What the hell are kids even on about these days? With their “adorbz” and their “baes” and their :”social justice for alls,” they sound like that talking lion that popped out of my pillow after I accidentally double-dosed on Ambien. They’re incomprehensible, is what I’m saying. Especially once they get to college.
Fortunately, I have in my hands the definitive guide to college slang! Unfortunately, it’s from 1989. Let’s glean what we can from it anyway.
The words making up this lexicon are derived, as far as I can tell, from the personal experiences of Connie Elbe, an English professor at the University of North Carolina. While that would seem to limit our scope to the words one particular teacher’s students used in one particular year on one particular campus, Professor Elbe assures us that: “College Slang 101 is a really ‘rad’ (excellent) book for word mavens of all stripes and anyone who wants to understand the ‘second language’ of students across the country.”
Don’t be intimidated, though. She doesn’t chuck her readers into the deep end straight off. Like any good teacher, she begins with the basics.
Embarrassing admission: while some of these are new to me, I’m actually just old enough to remember a lot of them. Here’s one I hadn’t thought about it a while…
That’s Not What I Thought It Meant
Languages evolve. Nowhere is that more evident than in some of the phrases Elbe lists, which, though apparently innocuous in 1989, have since become a little more risque.
That I am an immature perv is perhaps beyond dispute, but if someone says: “All I wanted to do was get off, but those wankers won’t stop pegging me,” I like to think most of us would work up a pretty healthy blush. And possibly call the authorities.
The Best of the Best
At heart, though, I’m a fan of slang. It’s fun and keeps the language fresh. In that spirit, I present to you my favorite entries from College Slang 101:
This has been a primer on youth slang. I hope you find your newly-acquired vocabulary useful in bridging the generational gap. If not, well…that’s just NS2, you gooby, jacked-up wimp dog.