‘90s Slang From A To Z, Because There’s A Whole Alphabet Of Ridiculousness Out There — VIDEO
Just when I thought I couldn't cast my ‘90s slang net any wider, along comes something else that proves me wrong. This time, it’s this “The A to Z of ‘90s Slang” video, which brought a whole bunch of formerly common phrases I’d pretty much forgotten we used to say all the time back to the forefront of my brain. Do we still use them? Mostly the answer is no — but you all know how much I love a good nostalgia trip, so let’s take a look, shall we?
Directed by the Layzell Brothers, the video was posted to the YouTube channel i-D back at the end of October (but ‘90s slang is eternal, clearly, so even though the video is almost two months old, it’s still worth taking a look at). Interestingly, i-D typically focuses on “reinventing fashion films”; there’s not a ton of fashion in this particular video, but there is a bit, so I guess it still qualifies. In any event, though, it deals with a number of phrases I haven’t previously addressed in any of my other (many, many) explorations of outdated, decades-old slang.
P.S. The fact that so much ‘90s slang is outdated in the first place makes me feel really, really old. Just sayin’.
In any event, check out five of the words and phrases that made me go “OH! THAT! I REMEMBER THAT!” the most below, and scroll down to watch the full video.
Definition: “Excellent, admirably, or attractive.” Adjective.
According to the Oxford English Dictionaries, “bodacious” is a lot older than most of us probably think: It dates back to the mid-1800s, at which point it meant “complete” or “thorough.” It might be a variant of the word “boldacious,” a portmanteau of “bold” and “audacious.”
Definition: “To treat with disrespect or contempt.” Verb.
Although “dis” became widely used in the ‘90s, Merriam-Webster states that it first entered the lexicon in the 1980s. Also, yes, it’s “dis” with one S — the video got it wrong there. It’s short for “disrespect.”
3. I Know You Are, But What Am I?
Definition: “The assertion that an insult made by the party to whom the phrase is directed is actually true of that party.”
The origins of the phrase “I know you are, but what am I?” are largely unknown; however, it’s thought that it dates back at least to the 1970s. Paul Reuben’s terrifying manchild character Pee-wee Herman, who used it as one of his catchphrases, popularized it during the ‘80s and ‘90s. I was kind of traumatized by Pee-wee’s Playhouse as a small child, so you’ll forgive me if I’m not a devoted Pee-wee fan.
4. Peace Out
Definition: An informal form of “goodbye.”
Another slang term with some hazy origins, “peace out” may have come from the ‘60s nostalgia that permeated so much of the ‘90s. English Daily pegs the “out” bit to the radio term used to notify listeners of your departure, but I haven’t been able to confirm it with other sources, so take it with the proverbial grain of salt.
5. X-squeeze Me
Definition: “Excuse me.” Alternately, “exsqueeze me.”
Thanks for that one, Wayne’s World.
Check out the full video in all its trippy, animated glory below:
Images: i-D/YouTube (6)