No matter when you grew up — if you ever did — 80s slang words can greatly enhance your vocabulary and make you seem much more sophisticated and engaging than you really are.
But in order to reap those benefits, you have have to use the gnarly words in the right way.
And that can be tough without definitions, especially for younger generations who many have no idea about the associated connotations.
We can help with all that.
In that spirit, here are some of the best 80s slang words, translated so even Millennials can understand.
Despite how the word sounds to uninitiated ears, “phat” means cool, excellent, righteous.
It can even mean sexy or hot in the right context … quite the opposite of what you might think on first hearing.
There are even some who claim that phat is an acronym that stands for “pretty hot and tempting.”
As in, “that pizza is phat!”, I suppose.
For Millennials, “thicc” and “thirst trap” share some tendencies with “phat” — seemingly negative terms with more positive connotations.
Dank works well, too.
Grody to the Max
This is a totally bitchin’ phrase that portrays the color of the 80s like few others.
In a nutshell, “grody to the max” is used to indicate that something is just too hideous to even consider … it’s an abomination … just thinking about it will make you gag.
Often used to describe the idea of dating a certain supposedly undesirable boy in school or maybe, like, helping your family put up the Christmas tree.
Thing is, “grody to the max” is so strong that it often takes on an air of “methinks she doth protest too much.”
So, in movies, the hot girl sometimes ends up with the grody-to-the-max boy.
And that grody-to-the-max family outing sometimes comes to the rescue when a valley girl’s clique expels her for some indiscretion, like not using enough mousse.
For Millennials, “grody to the max” is pretty much the feeling you get when you think about your parents and their overbearing rules … or about moving out of their house.
Deriving from surf culture, “bitchin'” is pretty simple in its meaning — awesome, wicked (the good kind), terrific, splendid.
Anything that’s bitchin’ is definitely worth your time, and you’re likely to really enjoy partaking in whatever it has to offer.
You do have to be careful with bitchin’ because it’s not really politically correct here in the 21st century, but then, that goes for pretty much everything we loved in the 80s.
And if you modify bitchin’ to any degree, you’re asking for trouble.
Replace the apostrophe with a “g,” for example, and you’re toast.
Add a “quit your” in front, and you’re going to have to explain yourself.
For Millennials, just know that “bitchin'” is right there at the top of the coolness meter, maybe even lit.
A typical response when someone told you something you already knew, or considered obvious.
“You would get better grades if you studied more.”
“No duh, Grandma.”
Often used defensively when you actually didn’t know the obvious thing but didn’t want to look even more stupid …
“Uh … legwarmers are for girls.”
“No duh!” Looks around to see if anyone else is watching. “I’m just holding them for my sister.” Looks around again. Bends down. Rolls legwarmers off of legs, over feet — wads them up on the floor.
For Millennials, “no duh” is the general attitude you assume when older people come near with our stupid, redundant crap.
Roughly the same as “no duh” — “no doy” was developed to sidestep parent objections and controls.
Many Baby Boomers, it seems, took offense to the sarcastic and (allegedly) disrespectful tone of phrases like “no duh” and banned their use.
“No doy” was a natural mutation of the phrase to keep our sass alive and avoid parental detection.
For Millennials, “no doy” serves up the same sort of obfuscation as “thirsty” or “turnt.”
What’s Your Damage?
You would think this might be related to a dinner bill or an insurance claim, but no … it’s much more sarcastic than that.
I mean, we’re talking about the 80s here.
Basically, “what’s your damage” is trying to show you how ridiculous you are for thinking a certain way, or for acting a certain way.
You know, like only really damaged people could do crap like that.
The Millennial equivalent is a certain variant of “bruh.”
Not the one where Dog Chapman is trying to make you feel some camaraderie — “I’m here for you, bruh. I’ll help you get right.”
More the one where the beatnik barista chides you for breaking the earth. “Bruh! Did you really just throw that napkin away? Landfills are teeming, bruh.”
“Totally” means completely, or the fullest extent. In 80s parlance, totally takes on a mostly positive connotation … totally rad, totally tubular, totally bichin’.
Of course, totally is a real adverb, too, so you can use it for bad crap if you want — totally messed up, totally f*#%ed, totally Ishtar.
For Millennials … totally roughly translates as “AF.”
As in, “your dad may be old, but he’s still tubular AF.”
We can’t be this site and not address “omigod!” … right?
Right. It’s what we’re built around.
So, “omigod” is a contraction/elision beast and bastardization of the phrase “Oh, my God!”. So, yeah, “omigod” is used to express disbelief of some form or another.
But “omigod” just may be the most versatile of all the slang terms on this list. I mean, consider some possible uses and connotations …
- Omigod, did you see what Lisa did to her hair?
- Omigod! Jake just asked me to the homecoming dance.
- Omigod! That algebra test was so hard.
- Omigod! My dad is going to kill me!
- Do you even workout, dude? Like, omigod!
And the list goes on and on and on.
Generally associated with the Valley Girl chic of the era, “omigod” can be and has been expanded for adoption by just about every sort of clique you could ever imagine.
I mean, did you *hear* how many people are saying it? Like … omigod!
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