Definition of rhyming slang noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


rhyming slang

BrE BrE//ˈraɪmɪŋ slæŋ//
; NAmE NAmE//ˈraɪmɪŋ slæŋ//
jump to other results
a way of talking in which you use words or phrases that rhyme with the word you mean, instead of using that word. For example in cockney rhyming slang ‘apples and pears’ means ‘stairs’. Culturerhyming slangRhyming slang is a form of slang in which a word is replaced by a phrase that rhymes (= has or ends with the same sound) with it, and is often humorous. Rhyming slang is closely associated with the cockney speech of London, though some phrases are more widely heard. It may have developed in the late 18th century as a private language used by thieves or as part of the patter (= talk) of street traders.Examples of rhyming slang which are familiar to most British people are apples and pears (stairs), trouble and strife (wife), plates of meat (feet) and dicky dirt (shirt). Sometimes the rhyming part of the phrase has been dropped. Somebody may say, for instance, that they are going to take a butcher's (have a look at something). The original expression was take a butcher's hook which rhymed with look. Similarly, a person may say use your loaf (think about something). Originally the rhyming phrase was use your loaf of bread, which rhymed with head.Some words that originated in rhyming slang have become part of the regular language. For instance, raspberry in the sense of a disapproving sound made with the tongue and lips, comes from raspberry tart, the rhyming slang for ‚fart‘ (= the noise of air let out through a person's bottom).
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: rhyming slang