Slang — Then and Now!

Do you remember using terms such as khaki wacky,” “made in the shade,” or “lay it on me”?

Every new generation has its own “secret language” or “slang” that can leave older generations scratching their heads.

Do you know how to speak the language of your grandkids? It’s probably not a good idea to try adopting their slang, but you may enjoy seeing the look on their faces when you respond knowingly to what they are saying. But before delving into the current speak of millennials, a trip down slang memory lane is in order!

The Forties

If you got a warm feeling when you read “khaki wacky” above, you were probably a young adult in the Forties (and a bit boy crazy, which is what khaki wacky means).  The forties gave us other interesting slang as well. If asked to pick up milk and bread at the store, you would need some lettuce — more commonly known as money! Or perhaps you remember being asked to buy some armored heifer — also known as canned milk.

The Fifties

Were you a young adult in the Fifties? Then that letter of acceptance into Harvard meant that you now had it made in the shade — meaning, life was good! Naturally, you had to make a good impression once you arrived at college. All effort was made to ensure you were wearing cool threads — that is, stylish clothing.  If that boy you were khaki wacky about in the forties no longer kept you interested, well, it was time to tell him to get bent, or go away.

The Sixties and Seventies

The Sixties and Seventies gave us such gems as, Lay it on me man, Gimme some skin, Can you dig it, cat, fuzz, and groovy.  Some of these slang terms have gone out of use all together. When is the last time you heard the police referred to as the fuzz? Or when in recent memory have you said that you like something by saying that it was groovy?  Do you think that your friend is a cool cat? Well perhaps, but it is unlikely you would word it quite like that anymore. However, t might be fun to throw around some of these forgotten gems at the next family gathering!

The Eighties and Nineties

Back in the Eighties, if something was really great, it was awesome or excellent. On the other hand, bad meant good. And in the Nineties, if something was fantastic, it was the bomb — but in other eras, if something “bombed” would have meant it was an utter failure. See how much slang changed over the years!

The Millennial

Fast forward to the Millennial era.  Millennials have grown up with technology and social media, which has influenced how they communicate.  Much of their slang is similar to shorthand and greatly abbreviated. Examples are: LB/FB these stand for “like back” or “follow back” — otherwise known as returning the favor on social media.

Here are few of the terms they are using today:

Bae: This may have started out as baby or babe, but again, the Millennial’s don’t have time for all the extra letters. The one you love more than anyone is your Bae.

Bounce: Having to leave — as in “I have to bounce now”.

Lit: This refers to something that is a lot of fun, as in “That party was lit.” 

Kill and Dead: Believe it or not, these are positive terms with Millennials, as in “That joke was so funny, it killed me! I’m dead!”

Slay: Similarly, to a Millennial, to “slay” has nothing to do with killing, but instead means that an exemplary job has been done. “Wow, you slayed that test!”

Trolls: No, they are not the mythical creatures of folklore. Trolls are people who go online and make mean comments to total strangers, just to get under their skin.

Although language changes and evolves, slang has a way of speaking to each generation in a unique way. Slang speaks to the world of a particular generation and makes that generation and its language their own!