Stag Party – What does “Stag Party” mean in British slang?

Hello and welcome to the slang podcast with me your host Louisa May Adams. This show will give you the chance to hear, understand the origins and meanings of new slang and to use them immediately! So let’s get started…

Last episode we looked at the slang term “hen party” an event for a woman before she gets married.
But is there one for men? Yes! And that’s what we will be looking at today.

This is a stag party S-T-A-G, a noun, which is a celebration held for a man who is about to get married, attended only by men. In America it is called a bachelor party, as bachelor means a signal man. In Italy it is called “addio al celibato”, meaning goodbye to being single.

As an adjective stag party means “composed of males only” and has been used in American english since 1848.

In formal english a stag has many meanings, the first being noun meaning male deer. The second, a stag event which we are discussing now is a social gathering attended by men only. We could use the noun like this “your best mate’s stag party should be a time of extravagance”. Meaning his party should be one that spares no expense. The last way we can use stag is as an adverb meaning to be without a female partner at a social gathering. For example ‘ at the party a lot of boys went stag”.

So why do us brits use the terms stag party or going stag? It has been suggest that Stags have unique male connotations that makes them the perfect emblem for this event. The stag is a leader of their pack, a virile and strong animal and in the prime of their lives.

The stag party can be traced all the way back to ancient Greece. While modern stags aren’t too far away from the spartan tradition, where the night before a wedding was a celebration of the man by his military comrades. They would enjoy a feast and toasts to the end of his youth and continued commitment to the cause.

In the UK today, stag weekend trips are becoming mini-holidays with the groups taking part in various day-time activities as well as the expected night out on the town. They may involve traveling to another location in the UK or going abroad, with Budapest, Dublin, and Prague topping the list. So if you are in one of these locations and spot a group of drunk and noisy men, you may be witnessing a stag party.

Before we finish I must tell you about the name for a drunken party for both sexes before a wedding, which is sometimes jokingly called a “hag H-A-G party” (a combination of “hen” and “stag”).

That’s our episode for today…

So which, if any, will you be attending this year? A Hen, Stag or Hag party? Let us know!

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