Steve Eighinger

It's good that some of our slang has disappeared

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 6, 2019 12:01 am

Remember some of those slang terms from your formative years?

For every moniker like "hippie" that caught on, there would be a dozen or so that were reminiscent of "daddy-o," which were eventually sentenced to informal language hell. And rightly so.

While some terms were innovative and have lasted in popularity for decades, there have been countless others that make us cringe whenever they might pop up in a old movie or book.

Let's look at the best and worst of slang, covering the rise of the baby boomers in the 1960s through the 1990s.

1960s

The best: "The Man," which to this day references some sort of person of authority or power. "Hippie" is a close runner-up and still shows up in everyday language.

The worst: "Groovy." Did you just wince? The shelf life for groovy -- meaning cool, hip or excellent -- was way too long and is only used these days to poke a little fun.

1970s

The best: "Dig it." To this day, variations of the phrase remain popular. "Workaholic" is another term that emerged in the '70s and has held its own through the years. "Mind-blowing" is another term that has passed the test of time, although its original popularity was tied to hallucinogenic drugs, while today it normally defers to something that is incredible or unbelievable.

The worst: "Catch you on the flip side," which originally meant to see you later. Thankfully, The phrase outwore its usefulness and popularity well before the 1970s had ended.

1980s

The best: There are a number of solid contributions from this particular decade, but I lean toward "chillin'," which is usually tied to relaxing. "Bodacious" is another term that regulary resurfaces, normally meaning beautiful or impressive. "Wicked," meaning excellent or great, is another popular offering that has enjoyed an impressive lifespan.

The worst: "Gag me with a spoon" was sickening even when it was popular, which, thankfully, it no longer is.

1990s

The best: "Wassup," "my bad" and "word" all continue to be regular inserts in everyday, conversational speech. The meanings have remained constant over the past 25-plus years, from "What's up" or "How are you?"

The worst: "Get jiggy" (dance, flirt) was arguably the most annoying phrase to emerge from this decade.

And for those wondering about the 2000s, we'll tackle the new millennium on another day