8 Words You Wouldn’t Know If It Weren’t for Generation X

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People tend to forget about Generation X. We’re nestled between the Baby Boomers, who hate everyone and everything and are sure that young people are ruining the world, and Millennials – the world’s scapegoat.

And listen, we kind of like it that way. We were a generation of latchkey kids, and if there’s one thing we know for sure, life is a lot better when no one is paying attention to you.

Even if you’ve forgotten about us, though, there’s a good chance you’ll never forget these 8 words (that you can totally thank us for, if you want).

8. Trippin’

If you’re “trippin'” you’re acting like a fool, you’re too excited, or your overly bothered by something that the other person considers trivial.

The slang, which originated in the 1980s, appears to have originally been related to a psychedelic drug trip. You’ll hear it used as early as the 1990s in music, especially in rap songs by the likes of Dre (and later, SZA and Drake).

7. Chill Pill

If you need to take a chill pill, you’re overreacting or way too stressed out. It (metaphorically) calms you down, but yes, riffs off the idea that you can take medicine to relax.

A bit older, but also applicable, phrase would be ‘chill out.’

6. Rock

If you rock, you’re excellent, awesome, or otherwise totally cool.

The slang has its origins in rock ‘n’ roll music and alludes to the rocking pac and forth that occurs during dancing. As you know, rock ‘n’ roll is hip and sexy, and so are you, if you rock.

5. Gnarly

If you’re from Gen X, you know that “gnarly,” means “intense” or “awesome” – even though it technically means “bent” or “twisted.”

The mystery is solved in surfing slang, where “gnarly” meant “challenging” or “frightening,” and since slang specializes in turning bad things into good things, there you go.

What’s funny is that “gnarly” can still mean bad – like “gross,” but you know, in a good way.

4. Dude

The word “dude” has been around since the 1800s, but where it originally meant “a man excessively concerned with his clothes, grooming, and manners,” now, it’s totally gender-neutral, and can be used as anything, from a greeting to a standalone exclamation.

It’s thought to have originally been shortened from “doodle,” which was old slang for “fool.”

3. Diss

This word, short for “disrespect,” means to insult someone (or treat them with disrespect). Rappers have made “diss tracks” to clap back at someone for insulting them.

2. To the max

This one might have been a bit early for Gen X – early to mid 1970s – but it for sure took off in the 80s. It’s just kind of a cool way to end a sentence with a bit of extra oomph.

1. Hella

This word gets around – it can be an adverb (“very,” “extremely”) or an adjective (“many,” “much”).

It’s probably shortened from “helluva,” and is recorded in the early 1980s. It’s origins are in black culture, and then skateboarding and headbanging culture.

Where are my fellow Gen Xers? Xennials? It’s nice to see you, friends!

What’s your favorite memory of being Gen X? Let’s reminisce in the comments!