California Culture


Former Secretaries of State "digging it" include Hillary Clinton, who served as FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States) and hoped to become PEOTUS  (President Elect of the United States), then POTUS (President of the United States).

California Slang--Then and Now

By C. MacDonald

Today's popular words and phrases are not like they used to be. I recently heard an Oakland man tell a friend he was "throwing shade" (insults); a Bellflower woman asked her sister is she heard any "tea" (gossip); a Bakersfield politician told his speechwriter he was "on fleck" (on-point). I had never heard any of these slang words before.

When I was in high school, "boss," "dig," "creepy" and "neat" were frequently used. These common words found their way into school compositions and oral reports--often to a teacher's dismay.

"Boss" meant nice or pretty as in, "Those shoes are really boss." Another term for "boss" was "gritzy" (which seems to have totally disappeared). "Neat" was slang for "boss."

"Dig" was used as a verb, like, "I'm diggin' this dance." "Creepy" was an adjective that you would apply if you didn't like something. "Boy, was that a creepy exam."

"Lets take a powder," used to mean, "Lets get out of here." Now that phrase probably is used on some of the popular television cooking shows.

Other popular slang terms that some of you may recall, include, "down the tubes" (failure); "bad" (good); "Are you for real?" (are you kidding me?); "cap" (put someone down) and "toodles" (goodbye). I haven't heard the last couple in decades. Many of the old expressions seem to have vanished like fog on a sunny day.

Some words have survived through the years: "Super," an adverb used in front of an adjective to make it more so, such as "super-neat;" "real winner," which can be used to describe a really good or really bad idea; "keep it cool," relax and take it easy, and "out of sight," for something totally nice.

I think it's good to keep alive great old expressions and be California creative and come up with new ones. Oddly enough, spell check on computers and smart phones has a hard time figuring out the meaning or even existence of some slang words and phrases. Lets continue to do what we can "to keep it cool" and be "with it!"

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