Evolution of Slang

Slang has been around since languages were first spoken. One of the great things about languages is that they can be twisted and used by anyone and for any purpose. This often results in the creation of slang words, which have faded in and out since the beginning of organized speech.

Many of these slang words come not from the creation of new words, but from changing the meaning of already existing words. Words like "dude", "smooth" and "yo" are examples of words that have been around for a long time, but whose meanings were changed to make them slang words.

The 1920's

In the 1920's, words like phrases like "the cat's pajamas" and "hotsy totsy" were popular among young and old people alike. The phrases meant cool and perfect respectively, and are occasionally still used today.

The 1930's

In the 1930's, "I'll be a monkey's uncle" was first created, and it is one of the most commonly used slang phrases of that decade. The phrase was used to describe a feeling of disbelief or enlightenment.

The 1940's

In the 1940's, the term "cool" was first used. It was made popular by Coolidge's campain, which used the slogan "Cool for Coolidge".

The 1950's

In the 1950's, a popular term used today was first created. "Hipster" was used to describe a trendy person, though the meaning today has changed a little.

The 1960's

In the 1960's, "groovy" and "hippie" were first created. "Hippie" is a term that was actually derived from the 1950's slang word "hipster".

The 1970's

The 1970's brought on slang like "catch you on the flip side" and "mind blowing".

The 1980's

In the 1980's, a slew of popular words were created, with the most familiar being "fly", "wicked", "preppy" and "gnarly".

The 1990's

In the 1990's, the popular slang phrase "my bad" was created, making English teachers everywhere cringe.

The 2000's

In the 2000's, words like "peeps" and "sweet" were created, which meant people and awesome respectively.

Slang has certainly changed throughout the years, and there is no telling what words people will be saying 50 years from now.

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