Walk On The Wild Side!!! Great Images of New York City (Vocabulary Below)

Song: Walk on the Wild Side

Artist: Lou Reed

Words to the song: click here


Fla is short for Florida.

To hitchhike is to stand by the side of the road and ask for a ride from a car.  Usually you do this by sticking out (extending) your thumb or holding a sign.  It is a compound word: hitch + hike = hitchhike.  Knowing this will help you with pronunciation.

To pluck is to remove something that is anchored.   For example, you pluck hair because hair is anchored or rooted in your skin.  You also pluck flowers because flowers are anchored or rooted in the dirt.

To shave is to remove hair with a razor.  Men typically shave their faces, women typically shave their legs.

To take a walk is to go for a walk

To take a walk on the wild side just means to go a little crazy – it isn’t a very typical expression in English

Darling is a term of endearment like “honey”, “babe”, “sweety” or“love”.

To lose your head is to lose control.

To give head is perform oral sex – usually on a man.  We have other expressions for performing oral sex on women, for example, “to go down on someone”.

To be “colored” is a very old expression for black people.  It is now considered offensive.  The normal term is “black” in the US they sometimes use “African American”.  BE CAREFUL!  Many people think that “nigger” is an appropriate word to refer to a black person.  This is because similar words in their languages are inoffensive.  Maybe they also hear the work “nigger” or “nigga” in rap or hip hop music.  This is one of the most offensive words in the language and might even cause a fight.  Do not use this word.

Hustle is a word with many meanings – context is very important here.  To be a “hustler” means to be a prostitute.  Logically, to hustle can occasionally mean to sell your body, like in this song, but it very frequently means “to hurry” or “go fast”.  This last meaning is appropriate even in polite English.

Ex: Let’s hustle; we don’t want to miss the train! (to hurry or go fast)

To hit can mean to make contact with someone very forcefully with your hand or fist (a closed hand).  Boxers, for example, hit one another.  But to hit can also mean “to arrive” or “go to”.

Ex: I’ll call you when I hit (arrive in) New York.

Soul food is the traditional food of the African American people.

Go go go in the context it means “go go” dance.

To speed is to go fast.  The preposition “away” gives the sense of “leave” or “opposite direction” when combine with some verbs.  For example, walk away, run away, swim away, look away, drive away…

However, in this song “to speed” likely means to take “speed” a powerful drug (stimulant/amphetamine).  When someone is on the drug speed and then suddenly runs out of energy, we say they have “crashed”.  Valium is a depressant or calming drug.  It is thought to help people through one of these “crashes”.

Bash can be a very big, fun party or a sudden hit.

Ex: You are all invited to my birthday bash (big, fun party).

Ex: This morning I bashed my head on my car door (to hit).

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