Da Bomb 90's Slang To Add To Your Vocabulary
What enters your mind when you hear about the 90s? We bet different things appear in each head, depending on where you were during that decade. However, even though the 90s were different in different countries, the USA generally influenced the culture of that period. So, everyone wanted to play with Tamagotchis, collect Pokemon cards, listen to the Spice Girls, watch Titanic, and own a poster or a t-shirt with Jack and Rose. Why it seems so nostalgic? Because millennial writes this article.
If you are Gen Z, the 90s for you is full of unapologetic mistakes and might seem cringe in terms of thin brows, weird music, and TV shows. And let's not forget about the language! However, we think that 90's slang was phat. The Internet had just started its path, so 90's phrases came from real life, not social media that were created much later.
The thing is that you can't be so negative about 90's sayings because you might use some of them without realizing it. Want to know what 90's slang words are still alive and kicking? Then read this article. As a bonus, we added a list of the 90's phrases that deserve to be back in use.
The List Of 90's Slang Words People Still Use
The Gen Z lingo is highly on trend, but, unfortunately, or fortunately, it hasn't been incorporated into the minds of the older generation on TikTok to the point where they don't use their beloved 90's slang words anymore. However, some of the catchphrases from the 90s are still catchy enough to stick with its generation even a couple of decades later. Why? Because they are that good, sis! Below you will find 90's words that people still use.
"Whenever, whenever, we're meant to be together…." Oops, it's not 90's slang. Let us finish the song, and we will go to the point. *singing*
So, "whatever" is a passive-aggressive, as one may say (we are not one of them) response that means that you are no longer interested in keeping up with a conversation. Also, this 90's slang can be understood as "whatever will be will be."
The word became popular among people in the 1990s who were raised watching the 70s TV show All in the Family. The character Archie Bunker used "whatever" a lot to indicate that he was done dealing with his wife.
"Trippin'" is one of those 90's terms that has always been in use, just not as often as back in the day. It means to behave crazy or irrationally. The term became popular in the West Coast gang culture of the 1990s. People started using it as slang after Dr. Dre used it in his hit song "Nothin' but a G Thang" in 1992.
Yada-yada-yada doesn't even feel like a 90's saying. People got used to this slang after more than two decades of using it. Yada-yada-yada is a synonym for blah-blah-blah. It is used to skip some parts of the story to get to the main point faster. The phrase was popularized by a 90's tv show called Seinfeld.
The movie Clueless gave us one of the top 90's slang we still use. And that is "my bad," which means you are sorry for doing something wrong. To be honest, this phrase wasn't originated in the 90s. It comes from the 70s. Nonetheless, people loved it at that era, so "my bad" always will be a 90's baby.
You go, girl!
"You go, girl!" is what you should say to your best friend, whatever crazy thing she decides to do. This 90's saying shows you being supportive of your BFF! That's the best encouragement ever! And the history of slang becoming popular is very inspiring. This phrase was first said during the show "Martin" in the 90s. The character Martin Lawrence tried to show approval and cheer up his girlfriend, Gina, by saying, "You go, girl!" What a sweet man!
This slang word is a combination of two words that hadn't been put together until 1992 or so. A "buzz" means an atmosphere of excitement or fun often caused by drinking alcohol. So, naturally, the buzzkill is something or someone that ruins such a great state or feeling. 90s folks loved this slang so much that one MTV prank show got its name. Don't be a buzzkill, let people have the best time of their lives.
"Who wants the last slice of pizza?" "Dibs!" If you want to claim something is yours, the fastest way to do it would be just saying "dibs." That hasn't changed since the 90s. There is no alternative for that charming 90's slang word.
"Dibs" originated from an old children's game, "Dibstones," where the verb "dib" means "to dab" or "to pat." However, it's not absolutely clear how the slang word got the meaning "claim" from the game. It allowed one player to take privileges from other players if the dibs (small objects like pebbles or knucklebones) went a certain way.
TOP 90's Catch Phrases That Deserve To Come Back
If fashion trends have the audacity to come back, so should the slang. After decades of being forgotten, some of the 1990's slang words should get back to English learners' vocabularies. Of course, not every 90's phrase rocks, but some are hidden gems. So let's observe what slang from the 90s should be poppin' again.
Talk to the hand
This 90's phrase made its first appearance in a Wyoming newspaper advertisement in 1996. The cartoon character from the ad, which was dressed as a cowboy, was asking people to vote, holding out his palm and saying: "If you don't vote, talk to the hand because the face does not understand." "Talk to the hand" was used to let someone know that you will not listen to them anymore since you don't like what the person is saying. Omg, we all totally deserve this 90's phrase to be back in our lives. These days people express many unnecessary opinions, both online and offline, so "talk to the hand" would be a perfect response to any unsolicited comment.
So sue me!
We hope it's no secret that suing in the US is something people do more often than buying real estate. You can see people being warned almost in every tv show. Just one wrong saying and you can be sued.
The phrase "so sue me" means that a person did something wrong, but another person can't do anything about it. There won't be any consequences for their actions, so they can do whatever they want. People use this phrase in response to criticism of their immoral or illegal activity to show that they don't care.
"So sue me" became one of the 90's slang phrases when there was a boom of legal litigations against big corporations. For example, one of the most famous cases of that time is McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit. A 79-year-old woman spilled McDonald's coffee on her lap and got significant burns. So, to cover her medical bills, the lady sued Mcdonald's and got almost $600 000. After that case, the restaurant chain changed the temperature of their drinks.
Why do we want this phrase to be back? It's fun to shout it.
Da bomb / the bomb
If you are sick of the words "awesome" or "great" and looking for an excellent synonym, say "da bomb / the bomb." You can hear this phrase said by a lead character in Spike Lee's movie Clockers in 1995. However, the term was defined officially only a year earlier in the book "Black Talk: Words and Phrases from the Hood to the Amen Corner" by Geneva Smitherman.
We can't speak for everyone, but we miss a short "sup?" for "what's up?" It was the greatest thing that people could come up with. Why? If you are asking that, you must be a Gen Z kid because millennials remember the struggle of typing with the old cells. It was a time-consuming and effortful process. God bless modern technology and smartphones! Nonetheless, we'd like to keep this phrase around for the mood regardless of progress.
Merging two words in one has always been a great source of slang terms. Today, you can hear "chillax" from every corner. However, there is one merged word among 90's slang terms. And that is "crunk," which is a synergy of "crazy" and "drunk." The term means to be fun, excited, or full of energy. It seems that the lack of this 90's slang in our vocabularies seriously affects our lives! So, let's bring it back!
Eat My Shorts
As true fans of the popular TV series The Simpsons, we must bring back to life one of the most iconic 90's phrases of all times – "eat my shorts." That's a catchphrase of Bart Simpson. It means you don't care about the person's opinion. Also, it can be a synonym to "f*** yourself." Anyways, "eat my shorts" is an insulting term that shows the real attitude.
Who's your daddy?
You may remember the phrase "Who's your daddy?" from the iconic TV show How I Met Your Mother. Burney Stinson loved to say it as a pickup line in the bar. However, it is actually one of the 90's phrases. Sports journalists loved to use "Who's your daddy?" in the 1990s as a joke to ridicule an opponent. The saying means to claim dominance over someone. So, we need to start a TikTok trend with this phrase. ASAP!
90's slang used to initiate leaving a situation is "dip." Americans love to keep it short to seem cool, so saying leave in the 90s had to be expressed with another word. How the word "dip" arose in the first place is still unknown. However, we know that it came from a 90's black community.
There is nothing better than a good phrase for disagreeing punchy manner. The 90's slang for expressing strong disagreement is "as if." It's another term popularized by the movie Clueless that was realized in 1995. The best definition for "as if" could be "I very much doubt it." When people say it, they let you know something is impossible, in their opinion.
90's Sayings And Quotes That Became Iconic
Not only 90s was a great decade in terms of slang, but those ten years also left an indelible mark on cinematographs. Thanks to the 90's screenwriters, we can enjoy the timeless quotes that remain relevant after all these years. Here are some of the most inspiring 90's saying and quotes from the movies.
"Keep the change, ya filthy animal." – Home Alone (1990)
"Hasta la vista, baby." – Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)
"I'm having a good time . . . not." – Wayne's World (1992).
"You're killin' me, Smalls." – The Sandlot (1993)
"Oh, look. Another glorious morning. Makes me sick!" – Hocus Pocus (1993).
"Hakuna Matata. It means no worries." – The Lion King (1994).
"Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get." – Forrest Gump (1994)
"To infinity... and beyond!" – Toy Story (1995)
"Show me the money!" – Jerry Maguire (1996)
"I'm the king of the world!" – Titanic (1997)
"Now that's some high-quality H2O." – The Water Boy (1998)
"The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club." – Fight Club (1999).
"You don't always have to be who they want you to be, you know." – 10 Things I Hate About You (1999).
"Don't let anyone, ever, make you feel like you don't deserve what you want." – 10 Things I Hate About You (1999).
"Good. I'm looking for the least possible amount of responsibility." – American Beauty (1999).
Movies And Series To Watch For More 90's Phrases
If you got to this point and still are thirsty for 90's sayings and phrases, you need to binge some iconic TV shows from that era. Believe it or not, there are other phat series, except Friends. And here are some of them:
- Twin Peaks
- The Simpsons
- The X-Files
- Sex and the City
- Beverly Hills, 90210
- Law & Order
- South Park
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Kenan & Kel
How To Learn 90's Slang With Promova
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For instance, you can start learning English with Promova by dipping your toes into our mobile app. We provide our users with bite-sized lessons that positively influence their English skills. To learn a new set of themed words, you just need to dedicate 5 to 20 minutes a day to playing around with our cute and adorable flashcards and manuals. Also, you can learn more about grammar and pronunciation in short video lessons from true professionals. Just take a quick test, and you will get a personalized guided experience in the Promova app. We have classes for all proficiency levels.
If live interaction is the most convenient and effective format for you to learn, then you might be interested in the Promova tutoring programs. We offer group courses and individual training for any level and goal. So, you are free to choose the best option for you and start improving your English skills at any moment. With certified English tutors on Promova, you can create a personalized learning plan and explore desirable topics in English. For instance, if you are interested in learning more about 90's slang, we recommend you take a lesson with American English Tutor. They will shed some light on what else was popular in the epoch of Britney Spears.
As a bonus, you can get more speaking practice in the Promova free conversation club. Students who know English at level B1 or above gather together every week to make their brains switch to English. During the meetings, you can transfer your passive vocabulary into active, practice the use of grammar and accent and learn new stuff from your classmates and tutor. That's a perfect place for popularizing 90's slang again.
In addition, remember to follow Promova on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook and read our blog. Those sources will boost your English even more, making you fluent faster. We are driven with the same goal, honey.
Keeping up with all the slang in English might be a challenge, especially if that words and phrases are no longer used. However, being aware of the 90's slang will help you understand movies, tv shows, songs, and culture of that vivid colors era. This article gave you a quick look at the most used back in the 1990's slang and some saying that can be relevant today. Your vocabulary expanded with more than 20 phrases from the 90s. Now, you won't feel lost in the company of English-speaking millennials when they feel nostalgic about the good old days.
Where did the 90's sayings come from?
The Internet has become a powerful source of modern slang in the past couple of decades. However, popular music, politics, and movies are usual sources for slang words. The slang words from the 90s were no exceptions and formed from these initial three sources. Popular 90's songwriters and artists contributed to American slang in the 90s by using street lexicon in their songs. After listening to a good track, people would pick up 90's catchphrases from it and turn them into slang. Then, the words and phrases were used because of movies and series.
Would modern kids understand you if you use 90's slang words?
The truth is that the generation gap in terms of the lexicon in general and slang words, in particular, is giant today. For instance, millennials struggle to fully understand Zoomers with all the vocabulary generated over the past decades because of the influence of social media. Nonetheless, keeping themselves updated with Gen Z slang helps 90's kids to fit in better and feel they belong. The same thing happened with the modern generation understanding 90's words. If they are fans of the 90's culture, especially movies and series, they will understand some of the slang from the 90s. However, Zoomers won't use those words and phrases in their active vocabulary. It will be buried in modern kids' minds for a long time as something they were exposed to but couldn't operate with. Watch a fun video of the kids trying to guess the meaning of the 90's slang terms with their parents.
How did people say cool in the 90s?
To define something as cool, kids from the 90s would use a specific 1990's slang, "phat." This term comes from African American hip-hop slang that originated in the late 80s. For example, this respelling of the word fat was used to describe "sexiness in a woman." Later, in 1992, it became a part of the typical 90's lingo. Nowadays, people won't use "phat" to describe something as cool. Instead, Gen Z prefers to use the word "lit." In the article Gen Z Vocabulary: How Not To Sound Old, you can learn more about the modern lexicon.
What was the most popular 90's slang word?
It's impossible to say what was the most popular 90's slang word. Nobody has done any research on that topic. Nonetheless, we can try to guess and share our assumptions. In our opinion, the top 90's phrase could be "the bomb," which means "awesome" or "great." People had been using it a lot in the 90s. What can we say? Folks always need a good slang word as a synonym for "great."