Did you ever think about the words we use, where they originated and why we use them? To this day, I cannot understand why we park our cars in a driveway and drive our cars on a parkway. It just doesn't make sense to me.
Slang is a language of its own that changes with every generation. Actually, the words change but the meanings do not. My mother used to shake her head in disgust if I would say, "Are you writing a book?" when she was asking me too many questions. She also thought nothing of referring to money as "dough," but thought it was crazy when I referred to it as "bread."
Today if someone tells you, "don't get knicked out," it just means don't get upset over something, or as we would have said in my generation, "don't have a cow."
If your kids tell you the party was "off the hook," it was a lot of fun or "a real blast." When you hear someone say "late" as they are walking out the door, they are saying goodbye. Remember our "see ya later, alligator"?
If someone is "hooked up," they're having sex. I'm leaving that one alone.
If you hear someone say she won't go out with a guy because he's a "scrub," it doesn't mean he's clean. It means he has no money and lives off others. You don't want your daughter to bring home a scrub.
A friend's daughter told me her "kicks" cost her $150. I won't tell you what I thought she meant. I found out later that "kicks" are shoes.
It's important to note that "kicks" are different than "kick," which means out of style. Which is totally different than what "kick" meant to me. Remember "I get a kick out of you?"
If you have a "slammin" sandwich, it's "really good."
"Knickers" are underwear, "popo" is police, "dawg" is friend and "chop chop" is hurry up. "Jabroni" is a big-time loser. If you exchange "digits," you exchange phone numbers and if you give someone a "shout out," you're saying hi.
And than there are words that haven't changed, but their meanings have. A few weeks ago, I was watching an old movie from the '30s. A young girl who had fallen madly in love came prancing into the kitchen and innocently said, "Oh, mother, I feel so gay this morning." Her mother turns and says, "How lovely, tell me all about it." I could not help but laugh.
Have you ever wondered how certain words came to be? Honeymoon was derived from the practice of the Germanic people of the second century B.C. who drank "hydromel" (honey wine) for 30 days after marriage. Supposedly Attila the Hun drank so much hydromel at his wedding feast that he died.
Sandwich was named after the Earl of Sandwich, a 17th century nobleman who ordered a piece of meat between two slices of bread so as not to have to interrupt another marathon card-playing session.
A reservation is what you make when you know where you want to go, but it is also what you have when you're not sure if you want to go.
But the word I like the best these days is "phat" (pronounced fat). If someone calls you phat -- don't be offended. You're cool. Finally, I have lived long enough to not have to worry about being too phat.
Jacci Reed, a freelance writer, lives in Amherst.