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December 2, 2016

Keeping Up With The Lingo

by Anne Paddock

Last week my husband I were traveling and spent a lot of time in hotels which naturally led to watching television, which we rarely do. While viewing a golf tournament, a commercial for Trojan condoms aired featuring Lil Dicky (a rapper, according to Wikipedia) who closed the ad by saying “Trojan Bareskin Condoms are so sick” which left me perplexed. In my generation, the word “sick” meant ill, unwell, or about to vomit so why would anyone describe a condom as less than perfect or up for the job?  Because to the younger generation, “sick” apparently means cool, awesome, or really good so who better than a guy named Lil Dicky to endorse Trojans?

And, then there is “hooking up” which used to mean the cable guy was coming to hook up the cable tv. Today, “hooking up” and “Netflix and Chill” is slang for “going all the way” or “doing the deed.”  When a young adult recently talked about “shots fired,” my ears perked up, my eyes started roaming, and the adrenaline started pumping before she explained the context was something quite different. “Shots fired” means someone was trashing a person or starting a dispute, not shooting a gun. Phew…

If you think words are perplexing, try understanding acronyms. Back in the 1980’s and 90’s we used acronyms to describe people or organizations – “yuppie” (young upwardly-mobile professional), “dink” (dual income, no kids), “guppie” (gay yuppie) BMOC (big man on campus), AAA (American Automobile Association), and the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) – and  for refreshments as in BYOB (bring your own beer). But, today’s generation uses acronyms to communicate everything: LOL (laugh out loud), BTW (by the way), TMI (too much information), TMW (that moment when), TFW (that feeling when), TBH (to be honest), V (very), BAE (before anyone else) and FOMO (fear of missing out), and dozens more. Deciphering these abbreviations is key to figuring out what’s going on.

When I received a text message from my daughter filled with acronyms, I told her that I hope she spells out her words and uses proper grammar in her e-mails. She said “mom, e-mail is so your generation” to which I said “no, the land line is so my generation.”  The coup de grâce? “What’s a land line? Just kidding.”canstockphoto26062511

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