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Words Throughout the Decades

Every generation creates new slang words and phrases to communicate with their peers that set them apart from their parents’ generations. Some of these words come into vogue and then slowly fade away into distant memory, while others stick around much longer and become part of the mainstream vocabulary. These slang words and phrases have added spice to the Standard American English language and permeated everyday speech Throughout the Decades

Let’s travel down memory lane… shall we?


1960s
  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

1970s
  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

1980s
  1. Bodacious – beautiful
  2. Chillin' – relaxing
  3. Dweeb – a nerd; someone who is not cool
  4. Fly – cool; very hip
  5. Gnarly – exceptional; very cool
  6. Preppy – one who dresses in designer clothing and has a neat, clean-cut appearance
  7. Wicked – excellent; great
  8. 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
  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?/Wazzup? – What's up?; How are you?
  7. Word! – yes; I agree

2000s
  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
  6. Tight – excellent; close; on good terms

*Credit: The Editors of Publications International, Ltd..  "53 Slang Terms by Decade"  20 September 2007.  HowStuffWorks.com. <http://people.howstuffworks.com/53-slang-terms-by-decade.htm>  04 November 2013.


What is your favorite slang word or phrase? What new words have you discovered recently? Tell us on Facebook, Twitter (@STU_Alumni), or email them to alumni@stu.edu!