Every generation grows up using their share of slang words. And while it’s certainly an enjoyable experience using such words, sometimes I wonder what they mean. So, we’ve compiled a list of slang words and how they originated, because hey, don’t we all kind of want to know?
‘Sus’ means suspect, or suspicious. The word originated in 2018 when video game ‘Among Us‘ was released. But it became the most used or popular in 2020, around the time the pandemic hit. The game involves seeking out or protecting yourself from an imposter and so players have to figure out who to suspect; which gave rise to the shortened version of the word, sus.
‘Spam’ has become quite a common word now. But if we think about it, it does seem like a strange word to describe unwanted emails and messages, does it not? Apparently, the term came about when the Monty Python sketch from 1970 featured a café menu where spam was a repetitive ingredient. Hence, repetitive and unwanted communication, equals spam.
The term ‘Boujee’ comes from ‘bourgeoisie,’ a French word that describes the middle to upper middle class. Boujee indicates people who enjoy wearing fancy clothes, being affluent and wealthy. So, it’s mostly a positive term to use to describe people.
‘Drip’ is usually used to indicate a person who has swagger, is cool, wears cool clothes etc. The word is a metaphor to say someone is dripping with designer clothes, good style or a good vibe.
‘Slay’ is a way to say someone conquered something. More specifically, it’s often used to say that a person has conquered looking great, or has done a great job at something. The word originated from the Black and Latine LGBTQ+ ballroom culture in the 1970s and ’80s, where it was a metaphor for saying you’re ‘killing it’ in terms of your attitude and style.
The word ‘hip’ is generally used to say that something or someone is cool. Sometimes it’s also used to say that you can relate to or are in the know of something. But mostly, it’s the former. For quite some time, hep and hip were used interchangeably, the word originated and evolved during subcultures such as Hepcat, Hipster, Hippie and Hip-Hop.
‘Rad’ is an abbreviation of the word radical. It’s usually used to indicate that something or someone is cool. The term rose to popularity while it was being used in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. But, the word’s derivation can best be explained by saying that ‘radical’ can refer to extreme situations, and ‘rad’ is similar because it’s used to say that something is extremely cool. The word was also used the most when the surfing culture began gaining momentum in the 1960s, apparently, surfers used the term quite a lot.
‘Woke’ became popular from 1940 onwards. It was first used by African Americans to describe becoming conscious and sensitized to issues of justice; to say that one has woken up to malicious agendas and/or mistreatment of any living being. And, the rest, as we know it, is history.
The word ‘Shook’ comes from the Early Modern English word ‘Shooketh’ (from the times of Shakespeare). But it became popular and returned when comedian Christine Sydelko expressed how shocked she was that a fan recognized her out in public, during a YouTube video she uploaded to her account in 2017. Today, the word can be used to say that you’re shocked, whether that’s in a bad sense, or a good sense.
10. Touch grass
The slang ‘Touch grass’ means exactly what it seems like it means. It describes going outside and spending time in nature to improve one’s mental health and well-being. Apparently, the term came from the gaming community. Because the stereotype is that gamers spend a lot of time inside, staring at a screen and not getting enough sunlight or interaction with nature. It’s used to tell someone to take a break if they’re displaying signs of negative emotions festering as a result of burnout or too much screen time.
Gen Z will probably read this and say, ‘Who says ‘Rad’ anymore?’ And you’re right, so can y’all please make it mainstream slang again?