The 4 Slang Words You Need To Banish From Your Vocabulary Forever
Remember when Gretchen Wieners famously tried to make ‘fetch’ happen and it was definitely not going to happen on Regina George’s watch?
That’s how I feel about the word ‘lit’ every time my 20-something-year-old friends weave it into everyday conversation.
Each year social media is guilty of producing a number of wince-worthy words, phrases or terms that somehow wiggle their way into our vernacular. These words have enjoyed incredible staying power and are perfectly justified when used by teens in context as an indication of current youth culture and a symbol of cultural pluralism.
But these terms are, more and more, sneaking into the majority of exchanges I’m having with my adult friends and colleagues. And, frankly, it’s exhausting.
Someone must intervene, because if there’s one thing worse than not being up-to-date with the meaning behind a new cohort of slang words, it’s using phrases that have already run their race.
Am I aggressively out of touch? Or do the following words need to be banished from our vocabularies forever?
Hear me out because, I’m going to suggest the latter.
The Oxford dictionary defines the words ‘lit’ as the past participle of ‘light’, but contrary to popular belief, in the world of slang, it has nothing to do with illumination or with lighting something on fire.
‘Lit’ has historical links too, dating back to the early 1900s when it was often used to describe someone who was intoxicated or drunk. Today, it’s still used in similar context, but has become so intertwined in social media slang that it’s now gained unprecedented momentum in its usage to replace ‘great’, ‘amazing’ or ‘exciting’.
You can even add ‘af’ (as f*ck) at the end for additional oomph.
Let’s work to extinguish this before the it’s spreads like wild, well, fire.
Nope, we’re not talking about the thing you do when opening your eyes in the morning. These days ‘woke’ is used to describe people who are socially and politically aware.
It was actually added to the Oxford Dictionary after being popularised by supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement. And while I’m all for this, what’s not okay is socially privileged people using it because they think it solidifies just how ‘woke’ they are. When in fact, it just makes them seem daft and pretentious.
Please, wake up and stop using it in your social media hashtags.
Do you have a mate that’s a bit of a drama queen? Over-the-top and loves being the centre of attention? Then they’ve probably been called ‘extra’ by their tuned-in bffs.
‘Extra’, by definition, is when someone is ‘a bit much’ and trying a little bit too hard to impress. You know, that friend who turns up to your place to eat pizza and watch sports but dressed in a sequinned ensemble. That pain-in-the-ass pal will also usually happily take on the title of being ‘extra’.
But there are many other words and phrases well-suited that can be used to replace this language sin.
‘Extra, extra, DON’T read all about it!’
This one is the pits.
We tend to throw around the word ‘basic’ without paying much thought or attention or without realising how ludicrously offensive it is to label someone ‘basic’. It might not have the same pull as calling someone a bitch but ‘basic’ has another meaning and it’s arguably just as insulting.
Our definition of ‘basic’ is loose but labelling someone this means they are dull or unoriginal. And while it might deem true in some circumstances, perhaps take a moment to consider the poor person in your firing line.
This one has got to go.
While we’re on the subject, ‘on fleek’, ‘shook’, ‘turnt’ and ‘savage’ need to join the queue of slang words that need to be banished from your vocabulary forever.
While these terms might be new, the concept of slang is not. Slang has been used for centuries and with each new generation there’s a shift in the terms used. But as slang users grow older (like me) they begin to resist the younger generations’ makeshift vocabularies.
A decade ago, my friends traded “boss”, “wicked” and “fly” like they were going out of style (and luckily, they did). Slang definitely serves its purpose when you're a kid, but adults take note -- using these words doesn't make you sound young and with it -- it highlights the fact that you're not.
From now on, let's keep slang where it belongs -- relegated to the high school hallways.