Essay – Jargonese

Thanks for sharing this!
Image courtesy Pianopianissimo, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Image courtesy Pianopianissimo, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Do you ever wonder what your kids or your grandkids are saying when they’re teen-talking. Some words, like awesome, are easy to understand. But what the heck does chillaxin’ or cray cray mean?

Slang has been around since the invention of music, books, and movies. In the 20’s and 30’s, you’re the bee’s knees was a good thing. You slay me meant “that’s funny”–and every Flapper wanted to be nifty.

I remember using some of those 20’s and 30’s phrases when I was a teen in the late 40’s and early 50’s–and not as slang. Most likely, the words had gotten into the mainstream, which is what happens to a lot of expressions that were once considered nonstandard language.

Each generation adds something new to the lingo. Like most kids, we thought our slang was a large charge. We were happy to be groovy or hip. A bash was a great party, and nobody ever wanted to get cooties.

School was Nowheresville and our teachers were wardens. And as soon as we walked out of the classroom, we were cooking with gas (doing something right), or flapping our lips. Sometimes we even flipped our wig.

Of course, by the time this makes it into print, there’ll be new teen jargon, and the slang terms of today like chillaxin’ (chillin’ and relaxin’), as well as cray cray, (more than crazy) will be outdated.

But somehow, I think slang will always be awesome.

Well, that’s cool man, cool cat, cool Joe, or just plain cool!


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