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11 Eighties Slang Words

Posted by Big Boo on April 14th, 2009

cowabungaThe 1980’s was certainly a bumper time for the introduction of new slang words into the English language.  Of course every decade before and since has added its own new words, but having grown up in the eighties hearing some of these terms uttered today takes me back to my childhood, but also makes me realise how ridiculous we must have all sounded at the time!  Here is a list of some of my favourite terms.

Bad – Meaning Good or Great, as popularised by Michael Jackson.  Nice one for confusing your parents.  I suspect this is where the more modern term Wicked originated from.

Brill – Short for brilliant (fairly obviously).  Seems terribly dated now.  Try saying it in conversation and you’ll immediately feel silly!

Chinny Reckon – Also Jimmy Hill, Itch My Chin and many more variants.  Such a great insult phrase I devoted an entire post to it.

Cool – Dating back to the 1950’s at least, Cool enjoyed a bit of a resurgence in the 1980’s and hasn’t really gone away since.

Cowabunga – Like a lot of eighties slang, this term originated from those cool California Surfing types, but for me it will always be a phrase associated with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (or Hero turtles if you were from the UK!).  Basically it means something along the lines of “look out, here we come!”.

Dag – Not one we used much in the UK, but was extremely popular on Australian soaps such as Neighbours.

Dude – A cool male.

Dudette – A cool female.

Lame – The very opposite of cool.

Lamer – A term made popular on computers such as the Commodore Amiga by the demo writing hacker groups.  A derogatory term applied to anyone who wasn’t part of your team, or to imply that you were more skillful than they were.

Ponce – Another great insult term.  If somebody did something stupid, for example scored an own goal playing football then a cry of “you ponce” would be a suitable put down.  Could also be turned into “poncey” to describe something that was overly fancy or considered girly by the boys.