The Library is Open…Drag Lingo 101

By May 20, 2016 Tale of Two Cities


Everett Quinton’s adaptation of A TALE OF TWO CITIES is not quite what you’d expect. The classic tale is retold by Jerry, an aspiring Drag Queen in 1980’s NYC, as he prepares for his first big gig. Drag has come a long way since then, even sauntering into the mainstream with RuPaul’s Drag Race, and has developed quite the lexicon. Find out the secrets behind “throwing shade” and learn how to “slay” and “spill the tea.”

Drag Mother: n. An experienced drag queen who acts as a mentor and guide to a younger, up and coming, less experienced, or apprentice drag queen.

Drag Queen: n. An acronym for “Dressed Resembling A Girl”, from which the term “Drag” is said to ostensibly originate. The term is said to date back to Shakespearean times when male theatrical actors would play female roles.

Fishy: adj. A term used to describe a drag queen who looks extremely feminine, or one who convincingly resembles a biological woman.

Hunty: n. a term of endearment among drag queens.

Ki Ki: n. A term used for gossip, small talk, chatting, or a heart to heart.

Reading: v. To wittily and incisively expose a person’s flaws (i.e. “reading them like a book”), often exaggerating or elaborating on them; an advanced format of the insult. The term is a reference to the film Paris is Burning. OR n. Criticism made to a drag queen.

Spill the Tea: v. A term started in San Antonio, Texas in the very early 1990’s in the Urban Gay community. To “spill the tea” is to gossip. The term comes from the custom in the South of women who gather in the afternoon to drink tea and gossip.

Slay: n. To be on point, to win, to be outstanding, or to be the best.

Throwing Shade: v. The act of criticism in a blunt and insulting manner.

Now that you’ve brushed up on your vocabulary, be sure to book tickets to A TALE OF TWO CITIES (June 1 – 26)