Most people—I don’t care who you are and how tech-savvy you may be—have had the feeling “I was born in the wrong decade.” I have it every day. Yes, I love my modern conveniences, like my iPhone, GPS, and a dishwasher, but there are an infinite amount of things I hate about the year 2014 and wish I could escape, especially the over-abbreviated, text-happy way we use language today. Call me when time travel has been invented—I’ll be the first one buying a ticket to either 1969 or the prohibition ’20’s, mostly for the incredible slang.
American slang started in the 1800s when people in the U.S. began using and transforming English in different ways than those in England or other English-speaking countries. By definition, slang is informal, it can also refer to words and phrases that are socially unacceptable. Slang can be a totally new word, a new (and even completely opposite) meaning for a word or an abbreviated version of a word (see: fetch).
Slang is usually not the friend of an intellectual or the linguistically advanced—instead, it’s a lack of a better, smarter word. . . or a real word. But it does something important, it connects us to people, it creates new groups and subcultures; it’s a totally fun, in-the-know way to communicate with your peers, a secret language that only people who are “in on it” understand.
All this said, modern slang has actually devolved in my opinion. It’s become less clever and fun and more simple and even dumb. But I still love slang! I just think we should bring some of these oldies but goodies back into circulation, like, right away.
The cat’s pajamas: the best; the height of excellence
Bee’s knees: (See cat’s pajamas)
Ducky: “That’s ducky”/I approve
Moll: A female companion of a gangster
Brooksy: Classy dresser, like “Oh, he’s hot and such a Brooksy”
Wurp: Killjoy or annoying person, i.e. “Don’t be a wurp, okay?”
I’ll be a monkey’s uncle: Sign of disbelief; I don’t believe it!
Juke joint: a casual and inexpensive establishment with drinking
Moxie: To have guts/nerves, personal flair
Swacked: Drunk, inebriated, “God, how’d you get so swacked?”
Fat head: In a sentence: “Don’t be dumb, stop being such a fat head!”
Bupkis: “I got nothing, seriously bupkis”
To “take a powder”: Leave, exit, “I’m going to take a powder”
Big Daddy: An older person, not necessarily a love interest
Threads: Used to describe clothes, “Hey, don’t mess the threads.”
Dig it: To like or understand something
Cat: A cool person, like “I like this cat.”
Fream: Someone who doesn’t fit in
Get Bent!: Meant to convey someone should go away or stop bothering you. “Dude, seriously, you need to get bent.”
Groovy: Good, pleasing, pleasant
The Man: a person of authority; a group in power
Go-Go: Dancing, nightclubs, having a totally decadent night
Scratch: Money, currency
Ace: Awesome or great
Way decent: Means something is really great
Foxy: Sexy man or lady
Cheese eater: Brown noser or suck up
Closet disco queen: Secret dancer; someone who is afraid to dance in public, but totally gets DOWN in the privacy of their own home.
Dweeb: a nerd; someone who is not cool
Gag me with a spoon: disgusting
Hoser: A loser, “God, stop acting like such a hoser!” See also, hosehead