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"Slag" is one of the most versatile words in the Cybertronian vernacular. It is most commonly used as an expletive, a use that originated during Beast Wars, and it has caught on in most subsequent series. Its use is wide and varied:
- Exclamation: "Aw, slag!" (This form is the most common use of the word)
- Noun: "You sickening piece of slag!"
- Verb: "You got to be slagging me."
- Adjective: "Slagging Computer!"
It is therefore possible to build an entire sentence of this word:
- "Slaggit! The slaggin' slag-faced motha-slaggin' slagger slagged the slaggers."
An observant reader will note that most human teenagers often say sentences just like this one, but with human expletives.
The term made its first appearance in the episode "The Immobilizer" of the original series (Starscream when faced with the realization that the Autobots are actually smart: "We should vaporize those Autobot fools and fuse their carcasses into slag!"). It was used as an insult in "The Return of Optimus Prime, Part 2" of the original series (Galvatron to the hateplague-infected Cyclonus: "Die, you worthless piece of slag!", right before he became infected himself).
- The literal meaning of slag is 'a vitreous mass left from the refining of metallic ores'. It can also refer to this mass while in its molten state, which floats atop the ore. Slag is, therefore, a waste product, but useful for building roads, fertilizing fields, ballasting track, and of course, a good solid round of cursifying.
- In British English, "slag" is also slang for "slut" and "skank", which explains why Transformers Animated Snarl took this as an insult. Hmm. Showing of Beast Wars in the UK were on early morning magazine show GMTV, and the word was usually excised. Transformers Animated seems to have escaped without censorship so far, but this may be because old people watch GMTV, whereas Nicktoons (the satellite channel which airs Animated in the UK) is mainly watched by hyperactive children. The show has been moved to 8.00 at night however, so maybe someone was paying attention. Later, season 3 started airing at the earlier time of 5.30, with all the slag lines removed.
- Combine the above two facts together and you might understand why the name of the character obviously based on G1 Slag in Animated is called "Snarl". Hasbro thinks that having a toy named after a dirty word would hurt sales. This action in turn is concidently played out in the Transformers Animated episode "Human Error, Part 2", where Scrapper meets Snarl and gives him the name for reference purposes. Answering Sari's curious questioning about it, Scrapper replies "I was gonna name him 'Slag', but he kinda took it as an insult".