and the lobster, and went to work in the kitchen putting together a mess-hi for all of us.
o Etymology : The word meshi means cooked rice in the language of the some of the founders. Over time the word became distorted to Â‘mess-hi' and came to indicate all forms of prepared meals.
- Pillow: The sea floor
o Etymology: The sea floor around Marrine Ducks is rocky and even. The rocks are rounded and smooth and are described as looking like pillows. Thus the sea floor became known as the pillow.
- Press: the power of skill to do something, ability
o Example: I don't have the press to make puff pastries, but my brother does because he is an excellent baker.
o Etymology: The ruling council of Marrine Ducks put forth a number of standards for the type of equipment prospectors and emigrants could bring with them. On the forms given to new comers on of those standards was listed as Press Rating which was short Pressure Rating. If the Press rating was too low on object it was not allowed to be used. People took to using the term Press to describe something's functionality.
- Rigged: the inherent character or basic constitution of a person or thing
o Example: No matter how much we tried to convince Grandpa to retire, he wouldn't listen. The man was not rigged for a sedentary lifestyle.
o Etymology: Nyumachikku have a series of unalterable protocols in their ductwork that cannot be unlearned or forgotten. The Nyumachikku refer to this as Rigging, and the use of the word has spread to other people and things.
- Spitter: A crustacean raised specifically for food
o Example: Loyd Habblesnap kept his spitters in a enclosed barn after they molted to give their shells time to harden.
o Etymology: It was described by some of the early settlers that the large crabs endemic to this region looked like spiders. Most of the prospectors had never seen a spider and misunderstood the word to be spitter.
- Stimech: A large anthroprophic vehicle powered by steam of compressed gas, Also called 'A Sea Floor Walker'
o Etymology: The sea floor walkers are all called mechanized steam walker of steam mech. It has been shorten to Stimech.
- Tatell: an employee
o Example: I give all my tatell's a bonus every year on their birthday that is equal to 10% of their salary.
o Etymology: Derived from the archaic word chattel, which was used in referrence to the indentured servant directly after the under sea migration.
- Tater Sack: A pressure suit
o Example: Greg crossed 500 meters along the song floor wearing a tater sack that was connected to the submarine's air supply via an umbilical cord.
o Etymology: In the manifest forms of the gold boom rush there was line inquiring about the migrants P.S. status. People baffled by this abreviaion called it a potato sack when actuality it referred to pressure suit. This was later shortened to tater sack.
- Teeth: Metallic Gold, specifically gold nuggets that can be found close to the surface of the seafloor.
o Etymology: During the early days of the gold boom, prospectors could make a good profit simply by gathering loose gold nuggets off the sea floor around Marrine Ducks. A popular joke was that only easier way to find gold was to pull your grandmother's teeth (thus extract gold from fillings or caps). Those easily located and acquired nuggets of gold around Marrine Ducks became known as teeth.
- Top: A universal greeting announcing one's presence, comparable to hello or hi
o Example: I think Alice is mad at me, I said top to her this morning and she didn't say top back. Then I went back to the kitchens and said a big top to everyone there, and they all replied with a 'good day sir' or 'how is the gout Bob', but Alice didn't even give tip of the head in my direction.
o Etymology: The phrase 'Top of the Morning to You' is a customary greeting in shallower settlement. But Marrine Ducks is at the edge of the ocean's midnight zone, and most often sunlight doesn't reach that deep. Thus the phrase morning or evening has fallen out of use and the greeting was shortened to simply Â‘ Top'.
- Trainer: A visitor or somebody of parents that were not born in Marrine Ducks.
o Example: Despite his being born here Jack's parents were from the shallows themselves. It is not a surprise that he married a fellow trainer, a girl from Jasper named Verna.
o Etymology: When the train line to Marrine Ducks was finally finally finished 40 years ago the citizens started to make distinction between those people that came to Marrine Ducks via train or via sea crawler caravan. Those people that arrived on train became known as Trainers.
- Waller1: A meal of all meat without any vegetables of grain
o Example: I don't want to have a waller three times a day but the price of rice has just gotten to high.
o Etymology: Petey Â‘Fats' Waller was a popular musician during the early days of the gold boom. His signature song was called 'All that meat' and it featured the line 'All that meat and no potatoes, just ain't right like green tomatoes'. It was considered to be metaphor for the state of the miners, that had lots of gold did not have the opportunity to spend it in frontier town of Marrine Ducks.
- Waller2: An physically attractive person that is unpleasant or rude
o Example: Forget it Tim, all those university girls are wallers, lets head down to the public a meet ourselves some girls. Their hands may have more calluses on their hands but their words are softer.
o Etymology: The application of this phrase came from the use of the term to describe meals of all meat. Meals of all meat were initially appealing to many workers, but over time the workers grew sick of them. Thus, the term waller is also used to describe something that looks attractive but is actually bad for you.
- The Big Under: Marrine Ducks and the surrounding area along the trench
o Etymology: The residents of Marrine Ducks generally refer to their town, and the general location as the Big Under in reference to how much more water is over their heads when compared to the residents of other cities and settlements.
- Billabong: The Longitutal Trench
o Etymology: In the dialect of many of the early prospectors the term Billabong refers to a small ox bow lake or pond. The prospectors took to ironically calling the Trench a Billabong. The name caught on so much that most residents don't know the official title of the trench.
- Luminary: Any descendant of the members of the original scientific expedition, and a member of the ruling council.
o Example: Nakazatu family are not luminaries no more, they haven't been on the council since the Evac Disatser.
o Etymology: In the early days of the gold boom the only electrical generator in Marrine Ducks was owned by the Nash/Nakazatu exploration team. They provided all the electricity to the settlement for year, and the families of that founding scientific expedition became known as luminaries.
- Klick: sleep or to sleep
o Example: John is klicking in the back of his seacrawler since Alice kicked him out.
o Example: You look exhausted Blake. You should get some klick.
o Etymology: Nyumachikku do go through rest period much like sleep in which their pneumatic brain systematically goes through all then new paths and channels created recently. While Nyumachikku do this they make a regular ticking or clicking sound. This noise was termed Klick and has come to refer to sleep or rest in general.
- Sock: a fight or to fight
o Example: There is bare knuckled sock tonight over at Blake's Public House. I am betting ten coins that the champ goes down in the third round.
o Etymology: The original scientific expedition, for better or worse, brought their children, with them. These children did not have a lot of toys inside the cramped seacrawler caravan. But each child did have several sets of toy sock puppets. They were told to resolve their intra children arguments with the puppets. Thus fights became knowns as socks.
- Bottle: to provide with life sustain materials
o Example: Jake bottled the submarine well, placing inside a weeks worth of extra rations and an extra tank of breathable atmosphere for each person.
o Etymology: Nyumachikku have bottles of compressed air in their chests that they need to replace periodically or they will die. The process of replacing the air became known as bottling. The term bottle came to mean any action that provides life support.
- Bounce: to walk along the seafloor
o Etymology: Walking across the sea floor and these depths in a pressure suit is often across between a swim, a stumble and a crawl. It does not resemble bouncing at all and the reference was ironic.
- Grind: to move an object
o Example: Hey, you guys grinds your mugs out of the way so I can set these plates down.
o Etymology: Nyumachikku make humming of grinding noise when they perform manual laborer. The term grinding came to refer to the noise made when Nyumachikku moved things around, and then became more widely used over time.
- Jump: to assume or believe with out external confirmation or supporting facts
o Etymology: a shortened version of the phrase jump to conclusion, but may also mean guess or speculate.
- Patch: to place something in a specific location
o Example: I patched the book of the table in the study, but now I can't find it. I think it was stolen.
o Etymology: During the prospector days the areas were people worked were call patches, as in patches of land. But Archibald Mann, chief geographer, implemented a rotating patch system, so that one worker would not have a monopoly on profitable area. The term 'where a you patching today' came into being, and then was followed up by 'where are you patched?'. Eventually the word patch simply came to mean placed or located.
- Tapping: to use or consume
o Example: Are you still tapping that plate or can take it back to the kitchen a give it a good washing?
o Example: I haven't tapped my harmonica in years, but I might take her down to the public house tonight and join in the big sing.
o Etymology: The various structures of the Marrine Ducks are connected by pipes that provide air and electrical wire, but not by the typical walkway umbilical that define most settlements. Where as most settlements can truly be seen as one large habitat, Marrine Ducks is a series of smaller buildings, but they are connected via utility lines. The term Tapping means to connect to a utility line or to use the materials (electricity, air, fresh water), but it use has been expanded to describe any active employment of an object or material.
Claustrophobic Rage syndrome , Most often found in divers,this condition can be found anywhere. The victum enters into an adrenalin filled psychosis and becomes an unstoppable killing machine(spree killer not serial). They will shun weapons other than what is around them, excluding missile weapons. They will be able to take superhuman amounts of damage and have double to triple strength. They might as well be killed, as once they calm down, they will enter into the rage again.Called 'going native'
Cannibalistic Nutrition Deficiency The victim will desire to eat human flesh. They will feed on the same body part(liver, brain heart etc) Subject will develop cunning serial killer instincts . Once caught, if society needs the skills of the individual, they can be taught to just drink small amounts of human blood and raw animal organs but must be monitored carefully Called 'The Chews'
Kalium induced Hoarding Complex Found most often among engineers and low level techs who handle Kalium. At first subject will steal small amounts of Kalium. The individual will have feelings of needing to keep themselves alive by stealing spare parts from either power production or oxygen making equipment. It will eventually lead to them shutting down a major component, causing a catastrophic shutdown of the involved system. Called The Takes
Agoraphobic Related Diving Complex Individual will refuse to take diving suit off. True danger to self in keeping suit shut and running out of oxygen, will be provoked to violence if you try to get him out of diving gears. Very hard to catch early, as it is common for divers to remain in their gear for a while in there off hours, early ssigns are not taking off gloves and the key here is to catch them sleeping in their gear Called 'Suiting'.
Kalium Induced Lycanthropy often indistinguishable from The Chews. Subject will be triggered into cunning feral behavior by an external stimulus,(lights strobing, wife yelling, kids crying. Subject will then hunt,werewolf like, in the more abandoned sections of the habitat. Subject will have no memory of behavior. Called Shark Heads
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? Responses (6)
Nice start, some great ones, some not so.prob a little early in the setting for this but later obvious ones can easily be added. Not sure about the shear number of them do to gamer fatigue poss from doing this as part of a published world.again easlly trimmed at publication. 4/5
Nyumachikku are very cool. Steampunk androids. How sentient are you making them? Ae they an underclass?soldiers? My cult will view them in 3 ways ,some will view them as abominations some will see them as angels(poss slang?) some will see them the way hinus view cows, No matter what the opinion, it will be strongly held, a source of friction between chapters! Angel Liberation Front anyone ?
Name doesnt roll off the mouth right thou ,while artistic, not sure if it would find its way into common use.
This is excellent. So much detail into each one. Great stuff here Axle!
This is pretty darn impressive axle!! Love the slang etymology explainers! Strong shades of Burgess' Nadsat.