What are the hep cats spoutin'?
April 19, 2006 3:08 PM   Subscribe

What's the new word for "cool"?

As a Gen-Xer, I usually find myself pseudo-ironically using "rad" or "awesome" whenever I think something is totally killer. When a friend asked what word college students use now-a-days (he's going to be teaching undergrads), I had to admit that I'm officially an out of touch old fogey. I know "cool" has spanned decades of continued usage, but what are the real generation-defining phrases of today's 18-year-olds, in the same way that "cat's pajamas" or "solid" are tied to an era? Hopefully not "That's hot". Cuz it's not.
posted by team lowkey to Writing & Language (152 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Apparently the emo kids go around saying everything's 'so scene'. I'm not sure if that's good or bad though.

Also, the skater kids on the bus call everything 'sick'. I think that applies to both things that are good, and bad, but mostly good in a bad way.
posted by Gortuk at 3:12 PM on April 19, 2006


I hear a lot of people saying "nice" and "sweet."
posted by synecdoche at 3:13 PM on April 19, 2006


The thing about cool is that it not only spans decades, but it spans cultural groups as well.

There's a lot of new slang for "cool" these days, but I don't think there's one word or phrase that is universal or has much staying power. I know people who use the word "sick" but I, myself, would feel like a total doorknob if I said that.
posted by Robot Johnny at 3:17 PM on April 19, 2006


"Sick," "nice," and "sweet" all date back to the "awesome" era, as do the haircuts, clothing, and essentially everything else about the current generation.
posted by designbot at 3:17 PM on April 19, 2006


Dope?
posted by AwkwardPause at 3:19 PM on April 19, 2006


"dope" ... not sure how new it is though
posted by matimer at 3:20 PM on April 19, 2006


sick
the shit
dope
off the hook

Vintage/retro is in and everything old is new again so I don't think anything is taboo.
posted by junesix at 3:20 PM on April 19, 2006


nifty? swell?
posted by tastybrains at 3:21 PM on April 19, 2006


ajax? 2.0?

/sarcasm
posted by junesix at 3:22 PM on April 19, 2006


that's hot (a la paris hilton)
ill
posted by knave at 3:24 PM on April 19, 2006


wicked
sweet
posted by stray at 3:28 PM on April 19, 2006


I heard that in the UK, due to so-called predictive texting taking over the ability of kids to think & spell, 'cool' comes out as 'book'. So they now say - "that's really 'book', man.."

I can't see it catching on, meself.
posted by dash_slot- at 3:28 PM on April 19, 2006


Slammin'!
posted by Soliloquy at 3:28 PM on April 19, 2006


Moist.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 3:31 PM on April 19, 2006


From my cousin, who's currently in high school in NJ:

that's official
that's hot
that's tuff
that's dope
that's bangin
posted by driveler at 3:31 PM on April 19, 2006


Yeah, I was afraid of that. Most of these terms are from my era. It's nice to know which ones have managed to stay alive, though. "Dope" is a little fresher, but comes from early hip-hop. It does seem to have gotten a little bigger than it's counterparts of the time, so that's pretty good. "scene" is something I hadn't thought of. That's certainly new. Is it really very widespread, or mainly just a hipster, trying-to-be-actively-not-mainstream type of word?
posted by team lowkey at 3:32 PM on April 19, 2006


A lot of people are using "pimp" around here when referring to an object.
posted by itchie at 3:32 PM on April 19, 2006


I'll see your moist and drop it to dank...
posted by alteredcarbon at 3:33 PM on April 19, 2006


"Hot." "Cool." "Sweet." "Awesome." "Fucking awesome." are all what I find myself using daily.
posted by Loto at 3:34 PM on April 19, 2006


"Cat's pajamas" works for me. It's so old, it's new again. Real cutting-edge slang, IMO.

I suggest if y'all do the same, it'll become the next hip slang.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:34 PM on April 19, 2006


i here the youngins round here saying 'clutch'.

also heard:
rockstar
pimpin'
shiny
awesome
slammin' (big fans of dropping the final 'g's those young people are.)

Most commonly: 'cool', 'sweet', and 'nice'.
posted by quin at 3:35 PM on April 19, 2006


Also: I'm 22 and in college, so I am exposed to a fair amount of "hip" language. I've never heard "so scene", though, and I think I'd crack up if I did.
posted by Loto at 3:35 PM on April 19, 2006


"official", eh? I haven't heard that. Can anyone confirm widespread usage?
posted by team lowkey at 3:35 PM on April 19, 2006


wack
posted by Saucy Intruder at 3:38 PM on April 19, 2006


Also, do cool people really still use slammin and bangin? I thought those had been getting pretty stale...
posted by team lowkey at 3:39 PM on April 19, 2006


bitchen. . .I know it's a throwback but it is not in use much but people still get it.
posted by Danf at 3:40 PM on April 19, 2006


SHINEY!

I use it mostly for things that are technogically cool.
"I played with the new PDA and it was reaaaalll shiney"
posted by JonnyRotten at 3:40 PM on April 19, 2006




No one's mentioned da bomb!

I know "cool" has spanned decades of continued usage

Centuries.
But you will not abide the election of a Republican president! In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, and mutters through his teeth, "Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!"
Abraham Lincoln, February 27, 1860.
posted by Aknaton at 3:52 PM on April 19, 2006


"Shiny" is coming along nicely. According to Joss Whedon's "Firefly" and "Serenity", it's still the cool term in 2517.

A black girl I know from London uses the word "safe" to mean "cool", leading to hilarity as she says things like "my boyfriend has a really safe car, know what I mean?" and I imagine a Volvo.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:54 PM on April 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


Per my 15 yo daughter, "sweet" or suh-WEET!" is the word du jour.
posted by hollygoheavy at 3:54 PM on April 19, 2006


In that supposed event, you say, you will destroy the Union; and then, you say, the great crime of having destroyed it will be upon us! That is cool.

Obviously, Honest Abe did not mean "that's cool" in the modern sense. He meant something like "the cheek of it!" or "I can't believe you said that!".
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:57 PM on April 19, 2006


"the shiz" / "the shizz"
(And the homepage of UrbanDictionary.com right now is showing "adorkable," with a bullet.)
posted by rob511 at 3:58 PM on April 19, 2006


The youngsters I know are inner city kids, but:

tight
bomb
phat

are the favorites, ranked in order of usage.
posted by teece at 4:00 PM on April 19, 2006


I say sweet, awesome, cool, and nice. The irony is key though. Seriously saying most of the things in this thread will sound ridiculous to anyone my age. Cool is the standard, though, and about the only one that I say unironically.
posted by MadamM at 4:00 PM on April 19, 2006


Poor "deck". Nobody took you up, you unfortunate manufactured piece of utterly twee shit.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 4:07 PM on April 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


(I'm 18)
tight, dope, nice, sweet, coo(l) (the l is usually dropped), snap (as in, oh snap, ___), & the ever popular 'word'. I think its more a matter of attitude now. You can't sound too excited or too impressed.
posted by devilsbrigade at 4:11 PM on April 19, 2006


Awesome, hot, cool, sweet, nice, and very cool are all in common usage around here. Most of them originally had an ironic edge to them, but are now just kind of standard phrases. (I'm a senior in college.)
posted by limeonaire at 4:12 PM on April 19, 2006


"Official" is excellent, I'm going to use that.

Does nobody remember "decent" or "key"? Was that just an early 80's New England thing?
posted by schoolgirl report at 4:17 PM on April 19, 2006


froody
posted by tiamat at 4:18 PM on April 19, 2006


boss!
posted by apple scruff at 4:19 PM on April 19, 2006


(quoteth wikipedia):

When said forcefully as a slang term to express agreement, "Bo!" ("That's right!" / "Right on").
posted by rc55 at 4:19 PM on April 19, 2006


"Sweet" could be the "cool" of today, but your teaching friend should avoid using that word himself unless he already uses it. I mean: don't let him be "that guy" that tries to be cool (!!) by adapting his language.
And there was no other word I could have used instead of "cool" in the previous sentence. Well, "hip", but that can only be used ironically.
So just keep saying cool and you're cool.
posted by easternblot at 4:20 PM on April 19, 2006


fetch
posted by Espy Gillespie at 4:22 PM on April 19, 2006


blazz
slim
sticky
greasy
posted by tranceformer at 4:24 PM on April 19, 2006


This question is the tits.
posted by mullacc at 4:30 PM on April 19, 2006


choice
posted by chudmonkey at 4:34 PM on April 19, 2006


Excuse me, my grammar is appalling. That should read: "This question is the tits."
posted by mullacc at 4:34 PM on April 19, 2006


Not in widespread usage, but my friends and I often refer to cool things as "Better than Tank Girl". Things that are really great are "Better than Curly Fries".
posted by chudmonkey at 4:39 PM on April 19, 2006


schoolgirl report, I've heard people around here say "that's key" to mean "that's good" and it always makes me cringe. It sounds really fratboyish.

I'll add "nice" or "kinda nice" (meaning "really great.")

ill, fly, dope, bomb
posted by rxrfrx at 4:39 PM on April 19, 2006


I myself believe that 'awesome' is showing great staying power, and I predict it will become part of standard vocabulary. I base this on my extensive recent survey of interior design/real estate shows on the Home and Gardens channel, to which I am badly addicted.

"How do you like the paint?" "Awesome!"
"Isn't the yard nice?" "Oh yeah, that's awesome."
"What about the size of the master suite, which is bigger than Juliet's entire apartment?" "Awesome!"

Und so weiter.
posted by jokeefe at 4:48 PM on April 19, 2006


I think less and less people know whether they're being ironic with slang now, so, uh, anything goes. Off the chizzy, yo!
posted by oxonium at 5:02 PM on April 19, 2006


I'm 22 (but graduated from college in 04), and my friends and I (late teens to late 20s) use: "niiiiiiiiiiiiiiice," "sweet," "hot," "tits," "tight," "fuckin a," and "awesome". Word.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 5:03 PM on April 19, 2006


Some of the students that work in the lab insist on still using "hella."

Also sweet, tight, and of course cool.

One student would describe clothes as so "Hollister." Which I assume is some brand and is bad. Also "...is so ghetto."

I use cool too, and also crazy. I insist everyone start using crazy to describe anything. "Crazy-ass" is also acceptable though usually has a negative connotation.
posted by sevenless at 5:10 PM on April 19, 2006


"on the money", sometimes shortened to "money"
"pretty standard, really" said in a Dr. Evil voice.
posted by emelenjr at 5:16 PM on April 19, 2006


Jerkin!!!!
posted by The Deej at 5:23 PM on April 19, 2006


I call things "killer." Probably not a good habit to pick up if you're a frequent flier.
posted by adamwolf at 5:23 PM on April 19, 2006


neat, and its superlative neato
posted by miniape at 5:30 PM on April 19, 2006


A Canadian friend of mine is always saying "That's primetime!". Don't know if that's Canadian or just him.

I'm oldschool. I usually just say "cool".
posted by zardoz at 5:32 PM on April 19, 2006


Fetch!
posted by The Deej at 5:32 PM on April 19, 2006


(19, female, New England; now in college in New York City.)

Appending "-ass" to all adjectives functions as an intensifier (crazy-ass, sweet-ass, stupid-ass, etc.).

"Wicked" (e.g., "wicked expensive jeans") is spreading, I think. Maybe just in my circle; I'm from New England but not the Boston area.

"Hip," although kind of specific, is fine. Maybe because of all the hipsters?

"Hot" is good, either "that's hot" à la Paris or as a general adjective ("hot apartment," "hot location," etc.).

"That's key" came around because it meant important, I think. "Fancybrand jeans? If you want a great look, they're definitely key." I would never say "Those jeans are so key."

Cool, great, awesome are all standards. I tend to rely on "awesome" a little too heavily.

If you drop the "l" of "cool," you kind of have to do it like "'s coo'," and that seems kind of pseudo-tough-guy poser-ish. About four or five years ago, I heard a ton of "sick," but I haven't heard it for awhile and I'm pretty sure it's finished around here. "Sweet" has to be said with the same kind of emphasis "sick" did, and that's a little too embarrassingly over-the-top, I think. It's a little too soon to do either of those ironically, but "bangin'" is used ironically without comment.

People who came from the West Coast recently do say "hella." The rest of us laugh at them.
posted by booksandlibretti at 5:38 PM on April 19, 2006


Rockin! (as in rockin, dude!), or "That rocks my socks!"
posted by jasper411 at 5:41 PM on April 19, 2006


If I were in your position, I would remind my friend that non-undergrads trying to sound cool by using undergrad language are pants.
posted by flabdablet at 5:44 PM on April 19, 2006


Ka-Blamo!
posted by attercoppe at 5:46 PM on April 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


Man, that's bloody uber!
posted by phrontist at 5:46 PM on April 19, 2006


wack

It seems to me that "wack", or its variant spelling "whack," means something close to "lame," not "cool." I'm not sure if it has alternate meanings in different regions, though.

As for a synonym for "cool," a few of my friends and I wanted to popularize "indecent," since "cool" is the opposite of "decent" in a certain sense. That never took off, obviously.
posted by Bizurke at 5:49 PM on April 19, 2006


Peachy [with a side of keen].
posted by stavrogin at 5:54 PM on April 19, 2006


Hott (with two t's) because, its really much hotter that way. Used in a slightly ironic manner.
posted by gilsonal at 5:57 PM on April 19, 2006


Unleaded. It could start here, today.
posted by drezdn at 5:59 PM on April 19, 2006


The only time I hear people say something is "so scene", it's meant to be sarcastic.
posted by defenestration at 6:01 PM on April 19, 2006


Stop trying to make "fetch" happen.
posted by hermitosis at 6:04 PM on April 19, 2006


Geil! So geil!
posted by clockzero at 6:05 PM on April 19, 2006


I think it's time that we started using the words that were popular in my northern English town in the early seventies. Those would be "Ace" and "Peach".

"Hey, Roxy Music are ace!"

"Yeah, I heard 'Virginia Plain'. Peach one!"


On second thoughts, not.
posted by Decani at 6:09 PM on April 19, 2006


The things about all the above posts that don't include some explanation is that it's impossible to figure out if they are posted ironically or not (even for someone just out of college).
posted by metaname at 6:18 PM on April 19, 2006


Did anyone else laugh at the fact that metafilter tags recent comments on "fresh" on viewing the recent comments in this thread?

Stupid fresh!
posted by oxonium at 6:20 PM on April 19, 2006


(20, female, in college in California)

"Clutch" is one of my favorites, but should only be used rarely. "Awesome" is the word I hear (and use) most often. "Sweet" gets a lot of play. MadamM is right about irony though, every time I use one of these words it is tongue-in-cheek. Because of this, you can be as creative as you want in pulling out silly slang like "radical", "dude", and "score!".

As a sidenote, the best quasi-slang word that I have learned since I got to college is sketch/sketchy and all variations thereof (sketchtastic is fun). It is just so useful for so many situations and people. I've also found myself overusing words like "literally", "basically", etc in an obviously tongue-in-cheek way, just for the comedic value. Basically. I also tend to try to pronounce internet slang, like "lawl" for lol, and "roffle" for rofl. "o rly" has been popular among my friends and I lately. I am probably pretty annoying to talk to in person, come to think of it.
posted by mayfly wake at 6:23 PM on April 19, 2006


"Chill" seemed to enjoy a resurgence among some friends in '00-'02, fading away rapidly. This was on the west coast. Anyone hear it anymore?
posted by oxonium at 6:26 PM on April 19, 2006


Fetch!

Stop trying to make "fetch" happen.

How much do I love Ask right now...
posted by AmbroseChapel at 6:30 PM on April 19, 2006


oxonium - I use "chill" occasionally, usually to describe music but also laid-back social situations.
posted by mayfly wake at 6:31 PM on April 19, 2006


So, how odd does cool sound?

I have to admit that I like a lot of these-- particularly clutch--but i'd never use them. If I don't get the context without it being explained, it just never feels real.

For Canadians, I am not a Tim's fan, but I did sort of enjoy the commercial about the middle aged mom who thought steeped was the new cool.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 6:46 PM on April 19, 2006


Relevant Calvin and Hobbes strip

It's one of my favorites, and this thread just smacks of Calvin's observation.

Figured I'd better just link to it rather than be a rude member of the Internets and hotlink the image. I flagged my previous post.
posted by symphonik at 6:49 PM on April 19, 2006


"pimp" as an adjective. I swear. (As already mentioned.)
posted by theredpen at 6:51 PM on April 19, 2006


Bad Ass. Not "badass". Bad Ass.
posted by ersatzkat at 6:53 PM on April 19, 2006


sketchtastic is fun

yeah, the -tastic ending is generally fun. "awesometastic" &c.

it is kind of weird how there really seems to be nothing new tho'. it's like our generation's ironic moment totally killed the possibility of new culture because it's already so hyper aware of itself that it can't take itself seriously enough to even get off the ground - it's a joke ten minutes after it starts. Or maybe it's just the speed of information processing - not just 15 minutes of fame; it's 15 minutes of hipness and then it's old, and then it can be resurrected ironically and then metaironically used sincerely and then everyone's just too confused to pay attention anymore... - but in 15 minutes, it's just an inside joke among friends (or on an online forum) not something that really pervades the culture.
posted by mdn at 6:54 PM on April 19, 2006


all really good slang is completely made up

(an old screenwriter's trick)

eg 'man, that car is totally...'

street
illegal
undone
blown
rollin'

and so on and so on. If you don't like mine, make up your own.

'nice' is the one I hear most often

I went through quite a long period playing Unreal Tournament where I'd use the announcer voice comments for particularly large numbers of kills... you have to imagine a cheesy sports announcer here...

unstoppable!
dominating!

and the totally ironic, teethclenching one which Cliffy B put in the game as a joke...

wicked sick!

the announcer never actually said my favorite, but I did, which was 'unreal'.
posted by unSane at 7:08 PM on April 19, 2006


legit!
posted by Who_Am_I at 7:11 PM on April 19, 2006


I use "k-rad," and nobody gets it.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:21 PM on April 19, 2006


oh, also "owning" is used pretty often around here...as in "that party owned" or "I just got owned by that burrito/nap/lecture." It can be either good or bad. Getting "faced", on the other hand, is always bad.
posted by mayfly wake at 7:23 PM on April 19, 2006


Actually, in the DC metro area, every middle/upper-class kid I know uses pimp as an adjective.
posted by phrontist at 7:43 PM on April 19, 2006


Rawk : That rawks hard(core).
posted by attercoppe at 7:52 PM on April 19, 2006


Apparently "nang" is where its at, I wouldn't know being neither young, or cool*. But I really want to use it.




*or a shite Times journalist
posted by djstig at 8:03 PM on April 19, 2006


I use "k-rad," and nobody gets it.

If it makes you feel any better, I got it about 12 - 15 years ago and it totally ruled.
posted by o0o0o at 8:06 PM on April 19, 2006


Much along the lines of unSane, far too many of my friends play DotA, so I hear lots of "OWNAGE!" and "GODLIKE!!"

Very much agree on "shiny".
posted by casarkos at 8:39 PM on April 19, 2006


That's grease
That's what's really hood
That's what's really good

Those were popular a year or two ago amongst my NYC undergrads.

(And "type" is an adverb as in "That bitch is type ugly.")

Your friend knows, doesn't he, that he shouldn't try to use the slang of a different age group right? It won't come out right and if he does it as a joke, that'll probably come out lame too.
posted by Aghast. at 8:43 PM on April 19, 2006


"Hot." "Cool." "Sweet." "Awesome." "Fucking awesome." are all what I find myself using daily.
posted by Loto at 6:34 PM EST on April 19 [!]


I say sweet, awesome, cool, and nice. The irony is key though. Seriously saying most of the things in this thread will sound ridiculous to anyone my age. Cool is the standard, though, and about the only one that I say unironically.
posted by MadamM at 7:00 PM EST on April 19 [!]

Awesome, hot, cool, sweet, nice, and very cool are all in common usage around here. Most of them originally had an ironic edge to them, but are now just kind of standard phrases. (I'm a senior in college.)
posted by limeonaire at 7:12 PM EST on April 19 [!]


As a 20-year-old college student, these are the only answers that sound reasonable to me. I've heard a lot of the other words mentioned here, but either only ironically or only in very limited groups of people.

Maybe I'm just getting old.
posted by musicinmybrain at 9:00 PM on April 19, 2006


k-max = kick ass to the maximum
posted by imposster at 9:09 PM on April 19, 2006


I'm a first year college student, and I would have much less respect for my grad student teachers if they went out of their way to use "undergrad slang" in the classroom - I'd take it to mean that they didn't really want to be teaching us and would rather be hanging out.

Having said that, if he's just curious about what people this age are saying these days, his best bet is probably to sit around a popular coffee shop listening to students. Slang varies by region and group, so our answers here won't give him the best picture of what the undergrads at his school are saying.

The words I hear the most around here (University of Chicago) are pretty much what musicinmybrain said - cool, awesome, sweet, nice, all sometimes modified by "really" or "very" (and occasionally "super" or "totally"). Pretty bland.
posted by bubukaba at 9:09 PM on April 19, 2006


Thanks everyone. I think there are too many contributors to hand out best answers, but here's my take away:
  • Sweet, awesome, nice, hot, and to a lesser degree sick, through the miraculous preservative powers of irony, have managed to maintain their coolness from 80's surf/skate culture. Bitchin', gnarly and rad? Totally bogus.
  • Tight and dope have survived from 80's hip-hop culture, while def, phat and fresh are not-so-fresh anymore.
  • Shiny, official, pimp as an adjective, and possibly clutch have definite potential, and I hope to see more of these brash newcomers.
  • I'm going to go with my gut and say that slammin', bangin', ill, and fly are on the outro. Collateral damage from "bling-bling", "fo'shizzle", and "Da bomb" getting dropped on day-time talk shows and cell phone commercials and losing what little cred they had. I could be wrong on that.
  • You can't force a new word like fetch or deck to go mainstream, regardless of how hard you try, tranceformer.
I'm surprised tits made a showing. The only person I've ever heard use that to mean cool is my uncle, maybe fifteen years ago. As for my teacher friend, I think he knows not to try to emulate the kids. He just wants to know what they mean, and doesn't want to sound foolish with the slang he does use. I think he'll be very pleased to hear that "sweet" seems to be the official winner. He uses it almost exclusively, with the occasional "nice" dropped in, so he shouldn't have any problem. Thanks again, especially you whippersnappers. I've never been able to gauge how many of you there are in MeFiLand, which I think speaks quite highly of y'all.
posted by team lowkey at 9:13 PM on April 19, 2006




mexcellent
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:18 PM on April 19, 2006


This is all very amusing!

Kiwis have been saying "Primo" for years...

Pronounced Preeeeeemo...
posted by paterg at 9:32 PM on April 19, 2006


...and reading through again, I missed the couple of posts about owned/owns/pwnzor, which is probably the best example of something completely new and widespread of this generation. Sorry, kids, but hella, whack, sketchy, faced, rockin', etc. were all but over when I was in short pants.
posted by team lowkey at 9:43 PM on April 19, 2006


'tastic, f'in-astic, f'astic, 'ntastic, fuckin'tasktic
posted by SpookyFish at 9:51 PM on April 19, 2006


hahaha, PinkStainlessTail, my friend wrote that book and totally made up "deck." he'd love to know that you didn't see the irony in it all.
posted by lannanh at 10:09 PM on April 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


wow, no one has

"slick"
posted by crewshell at 10:16 PM on April 19, 2006


I use choice and hip a lot. Or both combined as chip, or even chipper.
posted by Jawn at 10:25 PM on April 19, 2006


the standard cool/awesome/sweet/sick, but apparently not mentioned:
"mad" as a quantifier, as in "that project must have taken mad long to finish" also, something can be "mad cool" but never "mad awesome/sweet/sick" for some reason.
posted by juv3nal at 11:22 PM on April 19, 2006


I read this whole thread, and can't believe that bitchin is no longer hep. Right off the radar.

Whatever, rock on dudes. Back to my cave.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:37 PM on April 19, 2006


Recent ones that I've heard are:
savage (big West coast thing)
gangster
diesel
all in the context of "oh, that is so ____ !"
... not that I'd use them.
posted by shokod at 12:12 AM on April 20, 2006


Clutch does not mean cool. Clutch is the act of pulling off a great save under extreme duress, or an exclamation from those who witness someone do so.

As in...
  "Look out!" (after disaster is averted) "Woah, that was so clutch!"
or...
  "Randy, in an act of clutchissitude, finished his homework 15 minutes before it was due."

Also, a decent alternative to the way overused sketchy (et. derivatives sketchiness, etch-a-sketch, sketcherific, rough-sketch) is shady. It also has the benefit of sounding very similar and requires no new syllables.

As for cool alternatives? Awesome would be on the top of the list. Wicked isn't used much on its own these days, but it works as a great modifier, e.g., "Your hair is wicked-awesome," or "It's wicked-hot today." See also: hella.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:14 AM on April 20, 2006


"deadly". things and events can be deadly. I just scored! = Thats deadly! (only ever heard in ireland afaik though)

Also, "rapid", as in, that is fucking rapid = that is rather cool.
posted by kev23f at 1:08 AM on April 20, 2006


Hella, hot, awes, and fantastic also see occasional usage here at college in the Midwest.
posted by limeonaire at 1:59 AM on April 20, 2006


When I was in high school, one kid was the canary in the coal mine. As soon as he began using a slang term, everyone else dropped it. I assume thousands of hep cats across the world are reading this thread and crossing three or four words of the list. The rest of the terms just caught on regionally.
posted by yerfatma at 4:18 AM on April 20, 2006


mint
mintox
mintoxicated
toxic

We said them in high school, but they're back, according to an eighteen year-old I was talking to (here in Australia)
posted by bunglin jones at 4:24 AM on April 20, 2006


"deadly". things and events can be deadly. I just scored! = Thats deadly! (only ever heard in ireland afaik though)

Weird, I was just scanning through these and wanting to add "deadly"... strangely enough I too have only ever heard it from Irish friends and thus even were I to attempt to use it in daily life, I would have to say it in a cod-Oirish accent, thus exposing myself for the sham I most certainly am...
posted by LondonYank at 4:29 AM on April 20, 2006


Rad. Awesome. And yes, cool.

(undergrad, 19 years old)
posted by ITheCosmos at 5:11 AM on April 20, 2006


deck.

(hipsters represent.)
posted by youarenothere at 5:21 AM on April 20, 2006


AmbroseChapel >>> "A black girl I know from London uses the word "safe" to mean "cool", leading to hilarity as she says things like "my boyfriend has a really safe car, know what I mean?" and I imagine a Volvo."

I'm coming up to 22 now, and that's been an urban-y British thing since I was a young 'un. It feels like our generation (everyone born between mid-80s to mid-90s) is really lacking when it comes to originality, because all I use are recycled Americanisms - "awesome", "w00t", "niiiice", "lame", "cool" etc.
posted by saturnine at 5:24 AM on April 20, 2006


"Deadly" is also an indigenous Australian usage.

For those undeterred by my previous advice, I must report that today I was in a Year 9 classroom installing four new desktop computers in black cases with black 17" LCD screens and black keyboards and black mice, and one of the little dears remarked that these were "fully sick".
posted by flabdablet at 6:14 AM on April 20, 2006


I love this thread, and the fact that us fogies can now keep up with the youngsters through the magic powers of the internet.
posted by languagehat at 7:00 AM on April 20, 2006


"Hella" is usually an adverb. Are you all really hearing it as an adjective?

Usual usage: "That's hella cool."

Theoretical adjective usage: "That party was hella."
posted by Mo Nickels at 7:18 AM on April 20, 2006


I work with inner city college kids. "Tight" is still a popular word. "Ghetto" is hard to pin down -- it can be negative but can can also mean cool in a very specific way. "You look so ghetto today" can be a compliment, but only among friends -- think "ghetto fabulous." I once heard a first generation Mexican kid describe Tejano music as "ghetto," which really confused me because I think of Tejano as a rural thing -- but he meant ghetto in the sense of "not good enough [for him.]"

"Awesome" is still in circulation and it's the only word mentioned on this page I could reasonably say as a white lady of a certain age without sounding like a total fool in front of the students.
posted by runtina at 7:45 AM on April 20, 2006


hahaha, PinkStainlessTail, my friend wrote that book and totally made up "deck." he'd love to know that you didn't see the irony in it all.

Hee!
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:12 AM on April 20, 2006


I'm surprised no one has mentioned "baller" yet.

"The rims on that drop are baller," "He's such a baller," "Check out those new kicks, they baller!" etc. Can essentially replace "pimp" in most situations, can also become "ballin."

I put in my vote for "sick" and "dope" as very, very popular lately.
posted by dead_ at 8:50 AM on April 20, 2006


FRIGGIN' DOPE!
posted by mcsweetie at 9:07 AM on April 20, 2006


21, NYC undergrad here.

I'm surprised no one's mentioned the very uptalk-y amazing, as in "That's a-MAY-zing!"

Which comes out of my mouth, oh, only all the time.
posted by anjamu at 9:16 AM on April 20, 2006


It's already been said on the thread, but my vote is for SHINY, if only to solidify Joss Whedon as the hippest hep cat this side of the alliance.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:20 AM on April 20, 2006


"hardcore."

or, conversely, "tardcore."

i'm not saying i use them, but i've heard people here in central arkansas using them.
posted by starbaby at 9:25 AM on April 20, 2006


(old fart, bi-coastal, always digs a review of the current jargon)

MadamM and musicinmybrain have it. Twenty years ago the kids were saying "bumpin" and everything in this thread will get stale just as quick.

When I want to be all post-ironic, "groovy"s what I use.
posted by Rash at 9:27 AM on April 20, 2006


Where does "krunk" play into all of this?
I've heard it's a combination of crazy and drunk, like, "you're a crazy-drunk fool!"
If something or someone is krunk, is that good?
posted by UnclePlayground at 9:37 AM on April 20, 2006


Phat seems to have morphed away from meaning cool, at least in the DC area. It seems now to refer to what might have in the past been referred to as Reubenesque, curvy, or BBW body styles--attractively overweight, or "fat, but in a sexy way." I do not approve of this morphage, but no one's asked me.
posted by MrMoonPie at 9:37 AM on April 20, 2006


gwint
posted by gwint at 9:38 AM on April 20, 2006


Oh, and about "krunk"...

Is it still in use? Still cool to say? Or played out and dusty now?
posted by UnclePlayground at 9:39 AM on April 20, 2006


I'll second "boss" and raise you a "choice"
posted by Wild_Eep at 10:18 AM on April 20, 2006


"Capital!"

/mr. burns
posted by Wild_Eep at 10:19 AM on April 20, 2006


On the flip side, as an alternative to "That's so gay." I've heard "That's so christian."
posted by electroboy at 10:53 AM on April 20, 2006


The bollocks, as in the Dog's Bollocks. Recent social science studies indicate that Dog's Bollocks is approximately 50% more street than the Cat's Pyjamas. The Chinchilla's Cuban Necktie comes in a close third amongst youths between the age of 13-23 (i.e. those who don't grunt when they get out of a chair).

Other statements to throw out to the general public as indication of elation or surprise would be

"That's totally Krishna!"
"Kirstin, I love your new drapes - they are totally Krishna"

"Hullaballoo!"
"Free popcorn?! Hullaballoo!"

"Swish!"
"See that Yanni? He's such a swish"

"Fustian!"
"That shirt is soooooo fustian Marcus."

Another alternative is to be cool simply by being deliberately anti-cool and when others comment on it simply let them know that you are being so far ahead of them as far as coolness is concerned that they are frankly a raging fusion reactor, akin to our own sun and that in comparison your coolness approaches that of liquid nitrogen. If all else fails make up an entirely new word and pretend it's what all the hep cats are getting down to.

Daddio.
posted by longbaugh at 12:04 PM on April 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


Krunk has always appeared entirely manfuctured, to me, and I doubt it has caught on as well as MTV would have you believe.

"Free popcorn?! Hullaballoo!" is the greatest thing I have ever read, ever. It's mine now.
posted by team lowkey at 12:16 PM on April 20, 2006


Type nice. As in, "After I beat him in tiddlywinks, he turned to me and said, 'Type nice'."
posted by haqspan at 12:55 PM on April 20, 2006


'Cool' is eternal, like 'fuck'.
posted by fleacircus at 4:29 PM on April 20, 2006


This thread wasn't as useful as it could have been: it was more everyone trying to find the most unique word for cool they could find, I think. What's the most common? There's gotta be trends.

Hear the ghetto (re: white suburban) speak is "true" or when it melds into stoner/surfer speak, "dub," as in, "That's dub." "Sick" is used a lot, "deece..."

Rad and groovy make the rounds every so often. I myself have led many failed revivals of "boss."

The other day I saw a Nintendo Power Glove commercial, and at the end, the kid says, "It's so bad." At first I kind of recoiled, thinking, err, what? Then, suddenly, all the slang of my youth came rushing back to me. Yes, there was a time when "bad" was cool. Not badass--just...bad.
posted by Lockeownzj00 at 7:43 PM on April 20, 2006


This thread wasn't as useful as it could have been: it was more everyone trying to find the most unique word for cool they could find...

How about "totally vhkl", pronounced to rhyme with pickle? I just made it up by punching my keyboard twice.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:59 PM on April 21, 2006


I use "k-rad," and nobody gets it.

A grocery store clerk asked me how my day was going this morning. Out of nowhere I said, "K-Rad Leet." Apparently, my brain was stuck in 300 bps.

I purposely use the worst "cool" slang possible for the situation. I figure, I'm a 31-year-old dork. I'm never gonna pull off "Hella Sick", so I might as well get the ticket taker to snicker at my "Groovy" behind my back.
posted by Gucky at 4:35 PM on April 21, 2006


Also, a decent alternative to the way overused sketchy (et. derivatives sketchiness, etch-a-sketch, sketcherific, rough-sketch) is shady.

I also think that "dodgy" is highly acceptable.
posted by Afroblanco at 12:04 AM on April 22, 2006


so it sounds like "bacán" hasn't come through from spanish yet? maybe it's still travelling north? no idea where it comes from, but you gringos heard it here first....
posted by andrew cooke at 8:10 AM on April 22, 2006


22 in kzoo here -
we say,
sweet, gay, dope, fucking retarded, unfuckingbelievably sick, right on.
and we call each other negroes, though we are mostly white with only a few black friends, who playfully refer to us as "honkeys".

If any of this offends you, perhaps you should rethink your original intent in asking the question.
Someone above said that they wouldn't want their grad assistant to use trendster language in the classroom, and I agree. All of these things will sap your professionalism.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:02 PM on April 22, 2006


zhzhe zhzheuh
posted by Aghast. at 7:32 PM on April 22, 2006


On the internets, it's "teh sex."
posted by Citizen Premier at 9:36 PM on April 22, 2006


hyphie
posted by muta at 10:07 PM on April 23, 2006


I seem to have a knack for missing all the good Ask Metafilter questions, and consequently a lot of my replies wind up on the bottom here. But I'd like to add the word SPANK to the list.

Notably the 3rd listing of SPANK and the 3rd definition within that entry.

Saying "SPANK" is very "cool."
posted by mrzer0 at 9:55 AM on April 24, 2006


Baby_Balrog, it's kind of adorable that you think I might be offended by your slang, but that's the same stuff my friends were saying to each other ten years ago. And I think you misunderstand my intent in asking the question, which is probably my fault for not being more clear. The question did arise from my friend because he is going to be teaching undergrads, but not because he wants to emulate the students (which I cleared up earlier).

I posed the question to AskMe mainly because I realized I couldn't answer it. Was there new slang I just wasn't aware of, or was my slang still in use? From the answers I've received, it seems that for the first time in a long time, there isn't much of a generational gap, at least in terms of language. I'm guessing that all of us creating and interacting in online communities such as this one has a lot to do with that.
posted by team lowkey at 2:05 PM on April 24, 2006


As a member of Gen Y, I mostly use the following (as either adjectives or assents:

awesome
ace
beauty
cool
wicked (never goes out of fashion - like cool)

On a side note, where I live, "so scene" would be a derogatory phrase for something that was a constituted the appropriation of a stereotype or was trying too hard to be cool. Very applicable in the emo hangouts.
posted by pollystark at 8:51 AM on April 25, 2006


I'm really late on this one, but yeah, sweet, awesome, and nice are your standards. I think that pretty much anybody could say that and not sound weird. Also, lots of the suggestions in this thread aren't synonymous with cool at all.

In London, lots of people say "safe," as well as "dodgy" to mean sketchy. I know one guy who says "jokes," as in "The party last night was jokes," which means "The party last night was fun/exciting."
posted by ludwig_van at 4:51 AM on May 27, 2006


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