March 30, 2023
Urban Dictionary Definitions of 21st Century Words

It seems like within these past few years, new words have been redefined or added to the English vernacular. Words such as yolo, swag, ratchet, and trolling have gained popularity and become a part of Hills West students’ vocabulary.

The origin of yolo is a song by Drake called “The Motto.”  Ever since the song gained popularity, the abbreviation-turned-word has become a phenomenon. The word simply stands for “you only live once,” which instills a reckless feeling within teenagers. Any time you don’t feel like doing your homework, want to do a back flip off a table, or simply not brush your teeth, you can utter those words of motivation. To junior Jamal Starling, the word “is true to an extent” and is something that he would use as encouragement “to reach any goal and have an exciting experience.”

The word ratchet is another word for busted, or ghetto. It is definitely not a word that you want your name next to because it is used as an insult. “It is mean for kids to refer to another student as ratchet because they could really take offense to it. I hear it used at least twenty times a day,” said junior Lizbi Bosua. The word ratchet has its own music video, created by Emmanuel and Phillip Hudson.  This popular and hilarious video has millions of views on Youtube. The word is derived from the French word rochet meaning a bobbin or spindle. The term first came on the scene in the eighties, was in circulation in the ninties and is now a commonly used word of today.

Swag actually came on the scene in the fifteenth century in Scotland, from the word swagger, which was a certain way people walked. The word took on a slightly different meaning when it came to the United States. It is now used in terms of how to describe the way someone looks and how they carry themselves. Senior Sal Lovaglio commented, “Swag may come off as cockiness to others, but as an athlete it’s just confidence.” Senior Krissy Spinelli agreed, “Swag is just the way people carry themselves.”

Another popular word that you may hear is trolling.  A person can also be described as a troll, and trolling is when a person cleverly tries to insult someone. Senior Chris Reyes explained, “It’s when people try to be funny by being annoying. The people in our school love to troll.”  Trolling often involves heavy sarcasm. The verb to troll originally came from the French word troller which is a hunting term. Also it could come from the word troler which can be found in the French-English dictionaries which means to drag or lead someone about.

These words are not just a part of our daily vocabulary, but they are also defining our generation. Back in the day there were words like wack, hip, far out, and fresh, which made up the slang of that era.  As time goes on, more and more words will be added to daily vernacular, and eventually these words that we know now will be things our grandchildren might find strange.  However, for now, these words have certainly made their mark, and aren’t going to fade away any time soon.