When did “MEH” become a word? You know, “meh” as in “e-n-n-h”? Some sort of verbal shrug, I guess. Anyway, it’s been appearing in crosswords lately so it has some legitimacy. Dictionaries will be next, if it hasn’t already taken its place as our next new word, or nonword.
New words come and go so fast anymore it’s hard to keep up. I think I’ve gotten the hang of the latest trendy term and by the time I try to use it, it’s already history. I never was too great at slang, couldn’t figure out the difference between “hip” and “hep” until both words were passe’.
Our use of slang usually develops at about the same time as our lifetime hairdo and an enduring love for “our” music. Old habits die hard. It’s embarrassing to catch the grandkids raising their eyebrows and stifling giggles when granny or gramps uses a decades old expression.
I myself used the term “ab fab” until everyone was sick of it and me both. I had a dentist a few years back who would mutter “right on” in my ear repeatedly as he dug and scraped. “Right on, right on” like a verbal tic. I finally moved to Oregon and managed to get rid of him.
A favorite niece is still “bopping” around. Since she was always a cute little “boppy” type of gal with a mop of curly blond 1980s hair, I just smile and let her bop away. And here’s an oldie; it’s comforting to get calls from my high school buddies who still call me “kid.” I haven’t been called “kid” since I left the corn fields a week after high school graduation and I like it.
My dear old husband thought “Daddy-O” was a really cool form of greeting right up to the end. He never caught on to “dude,”
today’s favorite address(at least I think it’s still O.K., as of this morning). I rely on the comic strip “ZITS” for all my up to date information.
No one else can wring as much out of the word “dude” as Jeremy and his pack. (Notice I use the word “pack” instead of buddies, bros or homies. Very trendy, or at least it was last week.) They can get at least two, and sometimes three syllables out of “dude.” Voices either rising, “doo-ood,” with approval, or dropping, “doo-oo-ood,” when things go wrong.
I often use the word “cool” myself. Now there’s a word with staying power. For years things were cool. Then they weren’t cool, they were “rad.” Then they weren’t “rad,” they were “hot.” No longer “hot,” now they’re “cool” again, much to my relief. It’s one of those words I’m stuck with. “Coo-ool!” Now tell me what “chillaxe” means.
Most of our current slang tends toward brevity. A combo of today’s need for instant gratification and the electronic world’s terms of technology has us speaking in shorthand. Half words are popular: robo, slo-mo, repo, info, nogo and non compo, and we’re all learning twittery initials such as LOL, OMG and BLT. No one takes the time to finish a sentence. About the time we get the hang of all this it’ll change again anyway.
WHOODA THUNK? Now I ask you, is that a sentence? What kind of a word is “whooda”? Another non word. “Thunk” can be traced back to the verb form “to think,” terrible grammar but do-able, but “whooda”? I dunno, not cool. Go figgah.
I tried floating a few new words myself, just to see if I could start a trend. For instance, I’ve always preferred the term “old foggy” to “old fogie” when referring to someone in my age group. Much more descriptive. Somehow it never caught on. Everyone assumed I could neither pronounce nor spell “fogie” and I was repeatedly corrected.
Then I tried a word I’d always fancied, “rancid.” A great word, cool, and sounding just like what it is, rancid. I began referring to everything I had a slight disdain for as “rancid.” I even went so far as to look for it in the responses to my blog. I could have tolerated the occasional “Lady, your blog is rancid” as a small tribute to my wordsmanship. What I got was “Lady, your blog stinks.” Short and to the point. I gave up on “rancid,” not cool.
Another trend I deplore, using a verb and a noun interchangeably. Take the silly word “Google.” Do you realize it’s possible to “google” “Google”? I do it all the time. Of course, with my old fashioned sensibilities, I feel the need to address them in a formal manner. A recent correspondence went something like this:
“Dear Sir or Madam Google, as the case may be, Would you be so kind as to explain to me, not only the origin, but also the meaning of your silly, stupid name? Thanking you in advance, I remain yours most respectfully, Ms. Just Another Old Foggy, ha-ha.”
Note the trendy use of “Ms.”, also the little “ha-ha” just to let them know I’m only kidding. Very cool.
Their response; “Dear Ms-Just-Another-Old-Foggy-ha-ha, Do you mean fogie?”
Meh! Whooda Thunk?