Excerpts from an email conversation I had with my mom yesterday:
Mom: Weird, I was just wondering what DEF means in rock terms and then saw the album cover (there are DEFs other than Leppard, if I'm not mistaken - Deftones, etc.). Do you know?
Me: Yes, Deftones are another "Def" band. No others on my radar.
Mom: Isn't there a Def somebody in hip-hop?
Me: Ah yes, Mos Def.
Mom: See, I'm right on top of this shit!
Me: Ha, yes you are!
Mom: BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Me: Def can be slang for "definitely" and in hip hop it usually means for lack of a better term "awesome". Def Leppard was just mimicking Led Zeppelin and intentionally misspelled the word.
Mom: As in Awesome Leopard?
Me: No, this was before it was popularized by hip hop culture. They were trying to do something like Led Zeppelin....lead zeppelin...Def Leppard...deaf leopard.
Mom: Gotcha - that's kind of what I thought, but then the hip-hop thing confuses it.
Def Leppard "Rock Of Ages"
Deftones "Back To School"
Mos Def "Life In Marvelous Times"