Like is so infinitely malleable that it replaced “um” amongst Valley Girls and served to punctuate every expression, sentence or exclamation. Replying ‘no duh’ to a statement made my another showed that you were way ahead of them when it came to putting things together. “Radical” meant that it was awesome, of course, but also edgy and bold.
In essence, it meant, “What you’re saying is ridiculous,” although it also meant, “What I am witnessing or hearing is totally lame.” The nineties equivalent of this phrase, by the way, is “What-ever!
” The most ubiquitous slang term to have originated in the 80s, like is a word which has managed to go the distance and work its way into the daily vocabulary of every generation of teenager to have been spawned since. The word “duh” had been used to express bewilderment or ignorance since the 70’s, but adding “no” to the front created a sarcastic expression that points out the obvious.
A favorite term for Valley Girls to use when faced with a negative reaction from their posse of friends or when someone is freaking out for no reason.
Totally comes from the same root as righteous, except that it can be applied in far more situations.
Of course, saying “not even” left one open to the insurmountable comeback of “even!
”, which usually stopped the conversation dead in its tracks.
So, here’s the Like Totally 80s run down on 80s slang – your own personal 80s slangionary. Michael Jackson appropriated this term for the title of his 1987 album, but in reality it had been in use since the 1960’s when James Brown proclaimed himself to be “superbad.” The word stayed largely within the African American community throughout the 70’s until the 80’s saw everyone adopt it as their term for describing someone or something that was cooler than the word cool could adequately convey.
Valley girl speak for: “Your face is so unattractive and disturbing to me that I’d like to you wear a paper sack for my own personal comfort.” A totally harsh put-down, one wanted to save it for when it was truly called for.
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Author: Pia Sooney Just a little obsessed with all things 80s, Pia still has her Swatch, her cassette tape collection, and her Converse Chucks.
Gnarly is an interesting piece of 80’s slang that came from surf culture but had its meaning shift over the years.