Top 10 Words/Phrases You Don’t Want to Use Anymore

Posted on: 07/21/11 1:58 PM | by Jonathan McKee

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.

That’s gay
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.

Hit that
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
“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.

HT to my friends David Smith, Daniel Manns, Jason Talley and Adam Wormann

Posted in Humor, Youth Culture |  | Leave A Comment

20 Replies to “Top 10 Words/Phrases You Don’t Want to Use Anymore”

  1. Along these lines, it’s funny when reading the Bible out loud to youth groupers, my mouth automatically just says “killed with rocks” when my eyes read the word “stoned”…I know there is some debate about Paul’s thorn in his flesh, but I really don’t think kids need to think he had a pot problem 🙂

  2. Never heard FTW being used that way… I use that all the time. Maybe it’s because I’m mostly with gaming people when I use it? Hmm… Guess I should be careful with it.

    My former SP asked me in front of the church what the text message abbreviation POS means. 🙂 Turns out he thought it meant Parent Over Shoulder. haha I’ve always understood it to mean Piece Of Sh*t. Needless to say, I didn’t share it’s real meaning in front of everyone when he asked. Kinda funny/awkward moment.

    1. I think that it originally was used to describe things like my car, then it became Parent Over Shoulder. That’s probably much more common now with younger audiences. Just what I’ve noticed anyway.

  3. I’m pretty sure a tool still (“still”) means a person who is a mean idiot. As in, “I can’t believe you did that, don’t be such a tool.”

    But I’m getting older….

  4. On tim’s side. twitter search #ftw and most of the tweets will show its mainly used as “for the win”. I wouldn’t say “ftw” though for the same reason as I wouldn’t say brb, g2g, or lol in a normal conversation: its lame.

  5. Ha. Just because we haven’t heard something doesn’t mean it’s not true. And yes, the word “tool” can mean idiot… in the same way that “dork” eventually became an innocent term (look up what that word used to mean). Funny, the word “sucks” is even being used innocently now and is widely accepted. I don’t think many would argue where it came from.

  6. Recently heard a TV preacher say several times over some weeks when he was ‘turned on’ to the Lord. In all honesty, he doesn’t want to use that phrase. Couldn’t quite believe he kept saying it with no-one saying anything to stop him.

  7. Being a younger youth minister (19) I knew pretty much all of these already but a while back I replaced using the word “crap” with the word “junk” since it seemed like a better thing to say. I guess I need to find something else to say now. Haha

  8. Just last Sunday our Pastor was announcing a men’s fellowship and used the prhrse “Bring Your Own Meat.” Kid’s laughed. He thought that they were laughing b/c he said BYOM first. Nope, I then heard the tweener behind me ask if they should beat it first. Very Awkward indeed.

  9. Not a word but slang, and doesn’t really apply to this article, but I am so discouraged when I see youth today putting WTF in so many posts, especially coming from the girls. A parent recently posted on facebook about the terrible language coming from all the kids at a local fast food restaurant. Unfortunately, it has become the norm to use foul language by many of the youth today.

    1. This is frustrating, Jill. Even films that are marketed to young kids- films like Transformers III- have their lead characters saying that one. It’s no big deal to the world.

  10. Jonathan, I can’t thank you enough for this post. I’m forwarding it to a number of my colleagues as soon as I finish commenting. I have worked at Christian colleges for the past 5 years, and there is obviously an age gap between profs, administrators and the college students. While most of the profs are in the know, it’s not a uncommon for an administrator to say something in college chapel that makes everyone blush!

    Much needed post!

  11. This post reminds me also of another term still being used when it should not. I was listening to a pastor at a conference when he said he needed to get off( he meant physically removing his body from something.) even some older ones in the crowd started snickering. sad. Probably should stay away from those two words unless followed with a good explanation.

  12. The older Ryrie Study Bible had a note about Paul’s visions in 2 Cor 12, saying “some think this happened when he was stoned”. I noticed that this note was removed in a later version of that bible. 🙂

  13. ooops, not finished…. she doesn’t hear any of these things, but she does go to Christian school, maybe that’s good.

  14. 1 Kings 6:7 – And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.

    The objective of Christian ministers, where children are involved, ought to be to train children in the use of polite language and train them in the appropriate meanings of words. Christians ought to be conformed to the word of God, not the other way around. Thus, when someone uses “tool” in an inappropriate way or snicker because they believe it to be a man’s privy member such things should be rebuked.

  15. I’m not sure what circles you’re in, but FTW meaning “F— The World” is a very old usage of it. Just about anyone I know of who uses it, means “For The Win”. And I’m not particularly in an “old” crowd.

    Also, a lot of these words really aren’t bad to use as long as not used in certain syntax’s or contexts. There is nothing wrong with saying “I’ll go down for some.” when it’s obvious you’re responding to a question about retrieving something from another floor.

    Also, “rack”, again, context. I mean you’d never say “she has a nice rack”. But you could say “go get that bike rack” or “put it on the rack”.

    Same applies for “hooked up”. Again, context, if you said “We hooked up and went and saw the movie” there wouldn’t be any sexual connotation.If you said we “Went and saw a movie and hooked up.” then you’re in trouble.

    I suppose, if you’re not familiar with how to use these phrases, you should avoid them, but as long as you’re familiar with them (it’s not that hard, they are used EVERYWHERE) it’s not too hard to figure out how not to use them.

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