phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

90s nostalgia.

Posted by ESC on July 12, 2004

I found a few phrases in an article about 90s nostalgia.

RAISING THE ROOF - A dance move. "This was said with both arms positioned over the head, palms flat above with a slight pumping action. You may have to practice this one; it has been awhile..."

CABBAGE PATCH - "The 'Cabbage Patch' was the action of putting your arms in a semicircle in front of you and then pulling everything around in large, exaggerated circles. Again, this one you might have to practice to get right."

CHEST BUMP - "Among the actions people did in the '90s was the chest bump. Most commonly seen among athletes, who would violently bump their chests together in celebration, the chest bump was to the '90s what the high five was to the '70s - only people still do high fives."

L SIGN FOR "LOSER' - ". making an L shape with your thumb and forefinger while calling someone a loser, was that this decade or last decade?"

SCRUNCHIES - Hair adornments used to pull the hair back in a ponytail.

And three we have discussed previously (see below):

WORD - "Another word we said was word. That is not a typo. We said 'word.' To anything and everything. Word. Sometimes it was '... to your mother," other times it was 'up,' or just simply 'Word.' Word."

PHAT - ". which actually stood for 'Pretty Hot and Tempting,' also made it into our lexicon."

MOTHER OF ALL. -- " 'The mother of all ... (fill in the blank).' Example: 'You better come tonight. It's gonna be the mother of all parties!' A proper response might be: 'I'm down with that!'

From "Are you ready for '90s nostalgia? VH1 will look at the decade tonight . but we can't wait" by Melissa Gagliardi, special to The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.) July 12, 2004.

From previous discussions:

PHAT -- "Word History: Phat - Phat at first glance is a virgin slang word, an inventive new superlative (meaning either sexy or cool) conceived of and delivered in the rap idiom of hip-hop culture. In the Fall 1994 issue of 'American Speech,' John and Adele Algeo postulate that 'phat' may have been devised as an acronym for "Pretty Hips And Thighs'; others have speculated that it was drawn from 'physically attractive.' If you forget the cute spelling though, and look at 'fat,' the explanation is probably a lot simpler. Early slang lexicographers B. E. Gent in the 17th century, Francis Grose in the 18th century, and John Camden Hotten n the 19th century all define 'fat' as a slang term for 'rich.' That meaning survives in the 19th century in the slang of gamblers and African-Americans." There is a long section on various published uses of the word as "fat" and "phat." that suggests that "in the early 1990s, 'fat' evolved to 'phat,' but the trail is not all that simple." For example, "an August 2, 1963, article on 'Negro argot' in 'Time,' one finds 'phat' listed as one of several 'adjectives of approval.'" One researcher recorded the use of "phat" in 1973 and didn't see the spelling again until 1981. From "Flappers 2 Rappers: American Youth Slang" by Tom Dalzell (Merriam-Webster Inc., Springfield, Md., 1996). Page 215-215.
WORD!/WORD UP! - "The clever, pithy, and witty interjection played a major role in the speech of young people in the 1970s and 1980s." During that time period, word was "an interjection used when you have nothing of substance to say, or Yes!" In hip-hop and rap slang, Word and Word Up! mean "I agree!" From "Flappers 2 Rappers: American Youth Slang" by Tom Dalzell (Merriam-Webster Inc., Springfield, Md., 1996)
Another reference gives more detail on the origins of this expression. "Word is born! - An affirmative response to a statement or action. Also Word!, Word up!, Word to the Mother! A resurfacing of an old, familiar saying in the Black Oral Tradition, 'Yo word is yo bond,' which was popularized by the Five Percent Nation (formed by former members of the Nation of Islam) in its early years. Word is born! Reaffirms strong belief in the power of the word, and thus the value of verbal commitment. One's word is the guarantee, the warranty, the bond, that whatever was promised will actually occur. 'Born' is a result of the AAF (African-American English) pronunciation of bond." From Black Talk: Words and Phrases from the Hood to the Amen Corner by Geneva Smitherman (Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, N.Y., 1994)
MOTHER OF ALL BATTLES - Originally posted James Briggs on March 28, 2003. The following appeared in the Times of Friday 28 March. I thought it worth copying.
"How to follow the granularity when blues go kinetic" by David Charter, Central Command, Qatar:
"THE war started with 'decapitation,' then switched to 'shock and awe.'. Every campaign spawns its own lexicon and the Iraq conflict will be no exception. Most buzzwords will be common parlance only in the mess, but others will become familiar. The 1991 Gulf War gave us Scuds, one of Iraq's 'weapons of mass destruction.' and Saddam's threatened 'mother of all battles.'

Now we have America's Moab. The massive ordnance airburst bomb, a satellite-guided missile with a mushroom cloud, has been nicknamed the 'mother of all bombs', as if to beat Saddam at his own linguistic game..."

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