Urban written slang: an update on grunting

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Your new idea is about as exciting as watching paint dry
… MEH me something new, for a change

A while back, on another platform I wrote about some gloriously featureless words that had crept into every day speech and still, Heaven preserve us, hang around today.

The first, was “meh.”

Much as I think it has as much charm as a pile of dog sh*t, the phonetic value of the word does express what it purports to mean, quite well. Especially if accompanied by shrugging of the shoulders and rolling of the eyes.

Here’s a précis of what I said about “meh”…

“It’s only quite recently that the word “meh” came to my notice, which shows how slow on the uptake I am on urban slang considering that the word was first coined by the writers of The Simpsons back in 1994.

People love “meh,” because it’s so useful. Depending on whether you whisper it, growl it, spit it out, shout it, slur it along with exaggeratedly shrugged shoulders or even vomit it, it can provide at least 250 different ways of expressing indifference. According toWikipedia‘There has been speculation that its origin is Yiddish because of its similarity to the interjection “feh”. American lexicographer Benjamin Zimmer expressed some skepticism about this idea, and wrote in 2006, “Whatever Yiddish origins the interjection might have had, they have been lost in post-Simpsons usage.”’

“So where did The Simpsons get it from? Wikipedia again … Cormac McKeown, senior editor for Collins dictionaries, said “It was actually spelled out in The Simpsons when Homer is trying to pry the kids away from the TV with a suggestion for a day trip. They both just reply ‘meh’ and keep watching TV; he asks again and Lisa says ‘We said MEH! M-E-H, meh!’ “

Another word still very popular within nonchalance circles, is “whatever.”

Here’s what I thought of it at the time of writing, and frankly haven’t changed my mind yet…

“’Whatever’ is another popular one. According to UrbanDictionary.com, a common definition is “a polite and less vulgar alternative to “F*CK YOU”. Oh, hadn’t thought of that one. I thought it was more along the lines of this UrbanDictionary description: “Uttered in a derisive and dismissive tone, in response to a confrontation or accusation which has been judged to be unimpressive, obnoxious, or disingenuous. Often used to dismiss someone when it is clear that rational discussion would be a waste of time and energy.” Mind you, that one can be boiled down to F*CK YOU, too.”

In that earlier article I suggested some somewhat more useful alternatives to these wishy-washy terms. However, having had time to think about it further, I think it’s more productive to create some new uses for those words.

urban slang,writing,insults,meh,whatever,humor,jokes,funny,hilarious

Meh … whatever.

Do you agree? Would love you to join in the fun! Here are my suggestions for starters…

MEH … a few ideas to revamp it

  • Whatever you cook for dinner will taste like pigswill so you choose … I couldn’t give a MEH
  • You’re very boring but I suppose I could go to the movies with you; at least we won’t have to talk … you MEH me to tears
  • Your new idea is about as exciting as watching paint dry … MEH me something new, for a change
  • Business was terrible this week but I’m damned if I’m going to admit it to you … I MEH, so it must be true
  • I know I just missed my train but I’m so hungover that I couldn’t care less … MEH me a strong coffee now
  • I’d love another helping but I’m trying to kid myself that I’m no longer hungry … I MEH my diet now and again

And now, WHATEVER …

  • I know you’re right but there’s no way I’ll concede defeat … WHATupyoursEVER
  • So, go on, kill yourself. See if I care … WHATsojumpalreadyEVER 
  • Floods and a hurricane? My back yard’s OK … WHATyourproblem,kiddoEVER
  • Nobody’s perfect. Burning your house down was an accident … WHATpyroEVER
  • Do you honestly think I’m going to praise you for this? … WHATyawnEVER
  • I hate it when you catch me out like that … WHAThateyourgutsEVER

Let’s make more urban slang genuinely useful

It’s your turn; can you come up with some proper phrases to replace current urban slang? To get you started, here are a few more popular choices along with some translations to get you started:

  • Sweet … (previously sugary-tasting, kind, gentle, cute) nice, good, f*cking good, appealing, timely, useful coincidence, convenient
  • Sick … (previously ill, vomiting, politically incorrect, etc.) brilliant, wonderful, amazing
  • Talk to the hand … not interested, jobsworth, gatekeeper, saddo
  • Bitch … (previously female dog, spiteful woman) female employee, slave (usually female), bully (female)
  • Bitch slap … swat across face delivered very accurately as punishment for alleged offence, er, needs to be shorter, instantly reactive punishment
  • Awesome … good, very good, extremely good, unbelievably good, or just OK if you’re 18 and easily impressed
  • STFU … (as in Shut The F*ck Up) EA, as in Enough Already, put a sock in it, be quiet, stow it, etc.
  • N00b … noob, or newbie – newcomer, fresher, joiner, recruit, cadet, you get the idea: what’s with the fancy characters already?
  • Douchebag … (previously device used to wash unmentionable parts of the female anatomy) unpleasant person, idiot, *sshole, someone in authority who doesn’t deserve to be, etc.

Now, I know I must have missed dozens of contemporary urban slang words. Please help us create a thorough, up-to-date list here!

I look forward to your views in the comments…

While you’re here, don’t forget to stop by my Bookshop…books and eBooks to help you write better – and to give to friends and family – from just $2.50

photo credit: Helga Weber via photopin cc
photo credit: Christian Cable via photopin cc

Comments

comments

Thoughts

  1. Update January 2014: given that since this article was written we now have a few more urban slang words to use as insults, how about…

    “selfie” – Go selfie yourself

    “twerking” – You’re such an utter twerk

    “amazeballs” – You’re not even okaysballs.

    Any more? Please remind us!

Thoughts

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