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Slangadelic, Baby! The 10 Swingingest 'Austin Powers' Slang Terms

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Oh behave! Austin Powers is finally legal. Eighteen years ago today, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery was released. In the movie, that cunning linguist Mike Myers does more than send up James Bond—he sends up British and ‘60s slang, real and otherwise. Here are 10 of the swingingest.

1. SHAGADELIC

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) defines shagadelic as sexy in a psychedelic way, as well as a “general term of approval.” The word was probably coined in the Austin Powers movie.

Shagadelic combines shag, to copulate, and psychedelic, hallucinatory or trippy. While psychedelic is from the 1950s, shag is much older. The OED’s earliest citation is from 1770 and is from Thomas Jefferson of all people: “He had shagged his mother and begotten himself on her body.” (This quote might be in regards to a legal case involving slander. At least, we sure hope it is.)

The copulation sense of shag might come from an earlier meaning, “to toss about.”

2. SWINGING

The film opens in 1960s swinging London, when everyone and everything is uninhibited, lively, and hip. This sense of swinging, which originated in the late 1950s, probably comes from a slightly earlier jazz term, referring to a musician who plays with swing, as in the style of big band.

Swinging in regards to sexual promiscuity originated in the mid-1960s, as such things do.

3. GROOVY

You can’t have swing without groove, baby. Like swinging, groovy began as jazz slang—although about 20 years earlier, in the 1930s—and has a similar meaning: playing in a brilliant and effortless way. The word groovy comes from the phrase, in the groove, which has the same meaning.

What groove you might be asking? The groove on a vinyl record perhaps, with the idea of a record playing smoothly and not skipping or scratching.

4. THROMBO

“Don’t have a thrombo!” Austin tells Vanessa. Thrombo, slang for a fit of rage, is short for thrombus, or a blood clot. While some dictionaries cite 2002 as the year of origin for thrombo, it’s obviously at least as old as this 1997 movie.

Another British slang term for a fit of anger is eppie, which is short for "epileptic fit."

5. HOW'S YOUR FATHER

“I like to give my undercarriage a bit of a how's-your-father,” says Austin. Translation: I like to have sex.

How’s your father was originally Cockney rhyming slang for lather, a state of agitation: “After the row, he was in a bit of a how’s your father.” But the phrase gained a bawdier connotation when, in the early 20th century, British comedian Harry Tate would break off in the middle of a potentially suggestive speech to address an audience member: “How’s your father?” Soon the phrase became a euphemism for sex.

6., 7., 8., AND 9. J. ARTHUR RANK, MY OLD CHINA, PORK PIES, AND CRIMBO

This example of Cockney rhyming slang is just one in a hilarious exchange in the third Austin Powers installment, Goldmember. J. Arthur Rank was a British industrialist, a serious-sounding occupation for a guy whose name is rhyming slang for wank, or masturbate.

Another term used in the Goldmember exchange is my old China, or my old mate, where China equals china plate, and plate rhymes with mate.

“Are you telling a bunch pork-pies and a bag of trout?” Austin asks. Pork-pies are lies, and although we couldn’t find a reference for bag of trout, we're guessing the phrase means lies or malarkey too.

“Don’t you remember the Crimbo din-din?” Austin's dad asks. Crimbo is British slang for Christmas while din-din is more obviously dinner.

10. WEDDING TACKLE

Like bits and pieces, meat and two veg, and twig and berries, wedding tackle is a euphemism for male genitalia. Tackle, which refers to any piece of equipment, also means penis. If wedding tackle weren’t slangy enough, Cockney rhyming slang for the phrase is witch’s cackle.

11. FEMBOT

“Bring on the fembots!” Frau Farbissinia screams.

The word fembot, a female robot, has been around at least since the 1970s, according to the OED, and may have made its debut in a 1976 episode of The Bionic Woman. In the episode, a scientist replaces six secretaries at the Office of Scientific Intelligence with six deadly fembots. Later, apparently, the fembots go to Las Vegas.

12. JUBBLY

“Smoke started coming out of their jubblies,” Austin says of the fembots. While jubbly came to refer to a woman’s breasts in the early 1990s, it originated in the '70s as Australian slang for something plump or fleshy, like the stomach or buttocks, and eventually came to describe a woman with large breasts.

Where the word comes from is unclear. It could be imitative of the movement of a fleshy body part, or it might come from the word jub, which is a jug for holding wine or liquor. The word jugs is also slang for a woman’s breasts.

13. CROSS-MOJONATION

When Austin is attacked by the fembots, he works his mojo to counter their mojo and gets “crossed mojonations,” resulting in exploding fembot heads.

Cross-mojonation plays on the term cross-pollination, the transfer of pollen from one flower to another, or else influence between diverse elements, as in different music genres. The word mojo, which might have African origins, first came into English in the 1920s. Originally referring to magical power or voodoo, the word more recently came to mean any kind of power or influence, including sexual.

By the 1930s, mojo was slang for any drug, especially morphine, and by the 1980s, it also referred to a Cuban sauce with garlic, olive oil, and citrus fruit. This latter meaning ultimately comes from the Spanish mojar, “to wet.”

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8 of the Weirdest Gallup Polls
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Born in Jefferson, Iowa on November 18, 1901, George Gallup studied journalism and psychology, focusing on how to measure readers’ interest in newspaper and magazine content. In 1935, he founded the American Institute of Public Opinion to scientifically measure public opinions on topics such as government spending, criminal justice, and presidential candidates. Although he died in 1984, The Gallup Poll continues his legacy of trying to determine and report the will of the people in an unbiased, independent way. To celebrate his day of birth, we compiled a list of some of the weirdest, funniest Gallup polls over the years.

1. THREE IN FOUR AMERICANS BELIEVE IN THE PARANORMAL (2005)

According to this Gallup poll, 75 percent of Americans have at least one paranormal belief. Specifically, 41 percent believe in extrasensory perception (ESP), 37 percent believe in haunted houses, and 21 percent believe in witches. What about channeling spirits, you might ask? Only 9 percent of Americans believe that it’s possible to channel a spirit so that it takes temporary control of one's body. Interestingly, believing in paranormal phenomena was relatively similar across people of different genders, races, ages, and education levels.

2. ONE IN FIVE AMERICANS THINK THE SUN REVOLVES AROUND THE EARTH (1999)

In this poll, Gallup tried to determine the popularity of heliocentric versus geocentric views. While 79 percent of Americans correctly stated that the Earth revolves around the sun, 18 percent think the sun revolves around the Earth. Three percent chose to remain indifferent, saying they had no opinion either way.

3. 22 PERCENT OF AMERICANS ARE HESITANT TO SUPPORT A MORMON (2011)

Gallup first measured anti-Mormon sentiment back in 1967, and it was still an issue in 2011, a year before Mormon Mitt Romney ran for president. Approximately 22 percent of Americans said they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate, even if that candidate belonged to their preferred political party. Strangely, Americans’ bias against Mormons has remained stable since the 1960s, despite decreasing bias against African Americans, Catholics, Jews, and women.

4. MISSISSIPPIANS GO TO CHURCH THE MOST; VERMONTERS THE LEAST (2010)

This 2010 poll amusingly confirms the stereotype that southerners are more religious than the rest of the country. Although 42 percent of all Americans attend church regularly (which Gallup defines as weekly or almost weekly), there are large variations based on geography. For example, 63 percent of people in Mississippi attend church regularly, followed by 58 percent in Alabama and 56 percent in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Utah. Rounding out the lowest levels of church attendance, on the other hand, were Vermont, where 23 percent of residents attend church regularly, New Hampshire, at 26 percent, and Maine at 27 percent.

5. ONE IN FOUR AMERICANS DON’T KNOW WHICH COUNTRY AMERICA GAINED INDEPENDENCE FROM (1999)

Although 76 percent of Americans knew that the United States gained independence from Great Britain as a result of the Revolutionary War, 24 percent weren’t so sure. Two percent thought the correct answer was France, 3 percent said a different country (such as Mexico, China, or Russia), and 19 percent had no opinion. Certain groups of people who consider themselves patriotic, including men, older people, and white people (according to Gallup polls), were more likely to know that America gained its independence from Great Britain.

6. ONE THIRD OF AMERICANS BELIEVE IN GHOSTS (2000)

This Halloween-themed Gallup poll asked Americans about their habits and behavior on the last day of October. Predictably, two-thirds of Americans reported that someone in their house planned to give candy to trick-or-treaters and more than three-quarters of parents with kids reported that their kids would wear a costume. More surprisingly, 31 percent of American adults claimed to believe in ghosts, an increase from 1978, when only 11 percent of American adults admitted to a belief in ghosts.

7. 5 PERCENT OF WORKING MILLENNIALS THRIVE IN ALL FIVE ELEMENTS OF WELL-BEING (2016)

This recent Gallup poll is funny in a sad way, as it sheds light on the tragicomic life of a millennial. In this poll, well-being is defined as having purpose, social support, manageable finances, a strong community, and good physical health. Sadly, only 5 percent of working millennials—defined as people born between 1980 and 1996—were thriving in these five indicators of well-being. To counter this lack of well-being, Gallup’s report recommends that managers promote work-life balance and improve their communication with millennial employees.

8. THE WORLD IS BECOMING SLIGHTLY MORE NEGATIVE (2014)

If you seem to feel more stress, sadness, anxiety, and pain than ever before, Gallup has the proof that it’s not all in your head. According to the company’s worldwide negative experience index, negative feelings such as stress, sadness, and anger have increased since 2007. Unsurprisingly, people living in war-torn, dangerous parts of the word—Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Syria, and Sierra Leone—reported the highest levels of negative emotions.

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11 Times Mickey Mouse Was Banned
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Despite being one of the world’s most recognizable and beloved characters, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Mickey Mouse, who turns 89 years old today. A number of countries—and even U.S. states—have banned the cartoon rodent at one time or another for reasons both big and small.

1. In 1930, Ohio banned a cartoon called “The Shindig” because Clarabelle Cow was shown reading Three Weeks by Elinor Glyn, the premier romance novelist of the time. Check it out (1:05) and let us know if you’re scandalized:

2. With movies on 10-foot screen being a relatively new thing in Romania in 1935, the government decided to ban Mickey Mouse, concerned that children would be terrified of a monstrous rodent.

3. In 1929, a German censor banned a Mickey Mouse short called “The Barnyard Battle.” The reason? An army of cats wearing pickelhauben, the pointed helmets worn by German military in the 19th and 20th centuries: "The wearing of German military helmets by an army of cats which oppose a militia of mice is offensive to national dignity. Permission to exhibit this production in Germany is refused.”

4. The German dislike for Mickey Mouse continued into the mid-'30s, with one German newspaper wondering why such a small and dirty animal would be idolized by children across the world: "Mickey Mouse is the most miserable ideal ever revealed ... Healthy emotions tell every independent young man and every honorable youth that the dirty and filth-covered vermin, the greatest bacteria carrier in the animal kingdom, cannot be the ideal type of animal.” Mickey was originally banned from Nazi Germany, but eventually the mouse's popularity won out.

5. In 2014, Iran's Organization for Supporting Manufacturers and Consumers announced a ban on school supplies and stationery products featuring “demoralizing images,” including that of Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Sleeping Beauty, and characters from Toy Story.

6. In 1954, East Germany banned Mickey Mouse comics, claiming that Mickey was an “anti-Red rebel.”

7. In 1937, a Mickey Mouse adventure was so similar to real events in Yugoslavia that the comic strip was banned. State police say the comic strip depicted a “Puritan-like revolt” that was a danger to the “Boy King,” Peter II of Yugoslavia, who was just 14 at the time. A journalist who wrote about the ban was consequently escorted out of the country.

8. Though Mussolini banned many cartoons and American influences from Italy in 1938, Mickey Mouse flew under the radar. It’s been said that Mussolini’s children were such Mickey Mouse fans that they were able to convince him to keep the rodent around.

9. Mickey and his friends were banned from the 1988 Seoul Olympics in a roundabout way. As they do with many major sporting events, including the Super Bowl, Disney had contacted American favorites to win in each event to ask them to say the famous “I’m going to Disneyland!” line if they won. When American swimmer Matt Biondi won the 100-meter freestyle, he dutifully complied with the request. After a complaint from the East Germans, the tape was pulled and given to the International Olympic Committee.

10. In 1993, Mickey was banned from a place he shouldn't have been in the first place: Seattle liquor stores. As a wonderful opening sentence from the Associated Press explained, "Mickey Mouse, the Easter Bunny and teddy bears have no business selling booze, the Washington State Liquor Control Board has decided." A handful of stores had painted Mickey and other characters as part of a promotion. A Disney VP said Mickey was "a nondrinker."

11. Let's end with another strike against The Shindig (see #1) and Clarabelle’s bulging udder. Less than a year after the Shindig ban, the Motion Picture Producers and Directors of America announced that they had received a massive number of complaints about the engorged cow udders in various Mickey Mouse cartoons.

From then on, according to a 1931 article in Time magazine, “Cows in Mickey Mouse ... pictures in the future will have small or invisible udders quite unlike the gargantuan organ whose antics of late have shocked some and convulsed others. In a recent picture the udder, besides flying violently to left and right or stretching far out behind when the cow was in motion, heaved with its panting with the cow stood still.”

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