5 Words and Terms I Learned From Orange is the New Black

07.01.15 2 years ago

Two weeks ago I had never seen an episode of “Orange Is The New Black.” Now, I”ve seen it all. That”s right, I binge-watched all three seasons, which is how TV should always be watched, in my humble opinion.

I fell in love with this show and could very literally not turn it off. When I wasn”t watching it, I felt itchy and agitated, as if I was withdrawing from a very potent drug. There was something addictive about being immersed in the world of prison while maintaining a safe distance provided by the TV screen. Prison has so much to teach! So much wisdom, so many scare-tactics, so many self-defense techniques, and best of all, so many words! Here are five words and terms I learned from three seasons of Orange is the New Black:

•Commissary

A store designed to provide armed service members or prisoners with the foods and supplies that they need. This word can be traced back to the Latin word “commissus”, which roughly translates to “committee”, and was first used in English in the 14th century.

•Furlough

A leave of absence, especially granted to a member of the armed service. In this case, it refers to a special day off prison that can be granted to an inmate in specific circumstances. The word comes from “verlof” which is Dutch for “leave of absence”.

•SHU

This is a room where prisoners are sent as a punishment when they violate the rules. Throughout the show I definitely thought they were saying “shoe”, but in fact it is an acronym that stands for “Secure Housing Unit”. Outside of prison we know this room as “solitary confinement”.

•Slock

A prison term that combines “sock” and “lock”. A slock is a weapon made by putting a padlock inside of a sock and then using it to beat someone. This sounds excruciatingly painful. In Orange is the New Black, Vee uses a slock to beat up Red. Ouch.

•Vig

Short for “vigorish”, which refers to a drug dealer”s cut of the profits. The term originates from the Russian word for “winnings”, which is “vyigrysh”.

As you can see just by reading about these words and terms, prison is a dark and complicated place. Although some moments in “Orange is the New Black” do seem like they would be fun to live, you must not be fooled. Prison is NOT somewhere you want to go, which is something I have to remind myself of daily ever since binge-watching the best dramedy of our time. 

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