Off Topic but I'd like a Trad Perspective

dpihl

Super Member
The following list was gathered over three days of asking customers for youthful idiomatic superlatives. I'd
love to hear if there are any you'd like to add to the list. I know you'll think some of these phrases don't
belong here, but I did my best to quiz the contributors. One man insisted, for example, that "Booya" was not
just an exclamation. He'd used it often in sentences where you could substitute the words groovy or cool.
Here are a few observations:

1. Most of these expressions are easily placed on a time line. However, several require additional context
to be carbon dated correctly, so I've attempted to provide context when needed.
2. "Cool" is far and away the most durable, most trans-generational of these expressions.
3. Whereas many of these expressions are likely to be found in a hundred year old dictionary, only a few
would survive with their definition intact.
4. I suspect it was the Edwardians who started this ball rolling. They who loved wordplay, puzzles, and
games so much. Also, the Edwardians were quick to distance themselves from all things Victorian.
5. I asked dozens and dozens of hippies how to intensify the phrases they used as teens. It seems it was
my generation (teens from the 80's) who became obsessed with intensifiers. For us, it wasn't good
enough to say that a thing was "groovy" or "cool". That thing had to be Totally Awesome, or Waaay
Cool, or Tubular to the Max, or "Sooooo Radical!"
6. Note how many of these expressions became part of the generation gap through the use of sarcasm. I've
not heard many of these expressions used in earnest conversation. All too often they are laced with
sarcasm, and taken to mean the opposite of what a previous generation would have intended when
using the same phrase. Consider the following examples. "Oh Swell!" "Well Idn' that Special!"
"Suuuuuper!" "That's juuust Great. .What else could go wrong?!!" "That's a fine howdy do!"
7. Of course, it's not just positive expressions whose meanings are reversed. Plenty of well known
examples exist where a very negative connotation is ignored by younger generations. "Wicked",
"Sick", "Bad", "Ill", "Phat", etc. are used in the culture wars as a means of annoying the older
generation (among other things).
8. Not all of these expressions come from California. "Wicked", for example originated in New Hampshire
and thereabouts before reaching the mainstream.

A-Okay
All Right
All That And A Bag Of Chips
All That
Amazing
Auss
Awesome
Bang On
Bangin'
Bippy
Bitchin'
Bodacious
Booya
Boss
Chill
Cool Beans
Cool Cat
Cool
Dandy
Doozy/ Deusey/ Doosie
Dope
Dude, You So Totally Rule/ That Rules
Dy-no-mite
Dynamite
Epic
Fab
Fabu
Fabulous
Fantastic
Far Out
Fly
Freakin' Awesome
Funky
Gear
Gnarly
Groovy
Hella
Helluva
Hip
Hot Diggity
Hunky Dory
I Really Dig Your Groovy Scene
Ill
Just Lovely!
Keen
Key
Killer
Like, the best ever!
Ludicrous
Mighty Fine
Money
Most Excellent
Nar Nar
Natty
Neat-O
Nice
Nifty Keen
Nifty Neat-O
Nifty
Off-The Hook
Outstanding
Paja Hogan
Peachy Keen
Peachy
Phat
Pretty Dang Sexy
Pretty Darn Swell
Rad
Radical
Right On
Righteous
Schnippa.
Sick
Simply Smashing
Slick
Smokin'
So Hot
Soo Fine
Spectacular
Splendid
Splendifferous
Super!
Sweet Sauce
Sweet
Swell
That's Terrific
The 52 Skidoo
The Bees Knees
The Berries
The Bomb /Da Bomb
The Bomb Diggity
The Cat's Meow
The Shiz
Tiggity
Tight
Totally Rockin'
Trippy
Tubular To The Max
Waay Bad
Way Cool
Way Flippin' Cool
Way Out
Wicked Cool
Wicked
You Rock Hard /That Rocks Hard
You Rock /That Rocks
 

Prepdad

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Gnarly list, but...

is there a question here? I say some of these things... so did my parents and grandparents... but I would be hard-pressed to call anything Booya or Tubular-to-the-Max.

I do like to use similar expressions both old and new in front of my children and their friends to emphasize how totally dweebish I am, though. It's particularly effective if you completely foul it up and/or repeat it several times in one sentence. FWIW, expressions in the negative such as "totally dweebish" are equally as fun.
 

Tom Bell-Drier

Super Member
3 superlatives that I use all the time are marvellous, tremendous and excellent. I also use super frequently although had to wean myself off the original full superlative of super-dooper when the piss taking became too much.
 

jasonpraxis

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I remember hearing "mint" a lot, especially when we were plowing the odd job money into baseball cards and comic books. Early investors, we were.

These days I take a cue from Ernest Hemingway, whom I've recently begun rereading. Throughout The Sun Also Rises and in the preface to the Complete Short Stories the best superlative, if such a thing exists, is simply: good.
 

JLibourel

Honors Member and King Fop
Some of those superlatives go back at least as far as the 1920s, and maybe further back than that!

If I starting using expressions like "the cat's meow" or "the bee's knees," even my contemporaries would accuse me of affected archaism, and I'm over 65, for chrissake!
 

egadfly

Super Member
My mother-in-law's favorite -- and only -- superlative is "Satisfactory."

That's always struck me as being pretty Trad (old-Quaker-family variant).

I myself seem to use "phenomenal" a lot.

EGF
 

windsor

Super Member
Booya is the greeting callers use when phoning in to the Jim Cramer "Real Money" radio show. I can't define it. The term "cat" was used around 1950 in a manner similar to "cool" today. Man thats cat! (not cool cat) Cool cat came from the world of Jazz I believe.
 

Good Old Sledge

Senior Member
There wa a time we enlisted lads in the Marine Corps would refer to something as being "five oh, five oh." 5.0 being the highest rating one could achieve on one's Fitness Report in both technical and tactical fields.

My Father, gone these 20 years, would occassionally refer to something, a horse for instance, as being "absolutely mediocre." The owner would beam and Dad would be out of range before they realized what he'd said.
 
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