def
andrews
I'm probably the least-cool person in the universe, but I can't figure out the derivation of the term "def" as in "def comedy jam" - can anyone enlighten me?
AdSumADS
The blimp, qua Graf Zeppelin, is a lighter than air vehicle, and lead is a particularly heavy substance. So it would be said of concerns which are doomed to fail that they would "go over like a lead zeppelin." Led Zeppelin believed that the audience would read "lead" as l-ihy-d (long E, as in "lead vocalist" or "lead guitar") instead of l-eh-d qua plumbum. When the inheritor's of the heavy metal musical tradition named their bands, it included the homage to their stylisistic predecessor's, so a word such a "deft," as in stealthy and adroite, was mangled into "Def Leopard." The audacity of naming a musical group "deaf" and the commonality of sampling their music for use in rap/hip-hop led to the ubiquity of "def" in slang for "rather good."
Return to the archive