Do you feel like you’re living in a world where the vocabulary of young people has passed you by? Do your kids and grandkids talk to you and you have no idea what they are saying? When you watch a TV show or movie, are you only understanding every other word because what you thought was the meaning, just doesn’t seem to fit the context? (Or maybe you need a hearing aid. Hard to tell.)
You are not alone in feeling confused. Definitions have changed. Terminology that we “maturians” (I just made that word up…..good, huh?) are familiar with are totally different now. What meant something years ago, doesn’t hold true today. Certain words have taken on very different meanings. How did this happen and who determines what those words mean? It doesn’t matter, because you are old and totally out of it. But – because I am kinder and gentler now, I’ve decided to help you all with some clarifications. True – you could just go to Urban Dictionary , look some words up, and talk all bad-ass. But – I’ll get things started for you…….from kinder, gentler Julie to you – I offer my top 15 Different Meanings of Meanings:
Open A Window – In 1976, if my mom told me to open a window, I would’ve opened one of the kitchen windows in our country-based home. The recently spread pungent manure would “delicately waft” through the screen while we gagged and lamented that the local farmer ruined a perfectly good summer evening. Now…..when my kids tell me to “open a window,” they mean for me to open a new tab on my computer. Not smelling the compost on this one………….
Sick – OK……I seriously don’t know how being sick has gone from vomiting your guts out to being totally awesome. How did this noun evolve into an adjective and go from being repulsive to resplendent? At a recent family gathering at my 86-year old parents’ house, I asked, “Did anyone see the recent episode of Ridiculousness? It was sick.” My mom immediately got me a bucket to puke in. I confused her.
Bad – bad is now good; awesome; kick-ass. You need to incorporate this word into every other sentence, otherwise your kids and grandkids will not take you seriously.
Gay – if you were to use this word today to mean “joyful”,” cheerful”, “convivial,” no one would get it. Nowadays, “gay” is only used to mean “someone of homosexual persuasion.” If someone asked you how you were feeling and you said, “I’m gay,” the person would tell you where and when the next Pride parade was.
Wicked – when I was growing up, the only time I really heard the term “wicked” was when the Wizard of Oz was airing and the reviled Wicked Witch of the West was in her glory. Today – wicked means great, awesome, sick. The fact of the matter is…….no one is getting my ruby slippers.
Pot – Oh!….the various meanings! Cooking utensil, cannabis, toilet….”a pot to piss in.” How can one word mean a euphoric inhaled substance, culinary saucepan, and privy all at once? It’s really quite gross if you think about it.
Text – this used to refer to a book…..the written word transcribed on paper; a manuscript. Now, it’s a short version of a series of words and abbreviations typed on a phone screen (hopefully while one is not driving). And the autocorrect usually makes for some hilarious communication!
Dope – in my day, “dope” described someone that was stupid or ignorant. They usually sat in a corner of the classroom with a dunce cap on. Then it became a slang term for marijuana giving the connotation that those who smoked dope acted like a dope. Presently, dope means cool, swell, terrific! This is an example of a truly negative word working its way into one of the most highest regarded fun words of all time!
Cell – today everyone knows you’re talking about your mobile phone. Back in the day, one might use the word cell to refer to jail. But it WOULD be totally dope if you had a cell in your cell and could text….unless you’re him.
Plasma – years ago plasma often referred to the words “protoplasm” , “body fluid”, “blood stuff” unless you were scientific and knew that it really was a state of matter. Now it is a type of expensive TV and if you don’t have one then you are not dope. “Dude – let’s watch the game in my man cave on my big plasma!”
Cloud – the puffy, fluffy stuff in the sky. In the olden days, we used to lay on our backs in our untreated lawns and gaze at the clouds in the sky. We were content to spend 8.315 minutes identifying shapes, people, animals, etc. forming in the clouds. It was relaxing. Our deductions and thoughts didn’t go anywhere…..we just had fun determining what the clouds were showing us. Nowadays, photos, messages, etc. are transmitted through the cyberspace cloud and miraculously distributed among all of our cellular devices. You can even send photos to other people’s devices if you share a cloud! I have photos on my iPad and I have no idea how the hell they got there. Is someone sharing my cloud and I don’t know about it? As the Rolling Stones once sang – “Hey, you, get off of my cloud!” Man – they were before their time! Dope song….let’s take a listen:
Chill – Back in the day, chill was a noun. You got a chill for numerous reasons, like if you were sick, or sitting in a drafty location; or if something spine tingling caused a chill. Today – it is a verb and means to relax, take it easy, veg. In this high-stressed contemporary world , it is important that everyone should just chill before one of us goes and busts a cap. My feeling is that – if you have chilled wine, everything will be just fine. This is why I drink a lot of chilled wine ……..so that I can chill.
Moss – the green stuff that grows on rocks and stones and such. It’s slippery as all get out when it’s wet. Nowadays it means chill…..see above. For instance, “Why are you getting all worked up about Obamacare? You need to just moss.” How does a noun all of the sudden become a verb? Guess it’s just an example of this multi-tasking environment. If we homo sapiens are expected to perform separate tasks simultaneously, well…..dammit…..so should our vocabulary!
Diaphragm – back in Anatomy and Physiology class, everyone learned where their diaphragm was located……in the chest cavity where it separates the chest from the abdomen (OK…..I cheated and looked it up cuz I learned about this years ago and I didn’t know if anything had changed since then. Plus – my A&P professor wasn’t very good.) Nowadays, if you were to go up to a random female and ask her where her diaphragm was, she’d either slap you in the face or tell you that she didn’t own a diaphragm……just not her cup of tea.
Word – this is the silliest of all the different meanings. We all know what the word “word” means. We speak in words, we write in words, words are elements of speech strung together to form sentences. Hipsters today use the word “word” to mean “I agree.” Here’s an example:
Me: Sidney Crosby is the most awesome hockey player EVER!
Kevin: Word…..he’s the best
So, speaking of word…..I’m out of words…….I’ve completed my 15 different meanings of meanings. There are countless others, but these were ones I came up with in the past 30 minutes. Oh, WTH – I confess – I spent DAYS coming up with these words! Feel free to add your own in the comment section on my blog page.