Learning the Lingo

On a recent trip, my podcast co-host, Julie, and I were waiting in line to board a Southwest Airlines flight when she received a text message from her 16-year-old daughter.  Julie asked her daughter to do something, and she received a one-word reply.


“Is she doing it or not?” she asked me.

“No clue,” I replied. 

Fortunately, the couple in line behind us were evidently Gen Z linguists and knew the answer. 

“It means ‘sounds good,’” they explained.  Turns out we also happened to know this couple so that opened up a discussion of kids these days.  It’s that discussion parents have through the ages oftentimes around the subject of whatever new vocabulary the younger generation is sharing.

Our parents surely did the same thing.  So did their parents.  Likely, Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd found deciphering Confederate code easier than understanding what Robert, Willie and Tad were talking about. You get the idea. 

Sometimes, it can get almost comical. For example, back in Victorian days if you said someone was “dicked-in-the-nob” they were “silly.”  Imagine saying that to your teenager today.  Actually, I could try it out this weekend.  My son is home from college.  I’ll just wait for him to do something silly and say “You are so dicked-in-the-nob.”

I’ll report back what happens (assuming I’m not hospitalized).  Actually, I’m sure I’ll be fine.  He’s a very peaceful person. He’ll just roll his eyes with that look that says, “my mother is nuts.”

Today’s kids use words like “lit” and “fire” without giving it a second thought.  Aside from the dangers of possible combustion, these words are fairly tame.

Looking back, our lingo was probably harder for our parents to hear.

For instance, “gag me with a spoon” immediately makes you want to gag.  “Eat my shorts” is pretty gross and “gnarly” just sounds . . . well . . . gnarly.

If you really want to have fun with the kids this weekend, perhaps you can share with them some really old sayings.  Ask them if they’d like any “cackling farts” (eggs) for breakfast.  Just saying that may make them “flash the hash” (vomit), so on second thought try steering away from those oldies but goodies.

Better to just ask them to “veg out” with you and if they say they have not clue what you mean just tell them you were just being “dicked-in-the-nob.”