Slang Used in Snow Crash

Neal Stephenson’s slang words and phrases in Snow Crash can be broken into four categories*:

*Catagories ordered from largest to smallest Computer Related:

  • Black-and-white

A grainy, low resolution, black and white avatar in the Metaverse. The default for anyone who can not make or buy an avatar for themselves.

1. Refers to a gargoyle 2. Pirate Dialect for a microchip

  • Crash

A term used both in the novel and in real life to describe an operating system failure on a computer

  • Debug

A term used both in the novel and in real life to describe the process of fixing flaws in a computer program

Unlike the Metaverse, which is 3D, “Flatland” is where a hacker makes code on a two-dimensional screen, without using the 3D interface.

  • Gargoyle

A type of cyborg, someone who has integrated internet-capable computers on his/her body, able to simultaneously be in the Metaverse and Real World at all times

  • Goggled in

Connected to the Metaverse, literally wearing goggles that project the Virtual Reality experience

  • Jacked in

Similar to goggled in, but commonly used in other sci-fi stories to describe being connected to cyberspace or a similar network system

Anti-viral Software

  • Snow

In Snow Crash, when a computer crashes, the screen stops showing an image; instead is covered in black and white pixels that have the appearance of snow

  • Snow Crash

The worst type of system crash, similar to a Blue Screen of Death. The drug/computer virus is named after this system crash because it causes the brain to undergo a complete “system crash” of its own. Abbreviations:

  • Perp

As in real life, short for “perpetrator”

  • Pod

Used mostly by Y.T, short for “partner”

Short for “harpoon”. Both a noun and a verb, skateboarders “poon” cars with their cables to trail behind them in traffic.

  • Refu

Short for “refugee”, specifically, someone who has immigrated to the Raft.

  • Roid

Short for steroid

  • Super-ultra

A Kourrier abbreviation, short for “super-ultra-high-priority delivery”

  • ‘tude

As in real world, short for attitude

  • ‘vard

Meaning unclear, probably short for boulevard

  • ‘za

As in real world, short for pizza Common Speech:

  • Bimbo Box

A minivan, or “mommy mobile”

  • Burb Beater

See Bimbo Box

  • Loogie Gun

A gun used by Enforcers that shoots sticky goo meant to restrain criminals

  • Paddle

A skateboard, see plank

  • Plank

A skateboard

  • Poonmissile

A harpoon antiship missile to be used in battle at sea. Not related to skateboards.

  • Ramp Turd

A skateboarder who is waiting by the side of the road for a car to poon.

Skateboarding through traffic by pooning cars and trailing behind them to get from place to place

  • Thrasher

A skateboarder Dialect

Pirate Dialect for a microchip

  • Dip

A lethargic person without personality. Used by Y.T. to describe Snow Crash victim

  • How Sweet

An event that is really cool or badass. Used by Y.T. at various moments

  • kicker

An outboard motor for a boat. Pirate dialect

  • popped

Caught doing something illegal. Skateboarder dialect. Said by Roadkill

  • zode

A motorboat. Pirate dialect.

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