Neal Stephenson’s slang words and phrases in Snow Crash can be broken into four categories*:
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
A term used both in the novel and in real life to describe an operating system failure on a computer
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.
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
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
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
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:
As in real life, short for “perpetrator”
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.
Short for “refugee”, specifically, someone who has immigrated to the Raft.
Short for steroid
A Kourrier abbreviation, short for “super-ultra-high-priority delivery”
As in real world, short for attitude
Meaning unclear, probably short for boulevard
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
A skateboard, see plank
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
Pirate Dialect for a microchip
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
An outboard motor for a boat. Pirate dialect
Caught doing something illegal. Skateboarder dialect. Said by Roadkill