Do You Know ‘80s Slang?

It’s hard to believe that the neon-inspired decade of the 1980s started 40 years ago, but it has been a while since “Dynasty” and “The Dukes of Hazzard” were on television.

If you’re just a fan of the newest season of “Stranger Things” or you actually remember when Def Leppard and Duran Duran were dominating the airwaves, you’ll be able to remember these righteous phrases.

What does the word “radical” mean?

  • Greasy
  • Cool
  • Lame
  • Smart

Also shortened to just “rad,” radical was a common term in the ‘80s to be used by skaters and preps alike. Used in a sentence, “Your haircut looks totally radical!”

What does the phrase “gag me with a spoon” mean?

  • I’m hungry
  • Call a doctor
  • That’s gross
  • I’m not hungry

Sometimes also used to express disappointment or disapproval, it is similar to the older phrase “gag a maggot.” Used in a sentence, “I can’t believe you’re wearing that shirt! Gag me with a spoon.”

What does the phrase “eat my shorts” mean?

  • A threat
  • A compliment
  • Wear something expensive
  • Donate food

The phrase was coined by Harvard college students, but popularized later by Bart Simpson. Used in a sentence, “You’re not gonna win the match, you can eat my shorts!”

What does the word “gnarly” mean?

  • Someone tall
  • Something tasty
  • Someone short
  • Something good or bad

The word gnarly can be used to describe something exceedingly good or bad, depending on how you say it. Used in a sentence, “Ew, that scab looks gnarly.”

What does the phrase “what’s your damage” mean?

  • What happened to your car?
  • What’s the matter with you?
  • What is your dog’s name?
  • Who are your parents?

This phrase originated from the 1988 movie “Heathers” and it is basically another way of saying “what’s wrong with you?” Used in a sentence, “How could you do that? What’s your damage?”

What does the phrase “grody to the max” mean?

  • Photogenic
  • Yummy
  • Disgusting
  • Handsome

If something is gross, you can just say grody. But to add some extra oomph to what you’re saying, add ‘to the max.’ Used in a sentence, “The trash can smells so bad, it’s grody to the max!”

What does the word “tubular” mean?

  • Awesome
  • Spherical
  • Technological
  • Yellow

This phrase was first used in the ‘70s by surfers to describe ocean waves. Used in a sentence, “Woah, your new bike is totally tubular!”

What does the word “righteous” mean?

  • Justified
  • Rude
  • Perfect
  • Smart

Righteous can be used to describe something that is great beyond reproach. Used in a sentence, “We just saw the new Batman movie and it was righteous.”

What does the word “motor” mean?

  • To move quickly
  • To talk quickly
  • To buy a car
  • To wreck a car

The word motor as used in the ‘80s meant to do something quickly. As used in the movie “Heathers,” “Great paté, but I gotta motor if I want to be ready for that party tonight.”

What does the phrase “no duh” mean?

  • You’re smart
  • That’s obvious
  • A dog command
  • You can’t have one

According to Green’s Dictionary of Slang, duh is a grunt of incomprehension implying that the first speaker is stupid. Used in a sentence, “Astronauts have traveled to the moon.” “No duh.”

What does the word “psych” mean?

  • Kidding!
  • I can see your future
  • Look over there!
  • I like your outfit

This phrase indicates a “gotcha” moment or negates whatever was said prior. Used in a sentence, “I like your tie, Dad. Psyche! I think it looks weird.”

What does the phrase “where’s the beef” mean?

  • He’s weak
  • This is delicious
  • This is lacking
  • She’s strong

This term was coined by a brilliant Wendy’s advertisement as a jab against its competitors’ burgers. Used in a sentence, “This song is okay, but where’s the beef?”

What does the word “bodacious” mean?

  • Body builder
  • Attractive
  • Smart
  • Someone who plays music

This phrase was typically used to compliment physical beauty. Used in a sentence, “That girl at the beach yesterday was so bodacious.”

What does the phrase “veg out” mean?

  • To garden
  • To study
  • To eat healthy
  • To do nothing

To veg out meant to do a whole lot of nothing, like sitting on the couch and staring into space. Used in a sentence, “After school I’m just gonna veg out and watch some cartoons.”

What does the word “phat” mean?

  • Ugly
  • Cool
  • Smells great
  • Heavy

Phat was first coined in the 1950s, but it really gained popularity in the ‘80s and later again when the clothing line Baby Phat was founded in 1999. Used in a sentence, “Those shoes are phat.”

What does the phrase “bag your face” mean?

  • You’re unattractive
  • Get fast food
  • Pack a lunch
  • Buy a purse

This term was meant to literally suggest to someone that they should put a bag over their face. Used in a sentence, “Your lipstick looks so tacky, bag your face!”

What does the term “word” mean?

  • I don’t understand
  • That’s true
  • Repeat yourself
  • Get a dictionary

The word ‘word’ was used as a term of agreement and was usually accompanied by some excitement. Used in a sentence, “I just got the new headphones! Word!”

What does the phrase “have a cow” mean?

  • Freak out
  • Have a baby
  • Eat a burger
  • Eat a hotdog

This phrase was used plenty of times on the series “Full House” and it meant to freak out or display a lot of emotion. Used in a sentence, “Don’t have a cow, I was just joking!”

What does the term “grindage” mean?

  • Food
  • Skateboards
  • Clothing
  • Movies

This term was introduced to the world by ‘80s icon Pauly Shore, who starred in movies like “Encino Man” and “Son in Law.” Used in a sentence, “Do you have anything in the fridge? I’m cruising for some grindage.”

What does the word “bounce” mean?

  • To jump
  • To play soccer
  • To leave
  • To watch a kangaroo documentary

This simple term was used as a replacement for words meaning to leave. Used in a sentence, “This party is so lame, let’s bounce.”

What does the word “wastoid” mean?

  • Someone in space
  • A construction worker
  • Someone under the influence
  • A custodian

This ‘80s term was actually coined by director John Hughes, who used it in his classic teen films. Used in a sentence from “The Breakfast Club,” “Yo wastoid, you’re not going to blaze up in here.”

What does the word “dweeb” mean?

  • Nerd
  • Pop star
  • Tall
  • Lazy

The words dork, dweeb and nerd are all similar and can be used interchangeably. Used in a sentence, “His glasses and backpack make him look like such a dweeb.”

What does the word “heinous” mean?

  • Awesome
  • Bright
  • Disgusting
  • Loud

The term heinous is used to describe anything bad, disgusting or wrong. Used in a sentence, “This song is heinous, turn it off.”

What does the word “jonesing” mean?

  • Repulsing
  • Craving
  • Chilling out
  • To play music

The term jonesing means to have a craving for something. Used in a sentence, “I’m jonesing for something to eat.”

What does the term “ralph” mean?

  • To retch
  • Cool kid
  • To eat
  • Smart kid

This term also found its way into “The Breakfast Club,” as many slang terms in the ‘80s did. Used in a sentence, “The food at lunch makes me want to ralph.”
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