As 2023 rolls in, I was immediately concerned that my slang would need a serious update for me to stay cutting-edge hip.
OK. I will never be hip, but I love to at least understand the language. I find the evolution of slang one of the best parts of the word world. Keep in mind I have been observing it for … ummmm … I’ll admit to several decades.
I never actually used the ’50s slang, like Daddy-o, hepcat, classy chassis, “Crazy, man,” “Real gone” or “Put an egg in your shoe and beat it!” but my big brother did.
I carried over into the ’60s with cruisin’ for a bruisin’, Fat City, made in the shade, a punk and “Meanwhile, back at the ranch” (from all the Westerns on TV).
One I don’t remember, but plan to start using immediately, is “Shoot low, they’re riding Shetlands,” meaning, “Be careful.”
In the ’60s-’70s, I rolled with bitchin’, boogie, Bogart, bookin’, “That’s boss,” bummer, to “cut down” meaning to insult, going to the flicks and freaking out.
I was pleased to find some old expressions that are apparently classics and still in use — maybe not by Nicki Minaj or Lil Durk — but by some of the younger folks I encounter. You still hear dibs, as in “dibs on that last cookie, ” he has “cooties” and “had a blast,” hanging out and ankle-biter for annoying toddlers.
I’m sorry to report that amazeballs, totes, “I know, right?” and adorbs are approaching the chopping block. And selfie, emoji, derp and FOMO have been added to the online Oxford Dictionary, which may be their death-knell.
If you are going to be truly cool (another ’50s holdover) in 2023, you should probably find ways to include boujee, binge-watching, sus (suspicious or odd), iykyk (if you know, you know), touch grass (ground yourself) and slay in your everyday speech.
That all sounds really nifty to me.
Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who probably needs to stick with the King’s English. Contact her at [email protected].