A few weeks ago, I saw a group of girls looking at a store’s front window at the mall. One of the girls looked longingly at the dress on a mannequin and called it “sick.” This trendy word made me think of all the other words that have defined generations throughout the years. What was once “neato” morphed into “groovy” and then “tubular.” And let’s not forget the words that came with matching letters you made with your fingers. (I’m looking at you, “whatever!”) These words were so popular, hearing them again can make you feel like you’re traveling back in time. Just like poodle skirts and parachute pants, today’s trendy lexicon will eventually be cast aside to make way for the next decade’s language.
But where do these words come from? Does it really happen the way it did in Mean Girls? Are popular-girl think tanks creating and critiquing new words in high school cafeterias? (“Gretchen, stop trying to make 'fetch' happen!”) Are these words created by our celebrities, who want the latest word to match the latest fashion trend?
No matter how they were created, these words of yesteryear deserve another shot in the spotlight. So here’s a challenge for all of you. For one day, let’s dust off these old words and phrases. Try incorporating one or two into your casual conversations. I think it would be the bee’s knees.
-Michelle Hasselius, Associate Editor