At a holiday party I was at the other day we got to talking about the power of language. Like, is language the rules and dumb speech exercises you learn in a classroom, or is language more about music and the stuff people say on the street? If you listen to the way most people talk, it all sounds like slang and word play if you ask me. I guess that’s when you know if you’re really fluent — if you can understand and communicate in the slang. Here are 36 amazing and perplexing slang phrases from the 90s that everyone should use in 2014, not that anyone has stopped using these words completely.
1. All That And A Bag Of Chips: Used to describe something that is meritorious beyond belief. Like, actually so good.
2. All: Used in place of “like.” You know, “She was all…and he was all…” It really gets the point across.
3. As If: Translation: I don’t think so, buddy! Funny how one movie could bless us with one of the most known 90s slang phrases ever.
4. Bounce: Used to announce an imminent departure. “I gotta bounce.” “Let’s bounce.”
5. Bout It-Bout It: A terminology emanating from hip-hop culture of the 90s, indicating that one is “down for anything.” Translation: Sure, why not?
6. Bugg’n: Used to express concern about someone who is probably freaking out about something that doesn’t need to be freaked out over. “Man, why are you bugg’n?”
7. Clownin: You know how clowns are like kind of scary? Crazy scary? Yeah, this is that. Going crazy; acting crazy. “She was straight clownin’ on her.”
8. Crib: A house, a pad. Someone’s “place.”
9. Crunk: Typically used in reference to the weekend. Things get “crunk” on the weekend, thanks to brown liquor in red cups!
10. Cut. It. Out: You can’t really say this without also doing the hand gestures, too. Also if you could comprehend language in the 90s and you don’t know what this means, I feel sorry for you kind of.
11. Fart-Knocker: A blazing idiot; a “doofus.” Coined by Beavis and Butthead.
12. Fly: Cool, awesome, dope. Jennifer Lopez was a Fly Girl on In Living Color. Every time I hear someone using this word I automatically think about how dated it sounds, which means now is the perfect time to bring it back!
13. Going Postal: Going crazy, losing it. Think of how mail goes all over the place. “I told her that I slept with her sister and she went postal.” Yikes.
14. Hella: A lot, very; wow. Before “ginormous” became a thing. “Yo this apartment is hella tight.” Also? Tight, which I guess means that something is fresh, good, “the bomb.”
15. Home Skillett: A close friend. Someone you go to over and over, maybe kind of like you have that one skillet you always use when you cook?
16. I’m Outtie: Gotta go!
17. Mad: Mad not as in angry, mad as in “very” or “a lot.” Contrary to the way it sounds, you can tell something is really good when a description of it is preceded by “mad.”
18. No Duh: Well clearly you are just stating the obvious, you butt munch — another key phrase that ought to be brought back.
19. NOT: Meaning the exact opposite of whatever was said before it. “Of course I don’t think you look ridiculous in that tube dress…NOT!” See also: psyche or sike.
20. Oh Snap!: Used to punctuate a situation that has taken everyone by surprise and which leaves everyone in a state of total disbelief.
21. Open Up A Can of Whoop-Ass: Translation: don’t make me fuck you up because I will not hesitate.
22. Pick Up Your Face: Used to describe an instance of embarrassment that you can’t step down from. Pick up your face is often used when someone proves you wrong.
23. Phat: Something that’s really awesome, cool. Mindbogglingly great at stuff. “That ish is so phat!”
24. Psyche: See also: NOT
25. Salty: Used to describe someone who is angry about something, kind of for no real reason, too. “Why are you being so salty right now?” It’s the perfect expression because when something is too salty, there is definitely a face people make much to that effect.
26. Schwing!: This is a thing white dudes say/I have never said this word in my life. But it’s a thing, kind of like “score” or “haha, awesome!”
27. She Wrong For That!: No translation needed.
28. Step Off: Like, step off my man. Typically used before a fight or some other violent altercation. Consider yourself warned.
29. Take A Chill Pill: Used to calm someone down, to talk them off of a ledge.
30. Talk To The Hand: Today we say “things ain’t nobody got time for,” but back when everybody was all, “Talk to the hand.”
31. That’s My Name, Don’t Wear It Out!: Has no direct translation, really. It’s just a stupid thing people say.
32. Trippin’: Used to call out someone who is acting a fool. “Why are you trippin’ over this?” See also: salty, going postal.
33. What’s The 4-1-1: I’m not even sure what would happen if you dialed 4-1-1 today, but anyway, What’s The 411 is the title of Mary J. Blige’s 1992 debut record, and as such it perfectly reflects its time period. 4-1-1 meaning information, gossip, tea.
34. Wicked: White people’s very own version of “mad.” Black people say something was “mad cool, mad ____.” White people are all, “that was wicked ______.” Possibly originates in Boston?
35. Word: Translation: Worry not — I understand you totally and completely. As in, “You understand what I’m going through?” Your response: “word.”
36. You Go, Girl/Boy!: Translation: Alright, Miss Thing! I see you!