I’d like to think my vocabulary has always been on the cutting edge—that I’ve been among the cool crowd when it comes to staying current on all things slang. Some days, though, I wonder if I’m slipping, because many of today’s terms fly right over my head. Before I can play it cool, I first need to consult my kids for definitions.
Take hundo-p, for example. Basically, this 21st Century term signals agreement with someone, and can be used in place of “yes, I agree” or “of course.” There’s also the term ‘sick’, which has nothing in common with the traditional definition of being ill. Sick today means far out or awesome.The latest term I’ve learned is high key. This one refers to anything you’re particularly proud to say out loud or announce to the world, and is the (maybe obvious) opposite of low-key.
Where they come up with these phrases, who comes up with them and how they spread like some social disease is beyond me. I do know that every generation creates its own terms, just as sure as the generation before wonders what on earth they’re talking about when they use them—at least for the most part.
Many sayings from the 1940s and 50s (and earlier) are still going strong—terms like bee’s knees, fuddy-duddy, cool beans and cooking with gas come to mind. But once we dip back into the 1800s, all bets are off. While most of the terms from those days are probably best left in the 19th Century, here are seven that should make a swift return to our everyday language.
Butter upon bacon
For starters, this term has it all, like peanut butter and jelly or green eggs and ham. If you have butter and bacon, you should want for nothing. Food aside, this term refers to over the top or excessive extravagance—or as Colton used to say, too many muches. For example, a woman who’s wearing every item in her jewelry box could be said to have put butter upon bacon. See also gaudy. (By the way, is breakfast ready yet?)
Crabshells was a slang term for shoes. As in, “These crabshells are killing my feet.” Luckily for the men and women of that time period, I saw no evidence that the crabshells and the shoes were one and the same, so they had that going for them.
Got the morbs.
Here’s a term you can probably figure out on your own. Imagine you run into a friend at the grocery, and he or she doesn’t seem very happy. Maybe they have a case of melancholy, or morbs.
“What’s wrong?” you may say. “You got the morbs?”
The root cause for morbs can vary, of course. But try not to worry. A case of the morbs is said to be temporary, and usually much easier to deal with than a case of the flu.
A lally cooler is another way of saying success, as in, this week’s post is sure to be a real lally cooler. Enough said.
Make a stuffed bird laugh
If you can make a stuffed bird laugh, you’ve said something shocking, preposterous or otherwise absurd. This phrase will come in handy the next time Colton wants to stay home from school so he can play video games. “That’s enough to make a stuffed bird laugh,” I’ll say. It could also make pigs fly. Maybe both.
This may be my favorite, for no other reason than it’s fun to say: Podsnappery.Be sure to hold out that first syllable—pohhhhd—for maximum effect.Try it. See? Anyway, people with podsnappery tendencies are likely to turn a blind and uncaring eye to reality while remaining happily self-absorbed, They believe even the most unpleasant of facts will go away if ignored. I’m sure you know the type.
This one could be a lot of fun, too. At first glance, I thought a rain napper might be someone who enjoys taking a nap in the rain (like me). But that would be too easy. Instead, a rain napper is an umbrella. I like this one so much that I may never use the word umbrella again. Instead I’ll pull out my trusty rain napper every time it storms. Who’s with me?
There you have it—a rundown of seven words worthy of re-appearing in the 21st Century. Add them to your vocabulary. Try them out on friends and family, use them in your daily conversations, pepper them throughout emails and social media posts. Just don’t go butter upon bacon.