The ’90s were a glorious time. I mean, when else was it socially acceptable to wear tye-dyed jeans or drink Surge like water or have a very legitimate crush on a member of N*SYNC? If those qualities aren’t enough to convince you, think about all the wonderful slang that came out of the period. Anyone watching movies from that era would think that they’ve encountered an entirely different language, some super secret form of communication known only to kids who used to wear their hair in pigtails or read Goosebumps. Let’s review:
1) Bounce (v.): to leave
Ex. Let’s make like Tigger and bounce, man.
More entertaining than the word itself is the image that it puts into my head of people, usually nerdy guys wearing backwards caps and fake “bling,” literally bouncing away from a conversation. Nothing says “I’m part of a real tough crew” than hopping, with two feet, hopscotch-style, to some destination. Unfortunately, though, bounce was not used in this sense.
2) Buggin’ (v.): to freak out unnecessarily
Ex. I told her Britney Spears accidentally did it again and she just started buggin’.
I’ve always thought that buggin’ was a reference to how the eyes of bugs seem like they’re always on the verge of popping out of their head, but no source I’ve found seems to corroborate that theory. While I’ve always thought the word was a product of Clueless (along with some of these terms), it appears in other places before 1995, including Spike Lee’s popular film Do the Right Thing (1989).
3) Crib (n.): house
Ex. My crib’s got everything you could ever want: a blankie, a binkie, and a flat screen TV.
The shock and confusion that comes when a guy, after inviting you to “see his crib,” leads you into a bedroom and presents a decked out baby crib is the only positive thing that has come out of this definition’s drop in popularity. Had we kept the momentum of this word going, MTV Cribs could have stayed on the air and explored the crib of JK Rowling or Beyonce.
4) Home skillet/Home slice (n.): a friend
Ex. What’s happening, home skillet?! How’s that cooking class going?
I really couldn’t tell you why “home skillet” caught on or where it came from. As far as I’m aware, cooking enthusiasts are not leading the language revolution, and skillet pans are not particularly friendly. (If someone spent all day cracking eggs over your head, I don’t think you’d be very happy either.) All I know is, “home skillet” is written approximately 23 times in my middle school yearbook, so there’s no denying the word’s lasting impact.
5) No duh: a response to someone pointing out the obvious
Ex. Furbies are creepy? No duh!
Did “Thanks, Captain Obvious” come before “no duh” or after? This is the eternal question I’ve been pondering for the past few years. Both share the same sarcastic undertone and can be used to instantly put someone down, but only the first one seems to really make sense grammatically. Wouldn’t “duh” be a suitable response to something obvious? What’s the point of adding “no” in front of it? This phrase is so illogical, it would fit right in with some of the slang words we have today.
6) Butt munch (n.): a contemptible fellow
Ex. Aww man! Some butt munch ate the rest of my Bubble Tape!
It’s surprising how many online dictionaries cited “a contemptible fellow” as the proper definition for “butt munch” when any ’90s kid would tell you that it really means “a really obnoxious human being” or something less PG-13. I prefer the Internet’s definition, as it successfully makes the phrase sound a little less disgusting.
7) Take a chill pill: expression used to calm someone down, supposedly
Ex. Geez, ma. I only failed 3 classes. There are 5 more. Take a chill pill.
“Take a chill pill” was a precursor to “relax” in that it was condescending and, as a result, inherently infuriating. Then again, it’s nice to imagine a magical pill that could induce relaxation. Why are we investing tax dollars in education when it could be going towards “chill pill” research?
8) Talk to the hand: expression of rejection
Ex. Blah blah blah, talk to the hand.
Commonly phrased as “talk to the hand, ‘cause the face ain’t listening,” this phrase was popular amongst sassy first graders and frustrated mothers. This world doesn’t have enough effective shutdowns, I think, so it would be nice to bring it back.
9) Da bomb (n.): something awesome or cool
Ex. Bill Murray is DA BOMB, YO.
What do bombs have to do with anything? Does something have to be explosive to be cool? Is that what you’re telling me, ’90s kids? Whatever. It pairs nicely with “yo” so I’ll accept it.
10) “Cancel my subscription, I’m over your issues”: exactly what it sounds like
This one should really be considered more of an honorable mention, because it’s a phrase and not standalone slang, but it was too good to exclude. I don’t know why I’ve never heard this in real life, because it’s so brilliantly punny, but I’ll make sure to slip it into every conversation in the future from now on.
(Featured image via Photobucket.com.)