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January 30, 2003

Slang of the Week: slug (verb)
to hit hard

Sometimes boxers slug their opponents; sometimes they bite their opponents' ears.

Celebrity quote:
"Once, in New York, I must have been in eleventh grade, and there was this homeless guy on the street who looked just like Santa... So everybody's walking by him, finding him all cute and charming. Then I come by, and he slugs me across the face! And everyone else just kept walking. Because, you know, nobody wants to get hit by Santa."
-Jennifer Aniston

A heavy-hitting boxer is called a slugger. A fight with a lot of punching is a slugfest. And of course, one of the most famous baseball bats is the Louisville Slugger.

Slug is also a way to say bullet, but slugs aren't all about being tough. A slug in standard English is a slow-moving kind of land mollusk - basically a snail without a shell. Therefore, if you call a person a slug, it's not a compliment. It means they're lazy.

Of course, not everyone thinks that's bad. Although it might sound a little strange to cheer, "Go slugs!" at a basketball game, the banana slug (a big yellow one) is the well-loved official mascot of the University of California at Santa Cruz. Other Santa Cruzians agree. A summer camp song from the Santa Cruz Outdoor Science School goes, "Come on banana slug, and let me lick off your slime!" Yuck! (disgusting)

What's new at Slang City?
The real question is: What's old? This week in MUSIC we present two folk classics: Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan and Diamonds and Rust, a song about Dylan written by his former girlfriend, Joan Baez.