There is a new language which often leaves me scratching my head and muttering. You may have been blindsided by this new lingo, too, by a young person expostulating, “I’m not reaching Lindy’s party tonight, man. She’s one of my mains, but she’s flexing too much. Styll, right?”
If you think a translation is in order, you are not alone. In confusion I have had to seek comfort in the internet ( which is still, to my mind, a source of black magic) where I read off a number of mind-boggling new words that are used by the younger generation. In this compendium of unknown words, reach can mean you are attending an event, flex means to show off or have too much cash, and styll for some unaccountable reason means you agree with someone.
In the same context, a yute (youth) could flex by telling one of his linguistically adept peers, “Yo, I went bungee jumping and got merked. Cray-cray, eh?” To which his friend might reply, “ Hundo P, dude! Swaggy! YOLO!”
Completely confused? Allow me to translate. Merked can mean anything from being high , tackled, knocked out, or… who knows what. Cray-cray is just what it sounds like—crazy. Hundo P simply is a contraction of hundred percent and means that you approve. Swaggy means being or having something cool. As for YOLO, this acronym for You Only Live Once is considered the worst new word or phrase of 2012. Not that this has stopped it from being used. Cray-cray.
I wondered how new words got into proper parlance and took refuge in the Merriam-Webster dictionary where, I was sure, sanity would prevail. The dictionary gave me a simple answer: usage gets a word into the dictionary. Editors carefully study the language that is used, diligently monitor how often a word is used. Editors scour texts for new words, for the ways existing words are now utilized, and for spellings that might vary. The size and type of a dictionary also limits the number of new words that are admitted into the hallowed halls of dictionary-dom. For instance, a large unabridged dictionary would have more room for words that have become wedged into everyday parlance.
There is also the Oxford Dictionaries Online which each month adds approximately 1,000 new entries. In 2012, omnishambles (a situation that has been mangled and mismanaged) made the ranks. So did apols, an informal variation of apologies. Some of the more interesting words were dappy (silly,lacking concentration), grats (congratulations), and babymoon (a holiday taken by parents to be or a time after the birth with parents concentrating on bonding with the new arrival.)
Words have always seemed magical to me in that they can create worlds or demolish them with a simple sentence. So I suppose that the creation of new words for new situations can only be the result of that same sorcery. It need not be said that sorcery can both transform the bleak into the wondrous or cause a complete muddle.
Perhaps this a portent of the future. Even so, while I may appear dappy to the younger generation, I still judge them to be a terrific lot. Hondo-P!
How to understand
Words that skate across the mind
But leave no impact?