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April 16, 2000 - Slangman: Language of Love - 2002-02-01

INTRO: VOA's Wordmasters Avi Arditti and Rosanne Skirble have some fun today with the language of love.

AA: The sounds of spring...

SFX - sounds of birds/bees

AA: And of course...

RS:[kissing sounds]

AA: The sounds of smooching.

RS: Another word for kissing -- which can lead to "necking" or "making out." And from there...

AA:we turn to our regular contributor, "Slangman" David Burke, who takes us through the stages of a relationship and the language of love.


BURKE: "The first step in being in love is actually to be `in like.' Have you heard of that expression?"

RS: "Definitely."

BURKE: "It's a wonderful expression. It's sort of a takeoff on to be in love. To be `in like' just means, you really like this other person, you're not quite in love yet."

AA: "It sounds kind of tentative."

BURKE: "You're scared to say `I'm in love' because that's such a commitment. So you say `I'm in like' - that just means I've got these really strong feelings for the other person that could grow into love in another week or so, or another hour. Now once you're in love, there are some wonderfully common expressions for in love. For example, to be what over heels?"

RS: "Head over heels."

BURKE: "'I'm head over heels for someone.' If you 'fall head over heels,' that means you have fallen in love with every part of you, a deep, deep love."

AA:OK, so how do you express those feelings to that special someone?


"I'm mad about you, I'm madly in love with you, or I'm crazy about you, or I'm nuts about you - anything to do with craziness we can apply to love, as long as it's followed by the word `about.'"

RS: "Exactly, because if you say `I'm mad at you'...

AA: "That comes later."

BURKE: "I'm mad at you, that means I'm angry. But `I'm mad about you' - or even I'm mad OVER you: `I'm mad over him,' `I'm mad over her.' Now let's say, OK, you've fallen in love. The person has `popped the question,' asked you to marry that person."

RS: "Good!"

BURKE: "Well, because after all, now you're in love, the relationship is going well, they `pop the question,' which means."

RS: "To propose marriage."

BURKE: "Exactly. To pop means to appear suddenly, so when someone pops the question, they ask you The Question, and the question of questions is, `Will you marry me?'" AA:All right, let's assume the answer is "yes". We asked "Slangman" David Burke what comes next in the lexicon of love.


BURKE: "Well, once you get married, once you `tie the knot,' once you've `gotten hitched,' there are a couple of slang expressions for husband and wife. Like what would you call a slang expression for husband? A term of endearment for husband? . `Hubby.'"

RS: "No thank you."

BURKE: "Your main squeeze."

RS: "My sweetheart."

BURKE: "Well, those are terms of endearment, and there are lots of those. If you love somebody very much, instead of calling them by their first name, you'll call them a little term of endearment like `honey' or `honeybunch,' or `sweetie,' `sweetie pie' - anything that has to do with sweetness. Sugar - hey sugar, sugar lips. A lot of people will make up these terms of endearment that for most people who hear them are pretty disgusting because they're so sweet."

AA:And, so the story goes . They were strangers, brought together for a so-called "blind date" by a mutual friend. They fell in love. But, as we all know, sometimes things turn sour.


"Ok, we've gone through the whole spectrum: we hit it off during the blind date, we started to fall in like, then we fell in love, then we tied the knot, then the other person left, 'out of the clear blue' - meaning without warning. We got dumped. Or, if it's mutual, you break up. It doesn't have to do with breaking anything, except the relationship."

RS: You can learn more language of love from "Slangman" David Burke.

AA: He invites you to his Internet Web site at, and you can look for his series of books called "Street Speak."

RS: And, as always, we'd love to hear from you.

Drop us a line at or to VOA Wordmaster, Washington DC 20237 USA.

AA: With Rosanne Skirble, I'm Avi Arditti.

MUSIC - "The Birds and the Bees"/Jewel Akens