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A Beginner’s Guide To Drag-Speak

BuzzFeed’s House Mother-in-Residence gives you the vocabulary you need to werk it out. Get out your reading glasses, hunty. The library is open!

1. Beat |bēt|


verb: to apply make-up.

“By the grace of MAC, you better beat that horse face into submission, hunty.”

2. Extravaganza eleganza | ikˌstravəˈganzəˈeləgənzä


noun: the quality of displaying over-the-top fabulousness in appearance or manner.

Basically anything Lineysha Sparx wears.

3. Fish |fiSH|


adjective: a drag look that is especially feminine in appearance.

“Serena ChaCha is serving fish. Yes, gurl. Low market tuna.”

(Disclaimer: Using this term around women will very likely result in you getting a few side-eyes, and maybe a couple of black eyes so be warned.)

4. Gag |gag|


verb: to react intensely, usually as a result of shock; also may be used as an exclamation.

“I was gagging on all the eleganza.”

5. Gurl / Girl |gərl|


noun: term of endearment; often used as an exclamatory remark.

“Oh, gurl. I think he got me pregnant.”

6. Hunty |ˈhəntē|


noun: term of endearment; originates from an inventive pairing of the words honey and a certain c-word.

“Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas, hunty.

(Note: Given the viral nature of gay speak, it’s interesting to note how many people use the word hunty without thinking about its origin.)

7. Kiki |ˈkēkē|


noun: get-together among close friends, usually for tea-spilling, confessions about one-night stands, or intense discussions regarding the effectiveness of gun control.

“Let’s have a kiki.” Duh.

8. Read |rēd|


verb: to insult someone ruthlessly without breaking a sweat; see: Mariah Carey every time she refers to Nicki Minaj.

“Oh, miss thing. You don’t want it. I will read you six feet under and then twerk on your grave.”

9. Serve |sərv|


verb: to present oneself in a certain way.

“Jade was serving Hellen Keller Drowning Realness during the Water Tank Challenge.”

10. Shade |SHād|


noun / verb: a similar but more subtle way of reading someone.

“No tea, no shade, but plastic surgery wouldn’t be the worst thing to happen to you.”

(Shade is an art and should be left to the experts.)

11. Tea / T |tē|


noun : gossip, news, or information.

“What’s the tea?” Duh.

12. Tuck |tək|


verb: the magical technique by which drag queens hide their penises while in costume.

13. Work / werk / werq |wərk|


verb: to put in the effort necessary to impress and stun.

“You betta’ work.”

14. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas. |yes|


exclamation: a much more fun way of saying yes; especially useful to shout repeatedly during Beyoncé performances.

“WHOO, GURL! BEYONCE IS THE LIGHT AND THE GODDAMN WAY! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS.”

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

Saeed Jones is the literary editor for BuzzFeed and the author of the poetry collection Prelude to Bruise, and is based in New York.
Contact Saeed Jones at saeed.jones@buzzfeed.com.
 
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