I’ve publically professed my love for slang on multiple occasions. I’ve privately professed my love for cheesy TV shows and movies on my secret Twitter page that none of you will ever, ever find. (That is not a challenge.) So, it seems only natural that I combine the two. One fascinating aspect of Hollywood is its ability to add words into our lexicon by producing slang-packed cult classics like Mean Girls. If only producers could only take the next step and enforce their use so we could all enjoy the terms that are peppered throughout our favorite scripts in real life.
Fetch – Mean Girls (2004)
Gretchen: That’s so fetch. Regina: What’s fetch? Gretchen: Oh, it’s like slang…from England.
I had to include this because it’s a sin not to make a Mean Girls reference once every three or four days. (That’s a rule punishable by a spot in Regina George’s Burn Book.) According to Gretchen Wieners, fetch is another word for “awesome” or “cool.” Despite Regina’s insistence that fetch “is not going to happen,” I think we, as a society, need to reclaim this word from dogs.
Mimbo – Seinfeld (The Stall, episode 5×12, 1994)
Jerry: He’s a male bimbo. He’s a mimbo.
For a show about nothing, Seinfeld writers coined a number of words that were truly something. Mimbo, meaning “masculine bimbo,” is one of them. I don’t know who started the trend of putting an “m” in front of words to make them masculine (i.e. moobs, man boobs) but I like it. In fact, I think there’s a lot of untapped potential there that we need to take advantage of. A male cheerleader? A meerleader. A thong for guys? A mhong. Lipstick for men? Mipstick. You get the idea. (Also, if anyone is interested, someone on the Internet put every major Seinfeld vocab reference onto a blog and it’s fabulous. Check it out here.)
Cromulent – The Simpsons (Lisa the Iconoclast, episode 3×13, 1996)
Jebediah: [on film] A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man. Edna: Embiggens? I never heard that word before I moved to Springfield Ms.Hoover: I don’t know why. It’s a perfectly cromulent word.
Not only does cromulent sound legitimate, but that’s exactly what it means, which apparently was the whole point. In The Simpsons episode Lisa the Iconoclast, Edna points out that she’s never heard of the fabricated word, embiggens, to which Ms. Hoover responds that “it’s a perfectly cromulent word.” The kicker here is that cromulent is being used to mean “legitimate” while it, too, is a fake term. If “D’oh!” can make it into our vocabulary, I don’t see what’s stopping us from including this one too. An honorable mention, also from The Simpsons, is “exorcist tongs,” tongs for exorcising (???) demons.
To crunch – Never Been Kissed (1999)
Girl: Guy is totally crunching on you! Drew Barrymore: Do I wanna be crunched? Girl: By Guy? Oh yeah.
While this slang word inspires images in my mind of a guy biting into a girls arm like a granola bar, I still think it would be cool to use “crunching” in real life. The word, which simply means “crushing,” would, at the very least, be a less disturbing replacement for today’s slang word “thirsty,” as in, “Guy is totally thirsty for you.”
To give snaps – Clueless (1995)
Cher Horowitz: I must give her snaps for her courageous fashion efforts…
Kind of like “to give props,” this verb means “to show [a deserved] appreciation.” Personally, I think it makes more sense than the “props” phrase. Why, when someone completes a project successfully, would they want to be handed props? Wouldn’t it make more sense to snap or clap for them? (I know props is short for “proper respect,” but it’s more fun to think of it the other way.) I’ve heard this word may actually be used in some places. If this is the case, let me know because I want to move there immediately.
Nose army – Schizopolis (1996)
To be honest, I’ve never seen this movie. I’ve never even heard of this movie but when I started researching classic film slang, this one continually came up so I felt like I had to give it a shout out. Schizopolis is a 1996 film directed by Steven Soderbergh that presents a series of bizarre acts in a non-linear pattern. One of the characters, Elmo, begins mumbling gibberish words in conversation and, at one point, uses nose army as a greeting. So, instead of “Hi Jesus” it would be “Nose army Jesus.” Make sense? No. I don’t get it either, but I think it would certainly brighten up that inevitable conversation that ensues when you bump into someone you kind-of knew in high school and you have to pretend that you like each other.
My greatest goal in life, next to befriending Tina Fey and creating a TV series like Friends, is to write a movie that contains a fabulous made-up word and becomes wildly popular among teenagers. Dream big, right? What slang words from TV/Film do you wish were real?
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