30 20s Slang Words Worth Bringing Back
If you're going to hit the pub anytime soon, that's great, Gatsby.
Words come and go, and in 90 years, the words you hear (or see on social media) multiple times a day may have disappeared with these 10 endangered words. In fact, 90 to 100 years ago, common slang was nothing like what we hear today - and they're often pretty funny! Check out some words for bee knees - or should we say "berry"? – in the Roaring Twenties.
- IGloves:When you show love to someone and those feelings are not reciprocated, you get a pair of "ice gloves." It's kind of like a cold reception in relation to love, or maybe the friend zone.
- blue nose:The one who wets the blanket or ruins the mood or vacation.
- Ironing shoelaces:If someone leaves the room to "tie their shoes," it means they are going to the bathroom.
- shackles:In the 20s, "shackles" didn't always mean the yoke or tie that bound someone. In the '20s, it was also slang for a wedding ring.
- Handcuffs:Likewise, "handcuffs" refer to engagement rings. We're feeling the trend of 1920s slang related to marriage here... let's see if this 1930s dating advice generates similar thoughts!
- berry:Something cool or desirable, similar to "bee's knees."
- Throw:Its meaning is similar to "blue nose" - buzzkill people.
- Oliver Twist:Oddly enough, it wasn't slang for a beggar in 19th-century London, but for someone who was an exceptionally good dancer.
- Sockdol Camp:Someone or something really great or impressive; buzzing. In this quiz, the word will surprise us, whether the funny-sounding words are real or fictional.
- Know your onions:1920s slang term for knowledge of a particular discipline. Learn these funny pet slang words!
- Mazuma:Cash, money, cheddar, dollars, whatever you have.
- Don't take any wooden nickels:If you want to tell a friend not to do anything stupid, but if you want to do it in a cool way, in 1920s slang, tell him not to take any wooden nickels.
- Let's put a shirt on:In the 20's the saying was "Let's put a shirt on"; today we say "Let's blow that clam!"
- Pasta Sauce:In a funny 1920s slang term, "spaghetti sauce" means "tea."
- slut:It was still slang back then, but it actually meant a tough guy!
- Bank closed:You'd say that to a couple who display too much PDA. Similar to "I'm renting a house".
- Bonus balloons:An exclamation point means that you think something is complete nonsense - similar to "bullshit."
- Sinker:In another funny example of food slang, "weight" is another word for "donut." We can't get enough of these 2019 slang words.
- Raz:Just like today, the word meant "damn" or "rascal!" But in twenties slang, it was apparently spelled "rhatz"!
- mink:Also, the monosyllabic interjection "nerts" has a different meaning than "rhatz"—it actually means "that's great!"
- surprise:Very drunk. You might also call your drunk friend a "fossil" or a "spifflicat."
- Combat Buggy:Today we have "carpools"; in the 1920s, they had "chariots". Despite the importance of the car's backseat, "combat car" doesn't actually have to be negative—it can also refer to the backseat in the context of its prevalence in romantic pursuits.
- Tell Sweeney:It's just another way of telling someone that you don't believe them, as in "tell those who will take you seriously".
- Backstage:In the 20s, it was an adjective, not a verb. It means "fierce" or "snobbish".
- chase yourself:"Get out of here!" or "Beat it!"
- dropper:lazy fellow; idler.
- Knot:"Gaspers" are cigarettes, probably because of their effect on the lungs.
- Foot Juice:Cheap, subtle wines.
- Be careful with potatoes:Mind your own business, beeswax and all that.
- Jack:nice or just duck; tsuka
Top Gen Z Slang Phrases
Generation Z is not just the new, young, powerful internet generation. They were like other generations of their time, a breath of fresh air when it came to trends, styles and jargon. Yes, text.
Boomer, basic, bop, cancel. Listen to, or rather read, the lingo used by Gen Z, and it's clear that most of us need a dictionary to understand exactly what they're talking about. Honestly, a lot of the "new" words for this new generation can be traced back to other cultural contexts, like the drag scene. I mean, long before the first generation Z was born, the queen was pulled. But let’s put that frivolous bitterness aside and walk around in Gen Z lingo so as not to sound like a would-be cool dad known as a baby boomer going through a midlife crisis. Let's take some examples literally.
Balance of Payments:Words to describe a really good song or beat.
example:"I love the song. It's such a shame.
history:Bop is short for rebop or bebop, a style of fast-paced jazz dating back to the 1940s.
basic:A mainstream or unoriginal word to describe someone.
synonym:Simple, bland, unoriginal, mainstream.
example:"Oh my god, all he wants to do is drink pumpkin spice lattes, wear UGGS shoes, and listen to Justin Bieber. It's so basic."
history:The term base is said to have been coined by comedian Lil' Duval in 2009. It was quickly incorporated into many rap songs, such as those by Tyga and Lil Wayne. It has become a popular part of Gen Z lingo.
Cancel:This means stopping supporting or starting boycotting certain people or companies.
synonym:They don't matter.
example:"This company made pink clothes and they got canceled."
history:The word annulled dates back to 1900, although this version was written for both L:s. The 2020 version of the term refers more to the cancellation of culture, which has been widely discussed in the past few years.
pull:Make fun of or criticize something or someone.
example:Girl, you're begging to be dragged into these leggings.
history:No wonder the term "cross-dressing" comes from the drug world. Back in the days of Shakespeare, it was girls and male actors played female roles. It was later said to be an acronym for "dressed like a girl", although this was probably long after Shakespeare's time.
drop:It describes someone who has a cool style no matter how they dress or how they dress themselves.
synonym:Booty, swan, flawless.
example:"Ouch, the clothes are dripping."
history:Another word popular among musicians and rappers is drip or drip. Said to have originated in the city of Atlanta, USA, and has been used by rappers such as Gunna and Young Thug.
family:A short family term to describe this circle or your innermost circle.
synonym:Family, best friends.
example:"Hey guys, you're my family."
history:Documented since the early 2000s, the word fam has historical usage in both British and American slang. In the United States, it is derived from English spoken by minorities.
Do you know what these Gen Z slang terms mean and where they actually come from?
Languages are constantly evolving, but one language changes faster than others: slang. Every generation has its own unique slang, and the terms seem to come out at a pace that many people can't keep up with. The popularity of TikTok and other social media trends only makes it easier to adopt new slang, and if you don't keep up with the latest trends, you may be scratching your head.
These terms may be new to you, but it's important to remember that so much slang that suddenly seems brand new to mainstream culture is actually found in black culture, the LGBTQ+ community, drag racers, and other marginalized groups Groups and subcultures with a long history of use. From there, the creativity, appeal, and simple utility of these terms often lead to their adoption by youth culture as a whole (including white people and those who do not belong to the communities these terms come from), from where they can spread to the general population. In many cases, this adoption involves appropriation by ignoring, obscuring, or deleting the source and originator of the term.
If you want to brush up on the latest "cool" words so you don't look like onehapiness, here are the meanings and possible origins of 16 essential Gen Z slang words you should know — at least for now.
you may have seenhatInetwork cardUsed in social media, but these terms actually predate social media and Gen Z by decades. use black slangto the hatAbout something means "to boast, exaggerate, or lie." This meaning dates back to at least the early 20th century.network cardSo it evolved into another way of saying "don't lie" or "true". Although it is currently popular among Gen Z,network cardMainly influenced by hip-hop culture.
you are cool or youhapiness? The term is believed to have been coined in 2013 to describe something "uncool" that was outdated or tried too hard not to be trendy. Californian Gaby Rasson started using it, New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz reportshapinessThen describe those who tried to be trendy but didn't succeed. The term is gaining popularity on TikTok videos in 2021. The hashtag #cheugy surpassed 10 million views on TikTok in May 2021.cheerfulrubleboastis a noun variant of the word and person who ishapinesssometimes called Aopen.Note: slang changes quickly and some people may be confused by thishapinessAlready very lively.
in previous generationsdropIn slang, it means "a person who is unattractive, dull or colorless". Now if someone mentions yourdropThis is actually a good thing.dropRefers to your appearance or style, especially when considered very trendy or sexy (a newer versionrobbery). The origin of this usage is the subject of some debate. Many take credit for Atlanta's hip-hop scene in the early 2000s, while others don'tdropprobably evolved from slang used in teen comedyZorcia 101.Either way, if someone mentions yourdrop, now you know you can take it as a compliment.
4. The attack method is different
Sometimes something is so amazing that it affects or inspires you on a whole new level. The correct term for Generation Z ishit different.In this sense, strike means "to have a noticeable effect or effect; to have a serious effect." For example:This new Adele album is different.
This usage is thought to have originated in the LGBTQ community, including popular YouTubers Daniel Howell and Phil Lester. In 2019, it gained popularity through social media apps like TikTok and Twitter. Now,hit differentIt has been widely used in various occasions.
you will want to bemain characterin your favorite movie?main character, for Gen Z, stems from the TikTok trend of people posting montages of their lives in which they play leading roles or reenact popular scenes from their favorite movies and TV shows.main characterIt can also refer to someone who goes viral on social media. For example:I checked twitter to see who the protagonist of the day was.
RuPaul's Drag Race may have been the vehicle that brought the slang into the mainstream. For Gen Z,kidnapMeans "fierce" or "just right," especially when it comes to someone's hair, makeup, and appearance. Historically,kidnapis slang from the black drag community, where performers often wear artificial hair, known as braids. in the drag communitykidnapslang for something very magicalkidnapyour weave.
Are you ready to learn your next slang?bet! As you can guess from the previous sentence,betis a term for acknowledgment, agreement, or approval, similar to "Cool!" or "I'm down!" It can also be used to express doubt or disbelief. This usage probably comes from black slang. It's also proof that Gen Z seems to love the '90s recycling trendbetcan be traced back to this decade.
Would slang be any less cool if we told you that slang is also onomatopoeia?ScreenIt is designed to imitate the screeching sound made by tires and is used as an exclamation point. For example, if someone is sharing some interesting gossip, his friends may replyplayerAsk them to stop and repeat what they just said. The term has been in use since at least 2015 and is closely related to the growing popularity of trap music.
9. Understand the task
If you spend any time on Twitter, you've probably seen tweets about actorsunderstand the taskOr perfectly suited to the role they were playing. This is slang for someone who has successfully or fully accomplished what they need to do. This isn't limited to celebrities. People who dress well or have just the right back may also haveunderstand the task. Saying someone is like giving them a gold star.
10. Good Baby Boomers
Gen Z and Millennials are two separate groups, but they've found something to fit the termgood baby boomers.Starting in 2019, both generations helped popularize the phrase, and it's still popular today.good baby boomersIt is used as a compliment when older generations post condescending or outdated things online about younger generations. It is also used in a humorous or sarcastic way to dismiss outdated comments by people of any age.
11. Talk less
talk lessIt may seem rude to some because it's essentially a request to stop talking. It's a sudden, often funny way of saying "I understand" or "I'm right."talk lessis the title of R&B artist Ashanti's 2019 song. It is also the title of a 2017 album by Canadian musician Roy Woods. It went live back in 2011, but may have reached its current level of popularity via a 2021 Saturday Night Live skit.
really the next wordthe splash.It basically means "perfect or amazing". you've probably heardslapAbout the music, like "this song is really popular". This slang term is also a total blast from the past. It was an adjective meaning "top-notch" in the mid-19th century, and even an adverb meaning "excellent" in the mid-1800s. At least in the early 2000s.the splashIt's used to celebrate everything from great music to food. musicslapIt's often attributed to Bay Area hip-hop slang. There are many other slang terms referring to the use of force and movement to characterize great music, includingBOP,whip, Itaste.track thatthe splashcan be calledfirework.
13. Low key / high key
low keyGenerally means "quiet", "reserved", "moderate" or "easy-going". In slang, it's more of a subtle feeling, or something you want to leave downstairs, e.g.low keyExcited about the release of a cheesy new movie or owning onelow keyFall in love with a famous person. or,high profileUsed to express public excitement about something, e.g.high profileInvest in the ongoing drama between Taylor Swift and Jake Gyllenhaal. Fun Fact: Althoughlow keyComing from an adjective, it is also widely used as an adverb, as shown in our example above.
If something is really, really good, it can be described asbus'.The term is derived from African American Vernacular English (AAVE), possibly based on different meaningsbreak into piecesMeans "explode, well done, enjoy". Many say it has been appropriated by Gen Z in a way that alters its original meaning. While the younger generation uses the term to describe everything from beautiful clothing to great music, in AAVE,bus'Usually refers to delicious food.
Gen Z didn't inventchildishBut they found a way to do it their way.Nainiacis used - it should be noted, often in a sexist way - as an insult to men who are considered too submissive to women, especially under the guise of trying to gain sexual attention. However, this is controversial as many claim the term demeans women and is a way of intimidating men. While the term became popular among TikTok influencers in 2019 and early 2020, rappers like Ice-T and DJ Evil E have been using it as far back as 1987.
Once upon a time, kids were messing around. now you can find themflutterinstead.VibratingMeans to relax, use good sense and generally enjoy the atmosphere. it withvibration, which is an older slang term from the late 1960s, meaning "a certain feeling or taste."VibratingIt is used in many situations, especially when someone is immersed in good music or conversation.
Take the quiz!
is this the listhit differentFor you? Then it's time to take our quick slang quiz and prove just how muchKnow the mission.