420 Day: Why There Are So Many Different Names for Weed
T here are at least 1,200 slang terms related to marijuana — or cannabis or hashish or weed or pot or, as some say, asparagus. And there are hundreds more to describe one’s state of intoxication after imbibing the drug, according to slang scholar Jonathon Green.
Collecting slang has been the work of Green’s life, and the 69-year-old refers to drugs as one of slang’s “best sellers.” That’s because slang and things-you’re-not-supposed-to-mention-in-polite-society go hand in hand. As TIME has reported, that unmentionable quality is what led five California high-schoolers to coin the term 420 in the 1970s, which likely led to April 20 becoming the de facto day of doobies. But that association goes back to the earliest recorded slang from the 16th century, coined by those who didn’t want authorities to know what they were talking about.
But why are there hundreds and hundreds of words for pot? With any slang, as adults or authorities become wise to what one term means, that’s a signal that it’s time for a new one. And the wide variety of people who smoke marijuana across the globe were bound to come up with different words. Green says he doesn’t see the creativity waning even as U.S. states and other countries move to legalize marijuana.
“The terminology doesn’t really emphasize illegality: It is the illegality that created the need for the terminology,” he says. And, Green adds, the creation of such terms is not only “seen as ‘fighting the man,’ it is also simply fun.”
Here is a selection of weed’s many synonyms from Green’s online database, with his research on where the terms come from, grouped by the likely inspiration for their coinages.
Because of its effects
airplane – because it gets one “high.” Also see “parachute” and “pocket rocket”
amnesia – because it can make one forgetful
climb – might be a play on getting “high,” might be a play on “climbing the walls”
doobie – may be related to another slang meaning of doobie: a dull, stupid person
good giggles – because it makes people laugh
Houdini – because the user “escapes” reality
reefer — a Spanish derived word. “Grifo” is Mexican slang to describe someone under the influence of marijuana, because “grifo” can refer to tangled, frizzy hair and therefore a similar mental state. That became “greefo,” which then became abbreviated as reefer
spliff — this likely comes from the verb splificate, which may be fanciful and may be a combination of the words stifle and suffocate. Whatever its origins, the word describes confusing or confounding someone
Because people like it
ace – slang for something superior
baby – a term of affection for the drug
green goddess – green for the color, goddess for the experience
Because it is a (green) plant
alfalfa – also slang for beard, money and tobacco
asparagus – also broccoli, parsley, sassafras and turnip greens
bud – the name for the part of the cannabis plant that is smoked
Christmas tree – also fir. “Lumber” can refer to unwanted twigs in the bud
grass – also bush and weed
green – for the color, the same reason it is slang for money. Similar slang terms are green stuff, greenery and green tea
herb — among Rastafarians, who use the substance religiously, this term has been used to emphasize that it is “natural” like other herbs. With a similar flare, the substance has been called “mother” and “mother nature,” as well as the “noble weed” and “righteous bush”
Because of language
Aunt Mary – a pun on marijuana, just like Mary Jane, Mary Warner, Mary Weaver, and Mary and Johnny
da kine – this Hawaiian surf slang can refer to anything for which one forgets the precise name
dona Juanita – “lady Jane” in Spanish, a play on marijuana
ganja – derives from a Hindi word for the hemp plant
marijuana – the Spanish name for the plant. Many in legal U.S. markets have tried to move away from this term, because of its association with the illegal drug trade, and instead use cannabis
muggle – unknown origin but the use of “muggle-head” to mean marijuana-smoker dates to the 1920s
pot — derives from the Spanish word for marijuana leaves, potiguaya
rainy day woman — this may come from the Bob Dylan song with the chorus line “Everybody must get stoned”
thirteen — the first letter of marijuana is the 13th in the alphabet
Because of the way a joint is shaped
alligator cigarette –may also be related to an alligator’s general lack of speed
bag of bones – multiple marijuana cigarettes
blunt – though the wrapper of any cigar can be used today, early users of the term used the brand Phillies Blunt
stogie – this slang term for an over-sized marijuana cigarette comes from a slang word for a cigar. That term, in turn, comes from an abbreviation of a large heavy horse breed, Conestoga, because the men who drove them were associated with smoking those products
Because of quality
cabbage – poor quality bud, perhaps resembling the vegetable
catnip – inferior or fake marijuana
chronic – the word meaning extreme or severe came to describe marijuana with strong effects
dank – this term started out describing unpleasant, swamp-like things and, like “bad” itself, then came to describe good things, like marijuana of the best quality
Nixon — named after the president, refers to poor quality bud being sold as high quality bud
On 420 Day, here's a selection of the most popular names for marijuana, and where those words come from
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38 Hawaiian and Pidgin Phrases Every Visitor Needs to Know
By Kevin Allen Sep 9, 2019
EDITOR’S NOTE: For the sake of clarity, we will be using Hawaiian diacritics, such as okina (ʻ) and kahako (āēīūō) in this article.
If you’re coming to Hawaiʻi for the first time, prepare to be blasted with phrases and words that might not make any sense to you. Hawaiian Pidgin English, known locally as Pidgin, is spoken by many Hawaiʻi residents, and words and phrases from ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language) has also become the norm here in the Islands. So, if you’re worried about not knowing the lingo, here’s an alphabetical list of 38 Pidgin and Hawaiian phrases that will help you not get lost in translation.
Roaches, specifically the big kind that can fly.
“Grab my slippah, I gotta kill one B-52 bombah!”
This Pidgin phrase features multiple definitions, like “otherwise,” “or else,” “later,” “later on.”
“Brah, you better not stay up late bumbai you’ll miss your alarm.”
A casual way to refer to somebody, short for brother or braddah.
“Brah, you get the time?
Broke Da Mouth
If you’re eating delicious food, you can exclaim just how good it by saying that it has “broke da mouth.”
“Ho, this saimin so ʻono, it broke da mouth brah.”
“My cat was staring at a corner in my room and I got all chicken skin.”
“You ever clean your room brah? Get choke trash in here.”
To steal, stealing.
“I was at Sunset Beach last night and someone wen cockroach my wallet!”
When referring to literally anything you can’t remember the name of.
“Remember when da kine came over? She forgot her da kine on the couch.”
“Oof, it stinks in here! Ho cousin, did you fut?”
Food or a meal. Often spelled with a “z” instead of an “s”.
“Hiking Koko Head got me all tired, like go get some grinds from Zippys?”
Hana Hou (ha-nuh-ho)
A phrase taken from the Hawaiian language, translated it means “to do again.” Often shouted by audience members at the end of a live musical performance when trying to encourage an encore.
“That band was so good! Hana hou! Hana hou! Hana hou!”
Something that is messed up, crooked, disorderly or needs to be fixed.
“I wen sleep with my hair wet and now it’s all hamajang.”
To cruise around, wander without direction. In ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, “holoholo” does not have a space and one definition is “to go out for pleasure, stroll or promenade.”
“Hey Noah, what you doing on Saturday? We should go holo holo around Waikīkī.”
The combination of the words “how,” “is” and “it.”
What you call someone or something that is being irritating or a nuisance.
“Ugh, taking out the trash is so irraz.”
Although the Hawaiian definition of the word means native-born, many use the word kamaʻāina to describe individuals who have been living in Hawaiʻi for an extensive period of time. Many stores and restaurants provide kamaʻāina discounts to local residents who have a state-issued ID.
“My uncle Lester has been living on Maui since the 70’s. He’s pretty much one kamaʻāina.”
Kanak Attack (ku-nack-uh-tack)
The inevitable sleepiness that washes over you after you’ve eaten a large quantity of food.
“Oh, brah, I ate too many leftovers and now I get one kanak attack. I going take one nap.”
In Hawaiian language, kāne means male, husband, man or masculinity.
“Make sure you go into the kane bathroom Rodger, and not the wahine one.
ʻŌ lelo Hawaiʻi for taboo, prohibited or sacred.
“You can’t go past that fence Lani, it’s kapu.”
Translated from the Hawaiian language, keiki refers to a child, or children.
“Have you been to Aulani? They’ve got great keiki services.”
Fusion of the words “like” and “that”.
“Sometimes it just be l’dat.”
A Hawaiian word for thanks, gratitude or to thank.
“Mahalo for the mangos!”
Hawaiian phrase for oceanside, or near the ocean. Used in collaboration with the word “mauka” (see below) to give directions.
“Where did I park? I swear I was on the makai side of the parking lot.”
ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi phrase for inland, or toward the mountains. Often used to give directions or to locate where someone or something is.
“I’ll pick you up on the mauka side of Ala Moana, okay?”
Hawaiian word for tasty, delicious and savory.
“Brah, the plate lunches from Gochi Grill are so ʻono.”
ʻOhana is the Hawaiian word for family, and family means nobody gets left behind, or forgotten. Movie references aside, ʻohana isn’t strictly blood-related, and can be used to describe a close group of friends, or employees of the same company.
“I saw Lilo and Stitch with my work ʻohana last friday, then had dinner with my actual ʻohana.”
Marijuana, pot, devil’s lettuce, herb, the green. Actually a combination of two Hawaiian words, “paka,” which means tobacco, and “lolo,” which can be translated to mean numbing, or paralyzing. So the literal translation would be numbing tabacco.
“My friend offered me some pakalōlō last weekend and I said ‘no way man, winners don’t do drugs.’”
ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi phrase used when you’ve completed something, or a task is done.
“Kai let’s go get some beers. I’m all pau with work.”
The Hawaiian word, which literally means to slice, or cut, wood or fish into crosswise pieces, is often used to describe sliced, or cubed, fish that is ready for consumption. A poke bowl, for example, will have cubes of raw fish sitting atop rice and covered in sauces and seasonings.
“Hey, let’s stop at Foodland. I like get one poke bowl.”
The Pidgin version of the word rodger, something you say when you are in agreement. May or may not be accompanied with a “dat” (that).
“You like go Mākena Beach tomorrow? Rajah dat.”
Small, in size or in quantity. A contracted form of the Japanese word “sukoshi,” which shares the same definition.
“Can I have a little bit of your poke? Scosh, scosh.”
Urine, or the act of urination. Often a phrase used with keiki.
“I told you Kainoa, you should have gone shishi before we left the house.”
Synonymous with rajah, shoots is often used as a way of agreeing with something, or as a replacement for the word “okay.”
“You want to go surf Canoes on Sunday? Shoots!”
Slippers, flip-flops, sandals.
“Oh we’re going somewhere nice? Hold up, let me put on my leather slippahs.”
Small Kid Time
A term used to reference your childhood, or when you were younger.
“Remember that crack seed shop from small kid time? They just wen close down last week.”
Thanks, but without the “h”.
“Oh, you got me one manapua? Tanks.”
Catching up, telling stories or gossiping with friends or acquaintances. Talking story is often much longer than a normal conversation, and a whole night can be spent doing it.
“Nah, we nevah did much, just drank some beers and talk story all night.”
Hawaiian word for female, woman, wife or femininity.
“Rodger what did I say? You go to the kāne bathroom, not the wahine one!”
Here’s a pocketbook dictionary on some of the most useful, and common, Pidgin and Hawaiian words used in Hawaii.