Friday, June 22, 2012

Slang By Decade

The inevitable has happened. Aaron is starting to speak like his peers. "Like, y'know, like, one of the other doods (?)." I wasn't sure if I should put a question mark at the end of the sentence because he would definitely have spoken it with an upward inflection, but it doesn't necessarily mean he was asking a question. Alright, 'dood' (which by the way is the superior way of spelling 'dude' according to  is not the latest slang term but the peers we're referring to here are 6-9 year olds. However, it did get me thinking of the time that he will probably start using words that I don't know about. Or perhaps words that I know, but have different meanings by then.

I was curious about the words I would need to pepper my conversations with if I wanted to appear a little more hmmmm....sweet. My search led me to HowStuffWorks and so for today, I am sharing with you the slang terms from the 1920s to now.


  1. 23 skiddoo -- to get going; move along; leave; or scram
  2. The cat's pajamas -- the best; the height of excellence
  3. Gams -- legs
  4. The real McCoy -- sincere; genuine; the real thing
  5. Hotsy-totsy -- perfect
  6. Moll -- a female companion of a gangster
  7. Speakeasy -- a place where alcohol was illegally sold and drunk during Prohibition
  8. The bee's knees -- excellent; outstanding


  1. I'll be a monkey's uncle -- sign of disbelief; I don't believe it!
  2. Gig -- a job
  3. Girl Friday -- a secretary or female assistant
  4. Juke joint -- a casual and inexpensive establishment with drinking, dancing, and blues music, typically in the southeastern United States
  5. Skivvies -- men's underwear


  1. Blockbuster -- a huge success
  2. Keeping up with the Joneses -- competing to have a lifestyle or socioeconomic status comparable to one's neighbors
  3. Cool -- excellent; clever; sophisticated; fashionable; or enjoyable
  4. Sitting in the hot seat -- in a highly uncomfortable or embarrassing situation
  5. Smooch -- kiss


  1. Big brother is watching you -- someone of authority is monitoring your actions
  2. Boo-boo -- a mistake; a wound
  3. Hi-fi -- high fidelity; a record player or turntable
  4. Hipster -- an innovative and trendy person


  1. Daddy-o -- a man; used to address a hipster or beatnik
  2. Groovy -- cool; hip; excellent
  3. Hippie -- derived from hipster; a young adult who rebelled against established institutions, criticized middle-class values, opposed the Vietnam War, and promoted sexual freedom
  4. The Man -- a person of authority; a group in power


  1. Catch you on the flip side -- see you later
  2. Dig it -- to like or understand something
  3. Get down/Boogie -- dance
  4. Mind-blowing -- unbelievable; originally an expression for the effects of hallucinogenic drugs
  5. Pump iron -- lift weights
  6. Workaholic -- a person who works too much or is addicted to his or her job


  1. Bodacious -- beautiful
  2. Chillin' -- relaxing
  3. Dweeb -- a nerd; someone who is not cool
  4. Fly -- cool; very hip
  5. Gag me with a spoon -- disgusting
  6. Gnarly -- exceptional; very cool
  7. Preppy -- one who dresses in designer clothing and has a neat, clean-cut appearance
  8. Wicked -- excellent; great
  9. Yuppie -- Young Urban Professional; a college-educated person with a well-paying job who lives near a big city; often associated with a materialistic and superficial personality

1990s Slang Terms

  1. Diss -- show disrespect
  2. Get jiggy -- dance; flirt
  3. Homey/Homeboy -- a friend or buddy
  4. My bad -- my mistake
  5. Phat -- cool or hip; highly attractive; hot
  6. Wassup? -- What's up?; How are you?
  7. Word -- yes; I agree


  1. Barney Bag -- a gigantic purse
  2. Newbie -- a newcomer; someone who is inexperienced
  3. Peeps -- friends; people
  4. Rents -- parents
  5. Sweet -- beyond cool

After looking through the list, I think my favourites are from the 1920 - the cat's pyjamas and the bee's knees. Hey! I hear vintage is cool too. 


Mike said...

I'd just heard the term 'The bee's knees' recently. It must bee making a comeback.

Bilbo said...

Great post! I have a lot of similar lists of slang by decades that I may have to post about sometime. As for the 2000's term "rents" as slang for "parents," my daughter and her friends used to call their parents "prehistorics." It made me want to get in touch with my inner T-Rex.