Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Tehran Street Slang

BBC - A slim volume chronicling the slang used on the streets of Tehran has become an unlikely bestseller. The Persian Dictionary of Argot began as an academic study of new vernacular words in Farsi. But its unravelling of code words used by Tehran's youth to circumvent social strictures has gripped parents, Iranian literary circles and the young alike. It is now in its sixth edition, yet remains almost impossible to find in Tehran bookshops, visitors report.

Many code words devised by the street-savvy youth in Tehran relate, unsurprisingly, to the opposite sex. Public contact between Iranian girls and boys is forbidden, so phone numbers are often furtively exchanged as youths drive around in single-sex vehicles. And young Iranian men compare notes on the women they encounter using - rather chauvinistic - car metaphors, the dictionary reveals.

Iranian Street Slang
  • "Zero kilometre": virgin
  • "Overturned car": non-virgin
  • "Been in an accident": girl who is pregnant
  • "Hubcaps": Bottom
  • "Axle": Legs
  • "Headlights": Breasts
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