Welcome. This glossary describes some of the slang, in-jokes and obscure references used among the Bahá’í youth community of the Ottawa region. A large part of it developed around the activities of the Campus Association for Bahá’í Studies (CABS) at Carleton University and the University of Ottawa.
You may wish to read an introduction to the Bahá’í Faith before you start. It may help you to understand some things. Certain Bahá’í terms have been included here for convenience.
Bahá’í communities are generally quite diverse, and the Ottawa Bahá’í youth are no exception. Members have come from such places as Cameroon, Gabon, Nigeria, Iran, Iraq, the United States, and all around Canada, speaking English, French, Arabic, Persian, and who knows what else. As such, our slang is quite a patchwork. I hope you enjoy learning about it as much as we enjoy making it up.
person who takes charge in a group; leader, either in thought or (as is often the case) in action. “Everyone just stands around chatting after CABS meetings. We need an alpha-male to get us out the door.” [W]
note that popular usage of this term allows a female to be called an alpha-male. the term “alpha-female” is generally not used in the same context, but technically could be.
an expression often used after recounting a negative state of affairs, such as the death of a loved one, the foreclosure of one’s mortgage, a failing grade in an important class, and so on. The unspoken implication is that much worse things could have happened (for example: “at least a meteor didn’t fall on my head”). “My father, he just died.” “Oh no, that’s terrible!” “Well, at least.”
The Break-Down of Society. in the long run, what most of the world’s troubles can be attributed to. used in a variation of the well-known game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon; the challenge here is to link anything (say, flowers) to the Break-Down of Society using the fewest links possible.
an interjection equivalent to a shrug, like ‘oh well’. ‘ben’ is pronounced as in quebec french, with the ‘en’ sounding like a nasal ‘eh’. interestingly, a rough translation of ‘ben’ would be ‘well’. See ben de tings.
CARDevotionals are a particular form of devotional meeting that mixes prayer and devotion with fun, food, games, and general hilarity. appeals particularly to youth. see devotional meeting.
relax, hang out, enjoy oneself with little pressure or distraction to ruin the mood. “We’re just chilling and listening to phat beats… want to come over?” also used as an adjective to describe someone who has an even temperament and goes with the flow of life. “He’s pretty chill, he never seems to even get angry.” Also taken to mean ‘calm down’ or ‘settle down’, especially when addressing or describing someone who is visibly emotional. “Dude, you’re yelling… chill out!” See chill out, chillax.
activities that make up the core of Baha’i Community life worldwide. there are four generally recognized core activities: devotional meetings, study circles, junior youth groups and children’s classes. other common parts of Baha’i Community life include reflection meetings, firesides, and the 19-day Feast.
an exclamation used in the presence of someone who is prone to act erratically or in an extreme fashion (i.e. jumping on people’s backs). this usage may have evolved as a warning to others to get out of said person’s way. see j-u-m-p.
a meeting held for the purpose of deepening one’s understanding of something, generally the Writings of the Bahá’í Faith. today, deepening meetings have largely been replaced by study circles.
contraction of ben de tings.
corner store; a store which stocks commonly requested items just in case you run out. the word is from Québec french, derived from the term “panne” (meaning lack – therefore, a store that supplies what you lack). [W]
short for devotional meeting.
a prayer meeting open to all faiths. ‘devotional’ comes from the concept that regular prayer is part of devotion to God. along with study circles and children’s classes, one of the three main core activities.
foolish, lame or witless person. “He tried to ram a jeep into the Parliament buildings — what a dink!” also used in adjective form, like e. “Yeah, that guy’s super-dink.” may unwittingly have been derived from a racial slur coined during the Vietnam War; however, the term has lost this connotation through use.
a carbonated, yogurt-based drink popular in Iran and surrounding areas. [W]
Don’t Trust Anyone. the first rule of playing Risk.
a fast-paced card game played with one deck per player. each player starts with a hand drawn from his or her deck, and several cards are drawn into the middle to serve as foundation piles. the object of the game is to get rid of all one’s cards by placing them one by one on the top card in one of the foundation piles. the card placed must be one higher in rank/number (or, in the case of a king, an ace) than the card it is placed upon. usually results in a mess.
a multipurpose term that generally means ‘bad’ or ‘undesirable’. “This teacher’s given me three F’s in a row, he’s e.” “Don’t go see that movie, it’s e.”
this term was originally a contraction of e-shorts. when it was first invented it originally meant ‘good’, much like wack. it passed through a phase of mixed use as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but finally settled on the ‘bad’ usage. See you’re e, yuri pachenkov, e-shorts.
a guy from PNG who wears funny-looking shorts. unwittingly launched the e phenomenon. it’s a long story.
the vegetarian alternative to a shawarma. falafel itself consists of crushed chickpeas, rolled into balls and deep-fried. these individual falafels are flattened on pita bread, and garnished with lettuce, tomato, parsley and pickled turnips, and rolled into a cylindrical sandwich, just like a shawarma. [W]
refers to the 19-day Feast, a regular meeting of Bahá’ís consisting of prayer, consultation and socializing (and food!) The 19-day Feast is one of the basic elements of Bahá’í community life, as it provides all Bahá’ís with the opportunity to meet together on a regular basis and to give their input on the administrative affairs of the Faith.
a friendly encounter in someone’s home, for the purpose of introducing someone to the Bahá’í Faith. comes from Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “fireside chats” — presidential addresses made more intimate and accessible by holding them in his home, by the fire.
cool, attractive, together. someone you’d like to be around. calling someone fly is a compliment and, between sexes, may indicate that the speaker is j over the subject. “You’re pretty fly for a white guy.” “Man, that girl at the bead store was real fly.” contrast with e.
A not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation based in Colombia, dedicated to human socio-economic, intellectual and spiritual development, particularly in rural areas. FUNDAEC (often incorrectly pronounced “fundy-ack”) stands for “Fundación par la Applicacion y Ensenanza de las Ciencias,” or, in English, “Foundation for the Application and Teaching of the Sciences.”
Popular usage of this term often refers to the series of university-level courses developed by FUNDAEC and used as a form of distance education to promote the development of intellectual and spiritual characteristics needed for effective social action. These courses often take the form of study circles.
particularly memorable, excellent, or praiseworthy. probably an allusion to the recording industry’s practice of gold-plating albums that sell a certain amount of copies. “He did WHAT? That’s gold!!”
an atmospheric term that describes something generally low-class and dirty (e.g. a restaurant – “greazy” is a slur of the term “greasy”, probably as in “greasy spoon”). “Man, that guy behind the counter at the dépanneur looked pretty greazy.”
a popular multiplayer video game involving blowing people up with a wide variety of interesting weapons, including machine guns, rocket launchers, grenades, and tanks. a nice way to end a night of hanging out (although the enjoyment to be had by playing is a matter of taste). see j-lo.
see playing the Hatcher card.
he’s coming to the deepening
said jokingly of someone who makes a ruckus while you’re trying to talk to someone or go somewhere, the implication perhaps being that they will get straightened out. The subject must be making said ruckus in public. “Hey, that street preacher’s pretty loud.” “Yeah, he’s coming to the deepening later.” deepening can be replaced by devotional meeting, study circle, fireside, meeting or whatever else.
persian for “animal”. Used jokingly between friends; to be heyvoon (or to be a heyvoon) is to be uncouth, grotesque, wild, licentious. Particularly used to describe someone eating in a rapid, messy or rude way. “heyvooning” is also said to indicate the act of being heyvoon. compare with sauvage. WARNING: Absolutely NOT for use in any sort of polite conversation with persians, as the term is very offensive.
literally, “holler” or “shout”. used as a greeting in the sense of “shout greetings at me”; usage sometimes reflects this sense literally, as in “holla back at your boy!”, where the listener is invited to shout greetings back to the speaker. see sup.
outdo, outperform, or outwit; sometimes used after a particularly stinging insult or a spectacular victory over an opponent. “Man, checkmate in four moves! He just housed you!” “Dude, he called you an invertebrate. You got housed.” Pronounced with a ‘z’ sound.
the process of bringing a community closer to the message of Bahá’u’lláh through investigation and consultation on the Bahá’í Writings. generally this is done through courses based on the Writings, offered by an institute (such as the Ruhi Institute in Colombia, whose courses are adapted and used by the Canadian Bahá’í community), and through service based on those courses. see study circle.
messed up, worn out, run through the wringer. could also refer to tiredness due to a hectic day. “They made me take another course, so my schedule got jacked.” “I just spent sixteen hours at work — I’m pretty jacked.”
when you want quality, go to Jadeland. Jadeland is the current favourite of the Carleton CABS. Located in Ottawa’s Chinatown at 625 Somerset St. West, it’s a Szechuan/Cantonese restaurant that always seems to be busy – probably because the food is so good.
a get-together of musicians. each participant brings their favourite instrument and plays as part of an ensemble. jamming is often improvised. “Hey, there’s a jam going on tonight at Aram and Ayafor’s place!” “Hey, you play bass? We should get together and jam.”
equivalent to joon.
“dear” in persian. usually suffixed to someone’s name to indicate familiarity and affection. “Elhamjoon, is the tea ready?” equivalent to jan.
“my dear” in persian. see joon.
young adolescents between the ages of 12 and 14. youth in this age group are granted particular importance in the Baha’i community, falling as they do just before the “age of maturity” as defined by Baha’u’llah (15), by which time advanced mental, emotional and spiritual faculties are developed. junior youth are the focus of one of the core activities.
keep it real
be genuine, don’t put up a front, do your best, go with the flow of things and don’t get upset. may imply a certain grounding in reality and living in the present moment. “Man, that Rudy Giuliani really keeps it real.”
persian for “lady”, but functionally equivalent to english “Ms.”: can be appended to a woman’s given name or family name and used as a form of address, e.g. “Diba Khanoom”. Spelled “Khanum” under Shoghi Effendi’s transliteration system.
a type of Persian kebab made of ground beef, egg, onions, garlic, tomato and spices, mixed, formed into elongated logs, skewered and broiled. usually served with rice and grilled tomato. it’s good (unless you don’t eat meat). [W]
an area just south of Ottawa University best known for the five apartment buildings jutting out from it. due to its proximity to the University and its easy accessibility from Highway 417 and from public transport, it has become both a popular place to live and a good gathering place for various events.
persian for ‘gammon’, or the act of bringing all one’s backgammon tokens into the home rack while the opposing player has yet to bring any tokens home — a shut-out. Being ‘marsed’, or losing to an opponent in this way, is a particularly humiliating occurrence. “Darn it! Marsed again!” pronounced with an ‘s’ sound, not a ‘z’ sound. see takhteh.
a late-night call-in show once hosted on CHUO, the University of Ottawa’s campus radio station, by Tom Green, Ottawa-born shock comic. during the time it aired (mid-1990s), several CABS members were regular callers. From everything2.com:
In 1990, Tom Green hosted a rap show on Ottawa’s CHUO radio station. It was appropriately called Rap Show. In 1993 he renamed the show to “The Midnight Caller”, and changed its vocation to a call-in, talk/comedy show. The show had quite a cult following in Ottawa. People would call in to discuss different subjects Tom had chosen, or simply to talk about something else (that resulted in a lot of people being hung-up on, and a lot of absolute nonsense). One of the very cool things he used to do is organize late night soccer games on Parliament Hill (at 2AM!); try doing that at the White House.
good, favourable. when said of people, indicates admiration of the subject’s dependability, skill, generosity, or general virtue. “Man, you really pulled us through on that assignment — you’re money.” “This apartment is money!” See phat.
when it’s too late for anything else, go to nickels. a diner-style restaurant once located at the corner of Dalhousie and George St. in Ottawa. nickels was part of a chain owned by Canadian pop diva Céline Dion, so there were big pictures of her at the door, but all in all it wasn’t too bad. they stayed open 24 hours, serving decent food and impressive desserts.
a round of pizza dough filled with cheese, sauce and other toppings, folded over and sealed, and deep-fried or baked. basically a folded-over pizza, similar to a pizza pocket (or a calzone, except that a panzerotti has no holes in it). it is not, as some have commented, italian food made out of panzer tanks.
a way of saying farewell. probably from ‘peace be upon you’, a traditional muslim greeting. Also used like head, as in “I’m gonna peace, I’ll see you later.” Depending on the context and inflection, it can also be used to dismiss an idea or proposition. “Spend five nights in the woods with no bug spray? Peace.” See also head, peace out, peace to you, scissors. [W]
peace to you
equivalent to ‘get out of here’, with a shade of you’re e. probably similar to ‘nuts to you’. where peace can be used to dismiss an idea or proposition, peace to you can be used to dismiss a person (although in a somewhat insulting way). See peace, you’re e.
good, pleasing, impressive. often said of funky music with a good beat. “We’ve got some phat beats playing right now.” “Your new car’s pretty phat.” See money. Also used as an augmentative adjective without good or bad connotations, e.g. “I got a phat F on my assignment” or “We got phat rained on”. See freakin.
playing the Hatcher card
inviting a well-known and well-respected speaker to give a one-off lecture in order to boost the public image of a campus club is called “playing the Hatcher card”. A reference to one of the most popular academic Baha’i speakers, William S. Hatcher, founder of the Minimalist school of philosophy. can also be adapted to other popular speakers, (e.g.: “playing the _______ card”).
an interjection used to indicate to the listener that what he just said was so silly, embarassing, stupid, or shameful that it deserves to be quoted and emblazoned on the Internet for all to see. “Quoted!”
the movie Reservoir Dogs. rd may be e, depending on how you look at it.
there are three major elements necessary in any cycle of development: consultation (consult on what to do next), action (do it) and reflection (reflect on how well it worked). reflection meetings are the main venue for the latter in the Baha’i Community, giving all members a chance to reflect together on how the life, development and growth of their community is progressing. they are generally regular gatherings at which guidance is studied, and individuals share experiences and lessons learned with the intention of discovering the best way to proceed.
a game best played in an all-night session. the object is to conquer the world through strategy (and good dice-rolling). all those who play Risk must sign the customized rule sheet. Risk often entails a great deal of trash talk. See DTA, siam, ukraine. See also tock. [W]
persian for ‘of the spirit’ (and not ‘lion’ as some may claim). when Bahá’ís say ‘Ruhi’, they generally mean the sequence of courses offered by the Ruhi Institute in Colombia. these courses are offered as part of a dynamic curriculum meant to build skills of service, which, in turn, can be used to build a community. the courses involve examination of and interaction with the writings of the Bahá’í Faith, so as to understand their meaning and apply them to the real world. See institute process, study circle.
ruhi the frog
a plush frog thrown around a circle, where the person to catch the frog must recite a quotation or answer a question. can be any plush toy; for example, “ruhi-the-pooh”. this practice adapts itself well to study circles. See ruhi.
french for “wild”. Used to indicate something socially, morally or ethically unacceptable. “He’s eating spaghetti with his hands — that’s sauvage!” compare with heyvoon.
also ‘screw over’. to cheat someone or make life difficult for them. “He just took your parking spot! You got screwed!” “You plowed through Siam and took out all my armies in Australia. You screwed me!”
pronounced with a short o sound, as in “hour”. a neologism whose meaning is still evolving, although it bears resemblance to jacked. the term arose from a disastrous game of charades in which a misspelled movie title gave rise to intractable confusion. the term is thus usually accompanied by inexplicable hand gestures. see charades, Maduate (The).
pronounced “shuh-LEM”, accent on the second syllable. A persian variant of the card game Hearts. Differences include point values for certain cards, betting, strategy, and more. The rules are fairly simple, and make for an interesting and (for many) captivating game. see roake.
also called ‘gyro’ or ‘donair’. a shawarma is pita bread topped with lettuce, tomato, parsley, and pickled turnips, and either beef or chicken, rolled into a cylindrical sandwich. like a wrap, but better. gives rise to the expression “Do you like shawarma?” (best pronounced in a thick middle eastern accent). See falafel. [W]
slurred pronunciation of ‘sure enough’. See aaight.
a section of a website devoted to personal messages between friends. derived from the term shout out.
to honour someone by mentioning their name in a public forum. plural can be either ‘shouts out’ or ‘shout-outs’. “I’d like to give shouts out to my Montreal crew…” see shoutbox.
corruption of shawarma. also pronounced ‘shawalla’.
now called Thailand. Siam is the key to the game (of Risk). this is said because whoever controls Siam controls access to the continent of Australia, and holding said continent allows you to have a practically unassailable home base to attack from. [W]
the classic venue for CABS activities. CABS workshops, potlucks and devotionals have been held in various places over the years, but no other place on the University of Ottawa campus has hosted more CABS activities (since the mid-nineties, anyway) than SMD 123.
see trash talk.
a group that meets regularly to study something, generally a workbook. in the Bahá’í Faith, study circles are usually a part of the institute process, and combine study of the text at hand with acts of service and community development. see institute process, ruhi, FUNDAEC. along with devotional meetings and children’s classes, one of the three main core activities.
further contraction of whassup.
short for Táhirih.
take it easy
settle down, chill out. also used as a synonym for peace. “I’ve got to go now. Take it easy.” “Hey, take it easy with that bullhorn!” sometimes slurred as “take it eaze”.
thank you, thank you
a way of thanking the crowd (even a crowd of none) at the end of a performance, ovation, careless blunder, or even upon entering a room after having a particularly good day. meant to sound like elvis, but not an impersonation (ie. no deep elvis voice).
Iran. actually used by some persians. this usage arises because in Farsi (as in Arabic), certain countries are preceded with “Al”, which is the definite article, or “the” in english. So “Al-Iran” (“the Iran”), not just “Iran”. Sudan, Iraq, and several other countries take the definite article in this way. Compare this to “The Congo” (what is now Zaire).
something you are if you’ve done something real good. “Double chocolate donuts? You’re the man!” See money.
a nebulous concept, difficult to pin down or define. generally used without indicating anything, which compounds the confusion. most often, its purpose is that of a non-sequitur, or a way of trying to kill a conversation. “How about these?” “What?” [W]
tings like dat
used in a sentence similarly to ‘and so on’. the term is derived from ‘things like that’, but spoken in a francophone accent. “So we went to Quebec City and saw the Parliament and the Château Frontenac, and tings like dat.” See ben de tings.
pronounced “tuck”, short u sound. A traditional game widely played in Quebec, the game of Tock is simple to learn, yet can be quite addictive and devastatingly brutal to play. The goal of the game is to be the first to move one’s pieces around the board into one’s home court, using playing cards to advance and perform several types of special moves. Naturally conducive to trash talk, much like risk.
self-assured, lacking internal conflict, collected, in the flow of life, implicitly confident in one’s ability to weather difficulties. if you keep it real, you generally end up being together. “Yeah, he always knows where he’s going. He’s really together, you know?” see keep it real.
belligerent posturing, bluffing and boastfulness. meant to discourage one’s opponent, especially in Risk, shalem or tock. trash talk is especially humorous when playing games not expected to contain trash talk, such as chess, tiddlywinks or dutch blitz.
type 2 diabetes (or non-insulin-dependent diabetes) occurs when the human body does not produce enough insulin to metabolize sugar, leading to a high blood sugar level. About 90 to 95 percent of people who have diabetes have type 2 diabetes. “Eating sweets again? I’m telling you man, you’re in for type 2!” [W]
one of the republics of the former Soviet Union. also one of the countries on a Risk board. Risk’s Ukraine was immortalized by Seinfeld’s Kramer when he yelled “The Ukraine is WEAK!” on a subway (eliciting the wrath of a nearby ukrainian gentleman). The Ukraine is generally a difficult country to hold in Risk, because there are so many ways to attack it. The Ukraine must be heavily fortified to hold Europe. see risk. [W]
wave after wave
repeated occurrence of something, probably involving multiple overlapping occurrences. “We envision wave after wave of study circles.”
an interjection of disbelief, confusion or consternation. “Hey, we’re going to go run your car into the canal.” “What the?!?” sometimes followed by you’re e.
a regular CABS event at which a speaker presents a topic and discussion ensues (or a lecture ensues, depending on the speaker). topics are broad, but always have some sort of connection with the Bahá’í Faith and/or its principles. often, such workshops stem from the work of individual members in their own field; theses and term papers are sometimes presented in workshops.
you’re lame, not worth talking to or hanging around with. among friends, a term of endearment and playful reproach. best used if delivered deadpan. best not said to people who aren’t friends. See e, yuri pachenkov.
whereas in polite company it would be wise not to mention anyone’s mother without due cause, this term is generally thrown around among friends whenever filler is needed. “So, is your mom going to the movie tonight?” “Whose is this?” “Your mom’s.” [W]
when in doubt, go to Zak’s. Zak’s is a recent favourite of the Ottawa CABS. It’s a 50’s-style diner at 16 Byward Market Square, not far from the Empire Grill and the Blue Cactus, that serves standard diner fare (burgers, sandwiches, poutine, and so on) and is well-known for its excellent milkshakes.