The Origin of A-Hole and Other Slang

Slang has been around longer than you might think — we’ve been calling a house a “crib” since the 1500’s — and new slang terms are born everyday. But for most of its life, slang has been “dissed” — banished to the outer fringes of language, considered “unworthy” of our attention or serious study.

Until now.

Tonight on Slang Hunters, we’re taking you on an “A to Z” tour of slang — from the hilariously outdated to the very latest.

Did you know there are more synonyms for ‘drunk’ than any other word in the English language? About 3,000 in all!

And there are even more phrases where that came from. “Three sheets to the wind” emerged as an expression as early as the 1700s. Although many think of sheets as sails, they are actually the ropes that are used to adjust the positioning of the sails on boats. If all three sheets are untied and blowing in the wind, the ship’s course becomes very erratic and the boat runs the risk of capsizing. Thus, being “three sheets to the wind” conjures images of an out-of-control drunk stumbling around uncontrollably.

But it’s not all about alcohol, take the word a-hole for example… watch this video to discover how the term came about, and took off.

Want more? Tune in to Slang Hunters tonight at 10P!


  1. Brian
    Sandy Hook, CT
    June 17, 2013, 9:25 pm

    Watched the show and found it amusing that National Geographics showed a map of the United States in a puzzle with Al Gore and labeled Utah as Nevada. How does National Geographica not know the United States map and location of our states.

  2. Todd
    Wausau, WI
    June 18, 2013, 6:35 pm

    Saw the show last night and liked it. When is the next episode going to air?

  3. A BiPolar Guy
    McMurdo Station, Antartica
    June 19, 2013, 8:29 pm

    fun show but the idea that slang has been unstudied “until now” as post says, is not true. scholars have studied it for decades, researched origins and evolutions, made dictionaries, the lot.

  4. CJ
    Brooklyn, NY
    June 20, 2013, 4:09 pm

    Loved the episode, and actually got my brother to sit down and watch it too. Hope the next episode comes soon!