Slanguage
December 3, 2004 6:08 PM   Subscribe

Safire's latest list of slang
posted by srboisvert (91 comments total)

 
William Safire's dubious legacy

"The departing Times columnist says he's proudest of his reporting. Looking over decades of his false accusations and erroneous assertions, it's hard to see why."
posted by ericb at 6:13 PM on December 3, 2004


"What are the current derogations of what used to be dorks? They are now dillweeds and dipsticks, the latter an instrument to determine the amount of oil in the engine"

Dillweed? Are you fucking kidding me?
posted by SweetJesus at 6:20 PM on December 3, 2004


Dillweed and dipstick have been around forever. My DAD uses that slang.
posted by SpecialK at 6:21 PM on December 3, 2004


oh man embarrassing for young folks.

well, more embarrassing for safire... striking out in the first paragraph.
posted by rxrfrx at 6:21 PM on December 3, 2004


...and then again in pretty much every subsequent one.
posted by rxrfrx at 6:22 PM on December 3, 2004


I call bullshit on this whole article. What a crackpot.
posted by SpecialK at 6:22 PM on December 3, 2004


Shorter Safire: Today's kids talk funny.
posted by MikeKD at 6:25 PM on December 3, 2004


Now, now, I'm quite sure Mr. Safire is hip to the very latest effusions of the younger set. He tells me (over a nice glass of port) they call first-year university students "freshmen," or -- on the cutting edge -- "frosh." And football is "tossing the old pigskin around." Whodathunkit?
posted by languagehat at 6:25 PM on December 3, 2004


Safire and Tom Wolfe have the same source. Wolfe thanks Connie Elbe in "I Am Charlotte Simmons," which contains paragraphs similar to Safire's article, which also thanks Connie Elbe. Blame her, Aiiight!
posted by Frank Grimes at 6:26 PM on December 3, 2004


Is this another Sub Pop prank on the Times?
posted by rxrfrx at 6:29 PM on December 3, 2004


Is there a term for someone who continues to desperately pimp a discredited story, such as the way Safire continued to push the Mohammed Atta-meets-with-Iraqi-agent-in-Prague nonsense?
posted by Ty Webb at 6:30 PM on December 3, 2004


And finally I'd like to point out that Safire should've just paraphrased the lyrics of Big L's "Ebonics," which is still perfectly relevant today.
posted by rxrfrx at 6:31 PM on December 3, 2004


Bloke?!
posted by inksyndicate at 6:33 PM on December 3, 2004


Bloke is tight. I hope we also adopt ned.

Is solid - meaning cool - new or old?
posted by breath at 6:44 PM on December 3, 2004


That article gave me a whopping pain in me gulliver, so I'm headed to the moloka bar with me droogs. Who's with me, o my brothers?
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:47 PM on December 3, 2004


Out of curiosity, how do they do the research on these sorts of articles (well, shoddily obviously, but I digress...)? How exactly does a New York Times writer find that a word is "sweeping the high-school playgrounds and college campuses"? Just curious...
posted by rooftop secrets at 6:47 PM on December 3, 2004


I say, I say, right-o wot?!
posted by rusty at 6:47 PM on December 3, 2004


I wonder why he didn't reveal the meaning of "skeet", which is becoming pretty fuckin' popular...
posted by SweetJesus at 6:56 PM on December 3, 2004


He ryts like a babby doant he pae atenshun thae werds frum dffrunt peapl bak wen boats wer in the air and picters in the wind, the 1 Big 1 put in barms time back way back.
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:12 PM on December 3, 2004


Safire is an infernal, fornicating, slab-sided, Dutch-built bugger. I would go so far as to say that he is an enthusiast.
posted by flashboy at 7:15 PM on December 3, 2004


Safire is a total dillweed.
posted by Vidiot at 7:40 PM on December 3, 2004


However, I'm stoked both to see Safire giving hellamadprops to our own Mo Nickels, and also writing about "his bitch."
posted by Vidiot at 7:44 PM on December 3, 2004


Marry 'tis, Master Safire hath therein rightly buggyr'd ye pooche, I ween.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:01 PM on December 3, 2004


hella: an adjective meaning ''very, a lot, really"

And which of those is an adjective, o nitwit language columnist for the Times?
posted by Zurishaddai at 8:04 PM on December 3, 2004


I generally like Safire's language articles, but he often blows it when discussing slang. I'm pretty sure home boy once described how kids on the street were calling each other "Holmes", and inventing a whole explanation for this.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Yo, Holmes boy!

Wassup, Watson?
posted by Ayn Marx at 8:22 PM on December 3, 2004


When I read this last weekend, I was completely confused by the "dillweed/dipstick" line, but curious about some of the others - "faded", "whip", "janky" and "blaze" were all unfamiliar but struck me as plausible. Fo shizzle and hella have only been used ironically in my presence. silverback strikes me like greybeard - a fun word, but not one which will ever become worn into the language. It would never serve a use, only make a point.

it does make me feel old to have to ask if wm safire got anything right though! Ten years ago I'd just have laughed at what me & mine weren't saying, but now I feel like there is some whole new generation who sneer at my old fogeyisms like 'awesome' and 'sucked'... but then, some words live on and some die - no one says rad or phat, while cool's been around forever... in a way I feel like awesome died and then was sorta reborn in a retro way. LIke how "groovy" was a joke to me when I was a kid & my mom said it , but somewhere after college I started using it as if it were vintage...(But I'm probably getting too meta about the whole thing).
posted by mdn at 8:39 PM on December 3, 2004


"Rad" has semi-recently gone the way of vintage as well...I hear it used more and more by people who don't want to use the usual "cool" synonyms.
posted by rooftop secrets at 8:52 PM on December 3, 2004


I remember using "HUGE!" when before being huge was cool.... Someone would do a skateboard trick and we would all think it was HUGE! but, really, it just, was.

I've invented a new word, but it's not slang..

It has four spellings and two meanings....

Phlongie
Flongy
Phlongy
Flongie

and it either means that something doesn't fit quite right, or that it flaps...

and usually the thing in question is "all ph/flongie/y"

"when the tire went flat, it started flopping around all flongy, so I had to put on the spare which made the car lean all flongie."

Not exactly slang, but whattya think?
posted by Balisong at 9:00 PM on December 3, 2004


That's some kranked up bone.
posted by crazy finger at 9:13 PM on December 3, 2004


This is why I'm reluctant to read Tom Wolfe's new book. I'm afraid it will be filled with outdated slang presented as cutting-edge and revelations like "The kids today! They talk on IM even though they're on the same hall!"
posted by pokeydonut at 9:13 PM on December 3, 2004


You can rest assured that once people like Safire write about the slang, it's no longer hip. The crowd that originated it has already moved onto something else. In fact, that's the point, change it up so the old folks (people over 25?) won't catch on.

In the case of dillweed... cripes, that's been around for 20+ years.
posted by e40 at 9:14 PM on December 3, 2004


Kids these days. They must be trippin'. Dude, I'm bummed.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:14 PM on December 3, 2004


Most of this slang has been around a long time, and DIPSTICK is from the Dukes of Hazzard! Somebody needs to start a real time index of slang as it happens. w00t!
posted by dingobully at 9:17 PM on December 3, 2004


I'm pretty sure home boy once described how kids on the street were calling each other "Holmes", and inventing a whole explanation for this.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.


Safire got it right; people do say "holmes". Or did a few years ago, at least.
posted by Tlogmer at 9:23 PM on December 3, 2004


crunk, a blend of ''crazy'' and ''drunk,'' which has elbowed aside wasted, just as faded has replaced stoned.

Please, someone tell me that Safire just pulled that one out of his ass... I'd dismiss the whole thing as a sad joke, but he's managed to accidentally stumble onto a couple of relatively valid ones.
posted by clevershark at 10:26 PM on December 3, 2004


Safire got it right; people do say "holmes". Or did a few years ago, at least.

No shit, Sherlock!

But seriously, for all my "real time index of slang as it happens" needs, I heartily endorse UrbanDictionary. w00t!
posted by Ironwolf at 10:29 PM on December 3, 2004


Ditto most of what's been said. Safire's "On Language" stuff inspired me throughout my high school and college years in the 80s. It was always a great and scintillating read of a Sunday morning, literature major that I was. His reporting? Partisan hackery of the highest (or lowest) order.

Safire's statement that he is most proud of his reporting is analogous to Joe Kennedy saying that, amoung all his children, he was proudest of Rose.
posted by Tommy Gnosis at 10:32 PM on December 3, 2004


crunk, a blend of ''crazy'' and ''drunk,'' which has elbowed aside wasted, just as faded has replaced stoned.

Please, someone tell me that Safire just pulled that one out of his ass...


Unfortunately, I must report that this word is used with some frequency (at least where I am). Time to get crunked!
posted by rooftop secrets at 10:40 PM on December 3, 2004


If Safire pulled crunk out of his ass, he wasn't the only one looking in there.
posted by TimeFactor at 10:45 PM on December 3, 2004


Holy fuck. Man, this kind of language is like quantum physics: you change the result by measuring it.

"Off the hook," "macking," "tight," "uber," "flossing"...I'm a 26-year-old white boy and I heard most of these when I was in high school (and at the very latest, college).
posted by m0nm0n at 12:11 AM on December 4, 2004


''That janky camo boy got some stuff on the side of my ride.''


Word to your mother.
posted by Dizzy Bint at 12:21 AM on December 4, 2004


Dalek: I got it, and I admire you for it. Probly wernt enny 1 els got it tho.
posted by nicwolff at 12:32 AM on December 4, 2004


If you'll excuse me, I have to go drop the kids off at the pool.
posted by mek at 12:40 AM on December 4, 2004


I had to print a copy of the Safire article...
I needed something to peruse while I was
"dropping the kids off at the pool".

My slang term for all of the death worshipping TV shows out
there (CSIs, Law and Orders, etc.):

necrotainment.

Sing it to yourself a couple of times.

"That's Necrotainment!"

See ya at the milk bar, ya droogs.
posted by Darkman at 12:41 AM on December 4, 2004


We were using "amped" in 1987.
posted by Devils Slide at 1:14 AM on December 4, 2004


Every time Billy boy sounds off on the jive he caps himself, and that’s Bible. Yanking out all these off-the-cob beefs. No mitt-pounding for you from the MeFi crowd, Willy. Unlike ol’ barrelhouse Cab; if Cab ever did melt out, he'd just blasé up and say, "Mash me a fin, gate, so I can cop me a fry".
posted by JParker at 1:58 AM on December 4, 2004


Word to Mo Nickels for the shoutout. No idea you were that hip, or "hep," as the kids don't say anymore.
posted by chicobangs at 4:14 AM on December 4, 2004


Alright you little whining bitches, let's set some shit straight.

1. Connie Eble really is North America's top-most expert on youth slang, even though she's almost as old as Safire. Her work is reliable and proven by time: when she happens on what appears to be new youth slang, it often hits the mainstream later. What Safire chose to use of her work is completely up to him. Same for Tom Wolfe. Do not blame the source, blame the interpreter.

2. Just because you've heard of words presented as slang doesn't mean everyone else has (although I'll give you "dillweed" and "dipstick"). For one thing, if you're on Metafilter, you're ahead of the cultural curve. Pat yourself on the back. You're probably seeing things here that won't show up in mainstream pubs, if ever, or for days.

3. Just because you haven't heard of words presented as slang, doesn't mean they aren't slang. I get that all the time: "That's not slang! I've never heard of it!" Well, kick yourself in the ass. You can't be on the up-slope of every trend's curve. Sometimes you're going to join the party late. Suck it up.

4. This is a little inside baseball, but Safire's assistant (and his previous one) is rather young but very quick and intelligent. She does a lot of his research for him. This helps counter any age-induced cultural lapses on his part. He's not blindly writing the first thing that comes across his desk: research and legwork are performed. And when he makes mistakes in his language columns, he often admits them (which is more than can be said for his political columns).

5. "Crunk" is still on the upswing. Believe it or not, it has not completely broken through yet. If you know it, then you're somewhere on the up-slope of its trend curve.

6. The words that Safire might have gotten from me or my site include "whip," "scraper," "crunk," and "jinky/janky." So if you've got a problem with any of these words being classified as slang, bring it on.

7. Just to clarify, Safire will continue to write the language column, though it is true he will no longer write the political column.

8. Out of curiosity, how do they do the research on these sorts of articles. As you can see by the last parapgraph of the column, he asks people who know. Myself, I spend several hours every day tracking new language. I've got my own methods I'm not willing to share, but as I say to most people, I read more news in a day than most people read in a month; and I read almost as much in weblogs. Connie is a university professor who has developed reliable methods of quizzing her students, listening to their speech, and the correlating those data points with other research and fieldwork.

9. "Skeet" is popular but it's got problems as a slang word because it's still too heavily tied to what I would call demonstrative or stunt uses: people use the word in order to show they are in the know rather than because they have a use for it. I've got it in my citations database but I don't plan to do anything with it for a while. (Incidentally, I would put "fo shizzle" in that category, too, but not the "izz" infix itself.)

10. Although UrbanDictionary is a lot of fun, it's wrecked by the idiots and jackasses who post racist, bigoted, and scurrilous crap. I hit it when I can, but it's depressing.

11. Vidiot and Chicobangs, dudes, that's my fourth mention in the "On Language" column this year (and the fifth in the Times as a whole, and seventh ever). Where you been? I'm a swinging, happening cat, baby.
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:24 AM on December 4, 2004


"Crunk," as described by the Goodie Mob WHO MADE THE WORD is a combination of "crazy" and "funky."

"Phat" died out like five years ago. Nobody uses that any more.

"Marinating" actually means to think about something like, "You understand? No? Marinate for a while." (Hey... I don't MAKE THIS SHIT UP) (Not like Safire does, anyway...)

"Tight" is something I'm surprised he's using. "Tight" is the shortened version of the much longer "Tight like a virgin." Remember that next time you hear some eight year old use it.

I could go on and on.
posted by E_B_A at 6:02 AM on December 4, 2004


Mo Nickel's scrumtrelescent site.. for those to lazy to look at a user profile.
posted by srboisvert at 6:17 AM on December 4, 2004


It may be the case that Goodie Mob coined "crunk," but it doesn't seem to appear in the lyrics of their 1995 album and I have a citation from that year that is not attributed to them. You can say they "made the word," but so far I've seen no evidence to prove it.
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:22 AM on December 4, 2004


I was using "uber" for 'very' back in the 80s. My droogettes and I called ourselves uberwenches.

Did "hella" come from South Park? That's where I first heard it and assumed they made it up, but maybe not.

On preview: wasn't crunk slang for drugs at one point? I thought I saw it in one of those Richard Price or David Simon books.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:29 AM on December 4, 2004


Mo Nickels gettin busy on da soapbox!

He got something to say, ya heard!

Damn, Mo Nickels is bangin! Keep fresh, playboy.
posted by orange clock at 6:40 AM on December 4, 2004


At the risk of stating the obvious... If you can stand sitting through a couple hours of MTV every once in a while, you'll run into most of these words (and more) on a regular basis. I'm 30, and gave up on MTV a while ago when the programming shifted from "music with some cheesy reality" to "cheesy reality with some music", but I still tune in once in a while to maintain a weak foothold on the up-slope mentioned by Mo.
posted by 27 at 6:43 AM on December 4, 2004


Oh, and every third goth librarian I meet, at one point, always exclaims " Vunderbaaar!"
posted by orange clock at 6:44 AM on December 4, 2004


Lexicographic Irregulars willing to speculate on the origin of wooka are urged to e-mail onlanguage@nytimes.com.

Is that maybe a derivative of "wicked"?
posted by jpoulos at 6:50 AM on December 4, 2004


The latest slang term for defecation, however, is dropping the kids off at the pool, which offers hope for a new generation of euphemistic suburbanites.


My kids were saying that YEARS AGO.
posted by konolia at 7:04 AM on December 4, 2004


As a 1920s obsessive:

Anything tasty is apple sauce...

Applesauce!
posted by tenseone at 7:06 AM on December 4, 2004


Not to turn this into defacateFilter or anything, mut the funniest shit I ever heard for taking one was when a friend told me that he had to go "fax a brown page".
posted by daHIFI at 7:56 AM on December 4, 2004


Interesting that crunk, or its variant krunk, has an alternative made-up meaning deliberately coined and promulgated by Conan O'Brian. I think it's a different word than the "crunk" discussed here, although I can't help but think the cross-promotion helped spread this crunk.

Safire is a right wing asshole. But his writing on language is interesting, and I'm glad to see it in the mainstream. I just wish his paper didn't have the horrid thing of using an apostrophe to mark plurals of acronyms. Why DVD's and GI's? Apostrophes don't mark plurals (unless you're the NYT).
posted by Nelson at 8:29 AM on December 4, 2004


I don't know what the kids are saying these days, but I'm down with the 1940s slang: You shred it, wheat. Time to agitate the gravel.
(meaning "you said it, pal. Time to get out of here.")

The best use of 1930s/1940s hipster slang I've ever come across can be found in the book Really The Blues, written by Louis Armstrong's pot dealer and fellow jazz musician Mezz Mezzrow.

"Really the Blues, read at the counter of the counter of the Columbia U Bookstore in mid-forties, was for me the first signal into white culture of the underground black, hip culture that preexisted before ny own generation".
-- Allen Ginsberg
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 8:50 AM on December 4, 2004


Not to turn this into defacateFilter or anything, mut the funniest shit I ever heard for taking one was when a friend told me that he had to go "fax a brown page".

At work, our telecomm techs preferred the term "laying cable." Personally, I like "pushing brown."
posted by horsewithnoname at 8:56 AM on December 4, 2004


if you're on Metafilter, you're ahead of the cultural curve

What? One doesn't normally learn about these "cutting-edge" new slang terms by reading your site, Mo Nickels. Sorry. Want to hear the word "crunk?" Simply turn on your local Clear Channel rap station, any time since, say, 4 or 5 years ago. "Get Crunked Up" (the clean version of "Get Fucked Up")? They played that shit at my fucking senior prom. In Massachusetts. And I'd really like to know Safire's source for "crazy and drunk," because before the word really blew up (OK, relatively, since a lot of people still seem to never have heard it) I primarily heard it used to mean "good."

A lot of this seems to boil down not only to differences in age, but also differences in cultural preference. Minimal consumption of new black music might seriously impair your exposure to new words.

And really, it doesn't matter how "quick and intelligent" someone is in this situation; if she isn't down, then it's hopeless.
posted by rxrfrx at 9:06 AM on December 4, 2004


I think "Dillweed" actually originated in a Beavis & Butthead episode where Butthead runs out of obscenities to call Beavis and just calls him "dillweed." I've never heard it used on the street, though. Although, I did hear a really stoned kind refer to Carson Daly as a "herb" (the first name, not "'erb" as in pot), which I remember as hip-hop slang from the 80's originating in a Burger King commercial.
posted by jonmc at 9:10 AM on December 4, 2004


I thought macking was what you did *after* you hit on somebody and they were agreeable to the prospect of spending time with you.

Man, I feel grody now, when ten minutes ago, I was tubular to the max.
posted by headspace at 9:17 AM on December 4, 2004


I always thought "dillweed" was just a slightly cleaner variation of "dickweed" or "dickwad." I could be wrong, though.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:19 AM on December 4, 2004


At work, our telecomm techs preferred the term "laying cable." Personally, I like "pushing brown."

I say "sawing one off," myself. When in doubt, go with the classics.
posted by jonmc at 9:26 AM on December 4, 2004


RE: Crunk... I always assumed the rappers were subtly referencing the Conan O'Brian thing.
posted by drezdn at 9:31 AM on December 4, 2004


smart dalek and nicwolff, i <3 russell hoban too.
posted by equipoise at 9:40 AM on December 4, 2004


But his writing on language is interesting

Wrong-headed, but interesting. From time to time. Still, the column is much better when Ol' Bill's on vacation.
posted by languagehat at 10:02 AM on December 4, 2004


jonmc - was the herb insult a BK ref (I remember that one - Herb was the only guy who hadn't been in a Burger King yet) or was it a way-back Star Trek (TOS) reference? The hippies who are going down to Eden man (yeahh, ayyy, brother) called Kirk a "Herbert" - presumably a "square."
posted by stevil at 10:06 AM on December 4, 2004


A few days before this Safire column appeared, Jon Stewart in talked about his impending depature in the opening monologue (how does one refer to that part of the Daily Show - it technically is a monologue but it's not the same as typical talk show monologues...) and said the end was clearly in sight when Safire did a piece about shiznit. Damn funny to see the actual piece appear right after that with a leading mention of fo' shizzle.
posted by stevil at 10:09 AM on December 4, 2004


stevil: maybe Burger King's ad writer's were Trekkies.
posted by jonmc at 10:14 AM on December 4, 2004


Damn funny to see the actual piece appear right after that with a leading mention of fo' shizzle.

The "shizzle" piece was actually written by his assistant, I believe.

My favorite Safire misfire is one recounted by Steven Pinker in The Language Instinct, where he got "in the moment" completely wrong -- he thought it was something like "fashionable."
posted by kindall at 11:02 AM on December 4, 2004


hella probably comes from SoCal surf/skate culture, and by the late 80s was current with midwestern rock musicians. I can't recall why I thought of it as Californian in derivation but it had clearly been airdropped.

Herbert is prolly a coinage in the Star Trek instance. But by the late seventies, at least one British music writer was using it to refer to average-appearing fans of punk and Oi music. I believe I recall hearing it in lyrics from the same time and place. I have no idea if there's a connection b/t the rock context and the Trek instance.
posted by mwhybark at 12:11 PM on December 4, 2004


Close, but hella is a Bay Area thing.

I've got to say, I've never heard whip, scraper, janky, daunch, wooka, parallel parking, or junk. Has anyone heard those terms in the wild?
posted by euphorb at 12:41 PM on December 4, 2004


I heard "crunk" used a while ago, and I think it may have been from a MeFi post a while back.... something about mixing Dextromethorphan (Robitussin) with ginger ale or whatever to get high. The term was on a message board, and my sense was that it was a predominantly southern/western expression. (Texas?)

In describing something good, I use "good craic" with my friends. appropriated from the Irish.
posted by exlotuseater at 12:41 PM on December 4, 2004


I remember what exlotuseater was talking about -- I read a magazine article some years back about people drinking cough syrup and listening to slowed-down hip-hop in Texas.
posted by Vidiot at 1:00 PM on December 4, 2004


strange how Spiro Agnew's speechwriter seems to be somewhat... unhip
that new slang he seems so interested in, well, I heard most of it ages ago. and English is not even my native language
posted by matteo at 1:00 PM on December 4, 2004


My cousin in Wilmington uses "phat". Last year there was this large party thrown by the dorm staff which was called "Crunkfest." I think "cool" and "awesome" and "the shit" are here to stay, and shouldn't be regarded as slang anymore. I use those words in conversation extremely frequently, always have. I also feel the same way about "weak" and "lame" and "shitty", the antonyms.

Some more interesting slang floating around UNC-CH these days: "preesh" is used instead of thanks, and also as a contraction of "I appreciate", as in "Preesh that." Also, "roll out" means to exit, but some people (not me) like to use "to roll out on..." to refer to doing anything.. i.e. "I think I'm going to roll out on some cheese fries." meaning he plans to purchase cheese fries.
posted by Laugh_track at 1:07 PM on December 4, 2004


euphorb, I've heard "junk" as in "she's got some junk in the trunk"...I suspect that's what Safire's talking about. A schoolteacher I know told me about "janky" a few months ago, and another friend confirmed that she'd heard it, but I'd never heard it before. The rest are totally foreign to me.
posted by equipoise at 4:27 PM on December 4, 2004


"junk" is also crotch, as in "she was all over me, grabbing my junk."

what about "prostitot?" tween or young teen that dresses inappropriately.
posted by exlotuseater at 4:40 PM on December 4, 2004


I read a magazine article some years back about people drinking cough syrup and listening to slowed-down hip-hop in Texas.

DJ Screw. See also syrup. You may have read about it in the New York Times, which apparently really is the purveyor of hip youth culture to the MeFi set.
posted by Nelson at 8:50 PM on December 4, 2004


Tlogmer : Safire got it right; people do say "holmes". Or did a few years ago, at least.

Nope, sorry; people were saying 'homes", as in "home boy." The clueless heard it as "Holmes", and if anyone was saying "Holmes" then they're probably the same ones still saying "my bad," desperate to be hip.
posted by Ayn Marx at 10:19 AM on December 5, 2004


I read "crunk" the other day in a music review, used in the sense of "crap," as in "...yet they continue release utter crunk after..." etc.

Seems like a lot of those are pretty inconsistent...?
posted by Tikirific at 6:22 PM on December 5, 2004


I think "cool" and "awesome" and "the shit" are here to stay, and shouldn't be regarded as slang anymore.

not to be pedantic, but they were part of the language before they were slang - they weren't newly coined words but just newly contextualized words. As for whether they should be 'regarded as slang', I'd say the way to distinguish this isn't whether everyone knows what they mean, but whether everyone uses them, or could use them without seeming out of place. You could make a case for "cool" in this scenario, although I think our grandparents' generation is still unlikely to use it comfortably, and it's decidedly out of place in certain contexts (ie, everyone knows it will mean "great" but they will not agree that it's fitting in a courtroom or presidential address...). But "awesome" I don't even think is normalized for our parents' generation (I'm speaking as a member of gen x, at least broadly speaking).

Nope, sorry; people were saying 'homes", as in "home boy." The clueless heard it as "Holmes",

how do we know who's clueless, though? Maybe the clueless heard "holmes" and thought it was something to do with "home" and made "home-boy" from it...
posted by mdn at 7:44 PM on December 5, 2004


I first heard "hella" living with a bunch of snow boarders in Northern California in the mid-90s, to add to the Bay Area (a couple of the snow boarders were from the Bay Area), eXtreme sports origin theory.

I first heard "crunk" in reference to sub-genre of hip hop, living in Atlanta in early 2000s. I always thought Goodie Mobb was the flagship crunk artist, but apparently, it's Lil John, whom I'd never heard of until seeing a preview for that utterly horrifying movie White Chicks. I don't think I knew about "crunk" as a term for being drunk until... until I read this article.

So now you know how hella cool I am.
posted by jennyb at 8:29 PM on December 5, 2004


Crunk appeared in a top 10 song in 2001, so I question whether it's truly still on the upswing. 3+ years after it made it to mainstream R&B/pop, isn't somewhat played out by now?
posted by Dreama at 9:09 PM on December 5, 2004


I first heard the word "Hella" (read it, actually, in a zine) about ten years ago, in Florida. Which don't mean a thing.

And Lil Jon didn't invent the word Crunk. He just took it from someone who won't get paid, just like Elvis and Clapton did.

And "Holmes" never seemed odd to me. In fact, it makes as much sense in its own way as any other familiarity.

Right, smart guy?
posted by chicobangs at 8:01 AM on December 6, 2004


I'll never forget when Safire wrote about "duh." He mistakenly thought it meant "I'm an idiot" instead of "No shit, Sherlock."
posted by fungible at 8:33 AM on December 6, 2004


I'll never forget when Safire wrote about "duh." He mistakenly thought it meant "I'm an idiot" instead of "No shit, Sherlock."

wow, i hate to find myself rather consistently defending the geezer, but, y'know, it can be used both ways. Duh. (to which you can gracefully respond - oh, duh, you're right.)
posted by mdn at 9:17 AM on December 6, 2004


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