"Straight outta Edmonton: Chilling video captures moment gunman dressed in Muslim robes opens fire on a teenager in broad daylight in a quiet north London cul-de-sac"

(Daily Mail)

Is straight outta not a slang word? Why can it be used in an online news article?

  • 5
    "Why can it be used in an online news article?" Freedom of speech? – David Richerby Mar 18 '16 at 17:22
  • @DavidRicherby it's good journalistic practice to avoid slang, but to the OP, the rules are slightly different for headlines, and this in particular being a reference (explained in several answers and comments below) is why this particular usage of slang wouldn't be considered poor journalism. – Jason Mar 19 '16 at 18:33
  • News headline should be eye-catching? :) – Student Mar 20 '16 at 2:21

Outta is an example of eye dialect, which means writing things in the way they're pronounced rather than strictly as they're spelled.

"Straight Outta _____" is a reference to Straight Outta Compton, the debut album by American rap group NWA, or the film of the same name about NWA.

Compton, California, the home of NWA, was known as a violent place; hence, "Straight Outta _____" makes sense as a reference because the article is about a violent act.

  • 1
    "Straight outta _________" (generally hell) was in common use when I was a kid back in the 1970's, so your rap group is not the source of the expression. – JRE Mar 18 '16 at 16:25
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    @JRE - a fair point. It wouldn't surprise me if the name of Straight Outta Compton was inspired by that expression. But nobody, as far as I can tell, writes "straight outta hell", whereas "Straight Outta (geographic location)" is a recognizable cultural reference, particularly when it refers to violent areas. – stangdon Mar 18 '16 at 16:34
  • @JRE The reference in popular media most likely alludes to something, well, popular, not something that was said in the 70s (unless there's something happening now that is making it cool and relevant). Know your meme is a good place to figure out why all the sudden we're seeing "straight outta X" pop up. – ColleenV parted ways Mar 18 '16 at 18:05
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    @AndrewGrimm It only looks like it should rhyme; the syllable stresses being different makes the vowels different, spoiling a perfect rhyme and giving at best a near rhyme: ED-mun-tun vs. COM-tun. – SevenSidedDie Mar 19 '16 at 3:15
  • 1
    You probably should mention that it's a slang pronunciation of the words "out of". – GalacticCowboy Mar 19 '16 at 18:31

Yes, "outta" is a slang word. But there's no law that says that news headlines cannot use slang. News headlines are often intended to be attention-getting.

In this case, there is a popular move called "Straight Outta Compton". I haven't seen the movie but I understand it's about a group of young men from a rough, violent neighborhood. The headline is presumably an allusion to this movie.

  • 1
    Quoting your lines "News headlines are often intended to be attention-getting". Therefore, the title is eye-catching? :) – Student Mar 18 '16 at 13:42
  • 5
    The film takes its name from the famous album, which takes its name from the song. It has been snowcloned endlessly since 1988, e.g. Straight Outta Locash, Straight Outta Lynwood (warning: offensive language throughout all links). – choster Mar 18 '16 at 15:11
  • I've never heard of the song or the movie. ;) – Alan Carmack Mar 18 '16 at 15:17
  • 3
    "a group of young men" -- I believe they were a popular beat combo, m'lud. – Steve Jessop Mar 18 '16 at 15:56
  • Taken from the movie.. comon. Its clearly from the song as choster mentioned. Kids these days. Dont even know that good hip hop. – marsh Mar 18 '16 at 17:31

A reputable news source may well shy away from using slang in a heading.

However, judging by the usual copy and pictures on the Daily Mail "news" site, I'd have thought that using slang was the least of anyone's issues with it.


The Daily Mail is infamous in the UK for its headlines promoting fear. As such, a headline directly comparing a relatively quiet area of north London to Compton (LA) in the 1980s is entirely normal for it.

  • Is this a serious answer to an English language question, or a rant about the Daily Mail? – Au101 Mar 18 '16 at 22:48
  • @Au101 That's not a rant. This youtube.com/watch?v=5eBT6OSr1TI is a rant. :) Since the OP is asking about whether a headline is appropriate though, it's only fair to report on whether it's a normal kind of headline for that paper, which it is. Whether it's appropriate in general is a separate issue; IMO it isn't, but that's more opinion-related, so I didn't go on at length on that one. – Graham Mar 21 '16 at 9:53
  • Well, with respect, what the OP asked was whether the slang word "outta" was appropriate in a formal publication like a newspaper. In other words, is "outta" slang, or isn't it? If it is slang, how come it's being used in a newspaper headline, can you really use slang in newspapers? I don't think the OP was really asking whether it was appropriate to compare London to Compton as a matter of taste or historical accuracy – Au101 Mar 21 '16 at 16:54
  • 1
    Yes, it's slang. And lower-grade newspapers in the UK famously use slang in their headlines. The Daily Mail and Daily Express are relatively low-grade newspapers, so you may well see it from them. The Sun, Star and Mirror are the lowest grade (often collectively called "red tops" because of the colour of their banner logos) and almost always do. Quality papers like the Times, Telegraph and Guardian almost never do. – Graham Mar 21 '16 at 17:01

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