Yo, Dude! The Origins of Common Slang Words

Slang is defined as an informal nonstandard vocabulary composed typically of coinages, arbitrarily changed words, and extravagant, forced, or facetious figures of speech, according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.

In other words, slang can be “a dope spin on a sick word that deserves props for being mad fly, yo.” And yet, in the age of Twitter and instant messaging, it feels like today’s slang has lost some of its flair. Most of it is boiled down to quick-hit acronyms and shortened terms. Totes (totally), TTYL (Talk to You Later), ridonk (ridiculous)—fun, sure, but while it’s clever to be the force behind “LOL” (laughing out loud), it’s an entirely different level to create a whole dialect ending with “izzle.” (Thank you, Snoop Dogg.)

Coining original jargon that’s able to catch on with the masses is a feat not just accomplished through popular and hip-hop culture. There are a slew of phrases that have become so commonplace, it’s easy to forget that they’re inherently slang. Here’s a look at some of these words, new and old, that have had an impact on our vernacular. Read more