90s Slang That We’re Still Trying to Make Work

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Before the days of The Plastics, mean girl rules and so fetch, millennials were trying to make a long list of short forms and slang words happen. Gretchen Wieners would be proud. From hella to hangry – and everything in between – the cool kids had class talk covered. Whether walking down the hall or hanging at the mall, vocab from way back when was full of pop-culture inspired lingo and language. While some code words and funky terms stuck (for better or worse), others didn’t make the cut.

Check out the following throwback slang that we’re still trying to make work. Feel free to try and pull one (or two) off. FYI: there’s no telling how your friends will react.  

  • Bounce, Dip or Roll: to make an exit

Whether you prefer to ghost or say good-bye, there are a handful of slang words to choose from. A (necessary) takeover of the phrase scadaddle, place the word “let’s” in front of your favourite to grab the attention of your gang and head out.

  • Fly: to be cool and/or attractive  

Looking and feeling extra fresh, fly is next level awesome. Travel back in time to the days of Phat Farm overload and switch up fly for phat. Founded by Russell Simmons, Phat Farm is one of the most influential streetwear lines of the ‘90s.

  • Scrub: a boy who thinks he’s fly (see above), but is totally broke

Calling all TLC fans (and I’m not talking about the reality-based TV network that introduces audiences to a wide range of moms and mediums on the daily). The hip-hop group made up of T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli popularized the term during the time of the CD with its fly single “No Scrubs”. You see what I did there?  

  • Chillax: to chill and/or relax

Pre-Bennifer (and Bennifer 2.0) and Netflix and chill, chillax served as one of the original combine and conquer slang words. Starting the mix and match trend of lazy language, it’s tough to pull off without sounding like you’re trying too hard.

  • Buzzkill: someone or something that spoils a good time

Easy to throw down and pick up, the word takes a more literal tone. Flip the phrase and buzzkill means to kill a buzz. Quick tip: try not to be one.   

  • Obvi: a short form for obviously

Even with the fall of The Valley Girl and talk to the hand, as we reflect on The Year of the Woman, obvi is still rolling off the tongue and clinging to life.

  • Props: to give credit

Similar to giving dap, giving props is a way to show respect. Learn how to make it a thing (again) and you deserve all of the props in the world.

While the slang of the ‘90s is trying to find its place in the land of the lit, trust that like fashion trends, go-to terms are all about bringing it back: repeat, reuse, recycle.