So let it be written…
Ever contemplate all the goofy words that have found their way into the English language and our everyday lives?
Every generation has them. At the turn of the 20th century, a stupid person was called a “goop,” or a “bonehead.” That last one has survived until today, likely because there’s still no shortage of stupid people about.
And then there were the know-it-alls. They were called “wisenheimers.”
Closer to the Great War, if you wanted someone to leave you might tell them to “skiddoo.”
A complainer was a “grouser,” and if something was easy, it was “duck soup.” If everything was OK, it was “Jake.”
In the Roaring ’20s, people said things like “nifty” when something met with their approval. They might have even called it the “cat’s pajamas,” and if they especially agreed with something, they’d say “And how!”
If someone was drunk, they were “spifflicated.”
By the 1930s, a know-it-all was no longer a wisenheimer. She or he was now an “Abercrombie” and dumb people were mockingly labelled a “genius.” That one has also survived to this day, likely for the same reason bonehead has.
Police were called “coppers.”
In the 1940s, a “beef” was a complaint and “hot dog!” was uttered whenever you heard something that made you happy. If you weren’t happy about something, you might say “Dang nabbit!”
Swell could go either way, indicating something was good or bad, depending on how you said it. Apparently it’s derived from “Tis well,” from back in the days of yore.
In the 1950s, the Beatniks said things like “Hey, hey Daddy-O” while people who were much less cool said gosh, good gosh, and golly gee whiz/wilickers.
When people got angry in the 1960s, they went “ape.” To “beat feet” was to run away in a hurry, “Jesus Boots” were sandals, and if you “bogarted” something, it meant you were hogging something, usually a joint.
I’m kind of surprised the Hippies didn’t think to adjust spifflicated to “splifflicated,” for being stoned. Maybe they did, but forgot to tell someone about it. Anyway, that would have been groovy and far-out, man.
The 1970s brought us “wuddup” for hello, and when you wanted the truth, you sought the “skinny.” That decade also brought us “That’s sick!” as well as “Can you dig it?” and “Keep on trucking’.” If you were feeling down in the 1970s, it was a “bummer.” And police were no longer coppers. They were the “fuzz.”
In the 1980s, when it got bad it was “grody to the max,” perhaps compelling you to say something like “Gag me with a spoon.” On the other hand, good things were “gnarly” and if you were really excited about something you got a “head rush.”
In Canada, goofs were “hosers” and the uncool were dismissed as “dweebs.” Yuppies, of course, were the bane of all that’s virtuous.
The past 25 years have brought us bling-bling, boo ya, dawg, snap, cha-ching, dope, buzz kill, fly, werd, OMG, LOL, and Meh, to name some slang words.
What will people be saying in 2025?
“My zort got blorted with ging when I splotted the Kreeb?”
Doesn’t sound too “out there,” considering people today can be heard saying things like “I just googled that blog and then tweeted about it.”
I, for one, can hardly wait to splot the Kreeb.
So let it be done.
Email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org