6 Everyday Words With Disturbing Alternate Meanings

#3. Iron

You Know It As:

A plentiful ore, a handy device for smoothing out creases and the second album from Finnish heavy metal gods Ensiferum.

But It Can Also Be:

A male homosexual, usually a prostitute.

Wait, What?

You have Cockney rhyming slang to thank for this bewildering bit of etymology. If you're not familiar with the world of Cockney rhyming slang, basically it's just coming up with a slang term for something purely because it rhymed with it. So you used to hear people call money "bread" because money rhymes with "bread and honey." Yes, it's retarded.

Retardedly delicious!

So with "iron," first there was the colloquial term for prostitute, which was "horse." This was eventually expanded to become "horse's hoof," because of... the sexiness inherent to horse's feet? Then there came the Cockney euphemism for a male homosexual, "poof," which astute Cracked readers will recognize as rhyming with "hoof."

Both slang terms were then snatched up by the Cockney version into the new term "iron hoof," as in "horseshoe." This was finally shortened to "iron," because Cockney rhyming slang was invented for the sole purpose of making it impossible to tell what someone is talking about.

What the hell is "Visa"?

How To Use It In A Sentence:

"My pants were bunching up around the crotch, but after a few hours with an iron they were all straightened out."

#2. Explosion

You Know It As:

The best part of any Die Hard movie, and the second largest export from the Middle East.

But It Can Also Be:

The act of childbirth.

Wait, What?

Another English artifact, this cheerful euphemism for the miracle of life gained popularity with Great Britain's lower classes around the last half of the 19th century, dying out some 60 years later. You can't really blame British commoners for trying to jazz up the nerve-wracking (and utterly terrifying) process of producing another human being. We just sort of wish that they had picked a word that conjured up fewer cringe-inducing images of hospital walls splattered by baby components.

Of course, now that we think about it, the term does have a certain appeal. After all, how would you rather imagine your child being brought into this world? Bloody and squalling after a painful, multi-hour process; or leaping out of the womb at the very last moment, being propelled into the doctor's arms by a gout of flame issuing from the proud mother's vagina? That's what we thought.

How To Use It In A Sentence:

"Bob's wife was in a massive explosion yesterday, poor guy."

#1. Attic, Bunny, Fiddle, Leather, Magnet, Money, Mushroom, Pancake, Purse, Quarry, Shell and Valve

You Know Them As:

A dozen unrelated items, completely lacking in any significant likeness or common linking thread.

But They Can Also Be:

Vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina, vagina and vagina.

Wait, What?

These are honestly from all over, and it's doubtful that any of them ever saw more than a decade of usage, if that. Some are as recent as the turn of the last century, others go all the way back to the 1600s, but the one commonality is that they all represent both creative bankruptcy and depressing levels of horniness on the part of their inventors.

We're pretty certain that none of these were intended as pick-up lines; it's pretty hard to imagine even the most desperate of old-timey women being charmed into bed by an amateur poet promising to "mine the hell out of her quarry," or "flip the dickens out of her pancake."

"Come on, how 'bout you let me rummage around in your purse?"

We'd rather picture that same poet taking a leisurely stroll through town, chosing objects at random and saying to himself, "now that looks exactly like something I would stick my cock in" over and over again.

How To Use Them In A Sentence:

"I just finished sticking my penis repeatedly into your attic, bunny, fiddle, leather, magnet, money, pancake, purse, quarry, shell and valve! Now I need a shower."

When not writing for Cracked, Malcolm also writes for The Last Gaffe.

And get ready to swear off some more words after checking out 8 Racist Words You Use Every Day. Or find out about some people who made it into the dictionary for all the wrong reasons, in 8 People Who Inspired Words (For Embarrassing Reasons).

And visit Cracked.com's Top Picks which may or may not be slang for our wangs.

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