I recently heard a pastor tell his congregation, “God wants us to be a tool.” The high school kids sitting in front of me exploded in laughter.
Allow me to quote the great Inigo Montoya (“Princess Bride”). “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
It’s hard to keep up with the slang and talk that young people use today. Just when we think we’re beginning to understand them, they start using brand new words, and the vocabulary we use becomes “so yesterday.”
I probably won’t be the first person to tell you that you shouldn’t feel the pressure to try to be current and sound like someone you’re not (This is something I talked about in my discussion starter book, What’s a Fo’ Sheezy?), but at the same time, it might be good to at least familiarize yourself with current slang enough to know what NOT to say. An obvious example would be a little over a decade ago when we first realized that we shouldn’t tell our kids to “be sure and wear their thongs” around the pool because we were worried about them getting athlete’s foot.
Here’s 10 phrases we might want to kill from our vocabulary permanently because of the chuckles they’ll bring from this generation.
I just want to be a tool!
You probably should avoid this nice little metaphor from now on. A “tool” is basically a slang term for the male genitals. So when we might want to communicate to our kids that we can be an instrument used by God, don’t tell them that you want to be a guy’s junk. That brings up another word…
I remember the good ol’ days when the word “junk” meant trash. Now it usually refers to a guy’s “package.” Guys will commonly be heard referring to their “junk.” For instance, if they got hit with a dodge ball between the legs, they’ll say, “You hit me in the junk!” This phrase seems most common when talking about male genitals, but even Kesha in her hit song Tik Tokrefers to guys trying to touch her “junk.” Years prior you would hear the term “junk in the trunk” referring to someone with a big booty. Some would argue that in certain contexts, junk still means booty. But most often, it’s around the corner from there. (I wonder what lies in the future for junkyards?)
My friend and I hooked up after dinner.
No you didn’t. You “hung out” together. You “kicked it” over at his place. You didn’t “hook up” with him, unless you had some sort of casual sexual encounter with no strings attached. Stop saying “hook up” unless you’re a member of the Jersey Shore cast.
No, this doesn’t just stand for “For The Win” anymore. Kids know this to mean, F*** The World (probably some credit should be given to Lil Wayne for the popularity of this phrase). This acronym isn’t as well knows as FML (made popular by this website), but it is known in many circles. My buddy Dan Manns, a youth worker in NY, recently had a bad experience with this one.
“We were playing a game and I said the winning team’s name followed by the phrase ‘FTW’ which I had always associated with ‘For The Win.’ However, after saying that phrase the room went hush and there was a noticeable pallor that set in the faces of many of the students and leaders—the whole atmosphere had changed once I said that. I noticed this and quickly added “For the Win” hoping that I didn’t say anything too offensive. It was too late…”
It wouldn’t kill ya to eliminate “For the Win” from your vocabulary.
Sadly, this term was commonplace in previous decades; I wish the term were totally extinct. It’s not. I still hear kids (and even some adults) frequent the term. This term is just insensitive. If you ever want to completely close the doors to having a positive influence in the life of someone experimenting with same-sex relationships… just use terms like this. If by chance this term is floating around in your vocabulary, hit the delete button on this one.
Guys commonly will check out a girl and say, “Oh, I’d like to hit that,” stating a desire to have sex with her. Consequently, the word “hit” has been corrupted. As much as I know this, I commonly forget and mess this one up. Literally yesterday I was picking up my daughters from youth group. As I was leaving, their friend Jeffrey jumped in front of my car. He innocently turned his backside toward my headlights, laughing and daring me to hit him. My 13-year-old said, “You should have hit him right in the butt, Dad!” Before thinking, I rolled down the window and yelled, “I really wanted to hit that!” Awkward.
“Tap that” has the exact same meaning as “hit that.” Similarly, it has corrupted most uses of the word “tap.” How many times have you sat in a meeting where someone says, “Now we need to start tapping into that resource”? Maybe that doesn’t sound so bad, but soon people start talking about resources we’d like to tap into. In my last book, I tried to explain to the editor why we couldn’t keep a sentence that said, “She had resources that everyone wanted to tap.” Sigh.
I’ll go down
Please don’t. People used to “go down” in history, or “go down” in flames. If someone held a record for most homeruns they might have “gone down” as having the best record. Now days, you don’t want to announce “going down.” For most young people, “going down” brings oral sex to mind. My buddy Jason used the term with a friend when they risked grabbing some Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups from his mom’s kitchen. Knowing he might get in trouble, Jason said, “I’m willing to go down for those.” Let’s just say that Jason had some explaining to do.
That’s what she said
Sometimes you’ll find yourself verifying what someone said in everyday conversation. When you do, you probably would avoid some chuckles if you steered clear of the phrase, “that’s what she said.” When I worked construction years ago, this was the joke frequently used by anyone who wasn’t creative enough to use actual humor. The phrase hasn’t gone away, maybe because of people like Steve Carell who are keeping the joke alive, or maybe just because the world is full of people that are really trying hard to be funny.
I don’t care if your mom bought a new bike rack, cooked a rack of lamb, or prepared the yummiest rack of ribs you’ve ever tasted… don’t compliment her on her rack. Look it up.
Partner– sure, it might be common in the business world, but today it means so much more!
Oral– Oral reports, oral exams. Sure, they’re common. But be careful when saying, “Today she’ll do the written; tomorrow she’ll do the oral.”
Back door– Not a good idea to put this on a flier. You never want to tell kids to go in the back door, enter through the rear… enough said.
Anything that rhymes with “eezy” or “izzle”- Snoop Dog can still get away with this… but you can’t. Stop it.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? What words/phrases did we miss? Jump on and comment- let us in on the verbal catastrophes you’ve experienced.
FOR EVEN MORE SLANG TERMS OLD AND NEW,
HT to my friends David Smith, Daniel Manns, Jason Talley and Adam Wormann