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Rock Pool Lexicon

The writers at the Rock Pool come from wildly different backgrounds and worldviews, and sometimes don’t speak the same vernacular, or even language. The Lexicon is a place where we will list all peculiar vocabulary and idiosyncratic terms so we don’t have to nod and smile when we have no idea what the heck is going on.

A&E (n.) – ‘Accident and Emergency’, ‘ER’ in the US.

Alhamdulillah (vocative phrase) – Thank God! Orig. Arabic

Bakwas (n., inf.) – An expressive Sub-Continent way of describing rubbish, i.e. ‘what’s all this bakwas about free samosae?’. Popularised by the rather awesome Abu Eesa. Does not rhyme with ‘backwash’. The first ‘a’ is pronounced ‘uh’, and the last syllable is long. Orig. Hindi

Barakah (n.) – Usually translated quite simply to ‘blessing’, but it carries the idea of grace, too: barakah is when a simple slice of bread and butter fills you up, or when things go right because you did the right thing. It is something being amplified or increased on a metaphysical level: a little going a long, long way. Orig. Arabic

Defaulting culturelessness (n.) – The mindset of the so-called “first world” (often, but not always, male, white, heterosexual, able, and affluent) when dealing with women and people of color in Western countries and the so-called “developing world” which basically believes that maleness, whiteness, and/or Western-ness is the default, the norm, if you will, and “those other people” are possessors of culture (who are usually then judged as backwards, skewed, unable to take care of themselves, and/or unable to think, feel, believe, or make decisions on the same level as white people, esp. white men). Orig. Third-world feminisms.

Ditherspaz (n.) – Flake-out; meltdown. Invented(?)/popularised by Louise Rennison via Georgia Nicolson.

Dodgy (adj., inf.) – Suspicious and strange; questionable. Brit slang.

Fangirl (n.) – Someone who gets easily and excessively excited about geeky things, and goes out of their way to indulge in it. Can be used to refer to individuals of either gender.

Fuloos (n.) – Money. Orig. Arabic

Hadith (n.) – sayings of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), which form the flesh and blood of the things Muslims base their beliefs and practices around. Orig. Arabic

Halal (adj.) – Allowed. Orig. Arabic

Haram (adj.) – Not Allowed. Often used to refer to things not remotely to do with Islamic stuff. Saya has been known to yell ‘HARAM!!!’ at drivers who run red lights. Orig. Arabic

Having a Blake McFlake moment (v.) – See ‘ditherspaz. (Saya)

Hijab (n.)Shower cap The practice of observing a specified level of modesty; literally means ‘covering’, although it is often used just to refer to the headscarf that Muslim women wear. Orig. Arabic.

Hijabi (n.) – A person who observes/wears hijab.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un – This is a phrase often said by Muslims during times of tribulation, especially upon hearing of someone’s death. It translates as “to God we belong and to Him we return.” Orig. Arabic.

Innit (inf.) – South-London slang for ‘isn’t that so?’

Insha-Allah – ‘God willing’. An Arabic expression used often by Muslims, as an expression of trusting to God rather than chance (i.e. ‘fingers crossed’). This is as part of the belief that things can only happen by His permission, and cannot happen without it. It is also commonly used accompanying the expression of any intention for the future, i.e. ‘See you tomorrow, insha-Allah’. Often abbreviated to ‘iA‘.

Jilbab (n.) – Usually refers to the long, loose over-dress worn by Muslim women when in public. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t have to be black. Often used interchangeably with the ‘abaya’, and South Asians have tended to use the word ‘burkah’ to refer to this. There are other distinctions and differences, but you shouldn’t worry about them. The Western-European spin on the whole area of ‘Islamic clothing’ should be ignored because they don’t know what they are talking about. Some people (i.e. the present writer), out of laziness and affection, generally refer to this item as a ‘jilly’. Orig. Arabic.

Jilbabi (n.) – A jilly-wearer.

LDS – Literally, an acronym for “Latter-day Saint.” An abbreviation for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Usually used as an adjective, as in, “Who are those two young men wearing suits and black nametags while riding bicycles?” “Oh, those are the LDS missionaries; they are probably homesick, so be nice.”
Members of the LDS Church believe in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Details can be found here.
Please note, the official, mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not affiliated in any way with secretive religious groups media refer to as “Mormon Fundamentalists.”

Masjid (n) – Place of prayer for Muslims, aka ‘mosque’. Orig. Arabic.

Mormon – An informal, somewhat inaccurate nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Members of the LDS Church believe the Book of Mormon complements the Bible as another testament of the divinity of Jesus Christ and a record of his teaching in ancient America. The ancient prophet who compiled this record was named Mormon, thus, it is called the Book of Mormon and believers have been nicknamed “Mormons.” It is acceptable to use “Mormon” casually and affectionately as an adjective or a noun, but referring to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as “The Mormon Church” is highly inaccurate.

NTBTS (abbr.) – Not To Be Taken Seriously. Seriously. It’s a joke! No need to get your hijab in a twist!

Numpty (n., inf.) – Stupid person, idiot. Sometimes used, er, affectionately.

ONG (abbr.) – ‘Oh no, God’ = ‘please no, don’t let that be for real.’

On your Jack Jones (inf.) – Cockney rhyming slang for ‘on your own’. Often truncated to ‘on your jacks’.

Punnishment (n.) – A system of torment involving puns. (Saya)

Sarchasm (n.) – The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

Snarky (adj.) – Somewhere between cranky and snarly.  Yes, snarly is a word.  I looked it up. (Rivenheart)

Stupidiocy (n.) – Stupid SQUARED. Sometimes also kind of cute. In other people. (Saya)

Tumblewit (n.) – An occasion of wit passing by unnoticed due to the dullness of the listener. (Saya)

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