Wednesday, 13 March 2013

youth slanguage: emerging phrases

A breakdown of the key slang gaining popularity with the youth, including the origins, evolution, meaning and usage of important terms. 

Shine bright

Origin: adopted from Rihanna's single Diamonds from her 2012 album Unapologetic. The chorus lyrics state: "shine bright like a diamond"

Meaning & usage: motto; to allow one's inner-self or "light" to shine freely, to be proud of oneself



Origin: first used in 2007 within IRC networks as a means to label and file topics online, then similarly implemented and popularised by Twitter. In 2012, people began using in speech

Meaning & usage: to provide social commentary, eg, "hashtag epic fail", "hashtag cute outfit"



Origin: originated through Myspace in 2003 and continues in popularity with the rise of personal style bloggers, Instagram (2010) and Snapchat (2012)

Meaning & usage: to take a photo of oneself, sometimes using a mirror, and post via social networking. Underlying connotations of vanity and/or satire; eg, "Kim Kardashian is the queen of selfies"


Throwback Thursday (TBT)/ Flashback Friday (FBF)/ Wayback Wednesday (WBW)

Origin: began with #Throwback Thursday and expanded into #Flashback Friday and #Wayback Wednesday on Instagram in 2011

Meaning & usage: on a given day, Instagram users post childhood or past photos of themselves with the relevant hashtag, eg, "I'm using my baby photo for Throwback Thursday"


Origin: the term goes back as far as 2006, originating from a term reserved for a sexually promiscuous woman of ill repute and evolving slightly in 2012

Meaning & usage: description for a woman from an urban city who holds herself in high regard, an assertion which may be without merit, eg, "She thinks she's such a diva but she's actually ratchet"


Twerk, werk

Origin: coined by Dirty South rappers in the 1990s, the term has seen a resurgence in social networking apps including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. This has given rise to a type of dancing centred on rhythmic gyrating of the hips

Meaning & usage: to successfully work it with style and ease, eg, "That girl is twerkin' it on the dance floor"


We out here

Origin: attributed to professional skateboarder Larry Redmon of San Francisco who used it to describe the hard work and consistent practice that goes into honing a skill

Meaning & use: motto; to describe hard work, hustling and being on one's game


till next tym.

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