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Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Slang expressions that evolve through the years are always interesting. A few have succeeded in standing the test of time. One of my favorites is "cool." I remember that one as a kid in the 1950s and I still hear it said by younger people today. "Cool" has always been around but didn’t take its current meaning until sometime in the 1940s when it was picked up by jazz musicians to define their music as in "It’s really cool, man."

"Groovy" came around later but has pretty much disappeared now. Remember the hit song from Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders in 1966 called "Groovy Kind of Love."? It’s history, man, and you are not cool if you use groovy now. The same goes for "far out."

Remember "beatniks" in the 1950s? They were "bohemians" in the 1920s and became "hippies" in the 1960s. They have retained that nomenclature through the present day.

The 70s had some good slang like "gross" for something not pleasant (used mainly by young females), "out of it" meant you were not cool and could possibly be "square," a 50s term for "dorky." A person who came on strong was "too much" and someone who was not too sharp mentally was "lame."

The 1950s probably had the best slang of any decade. If something was unusual it was "unreal." Clothes were "threads" and a well build female was "stacked." If you had a good time, you had a "blast." However, you would need "bread" which was the word for money. A "cat" was a "hip" person ("hip" is another slang word that has survived the test of time and is also synonymous with "cool").

If you were angry, you were "frosted," if you called the "heat," you were calling the police. To "dig"was to understand, to "split" was to leave, and you were no fun if you were a "party pooper." If you were happy you were on "cloud 9." If you were upset, someone must have "rattled your cage."

In summation, I now have to "cut out" (leave). I hope you enjoyed these older slang terms. If you did, I’ll feel like I have it "made in the shade" (guaranteed success). One caution, though: You may want to leave these terms at home if you intend to get lucky on a Friday night with the beautiful people of downtown Scottsdale. You may get some odd looks otherwise.

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