Recently I had to ask a co-worker what “dank” meant, and if it’s a good thing. He had recently described something as dank. I understood from his context that he didn’t mean “cold and musty.”
He laughed, “Where’d you hear that word?”
“You just said it,” I explained. “So, is it good?”
“Yeah, it’s very good,” he told me. “It’s a stoner term you know. Stoners say that things are dank.”
Uh, remember when I just said you used the term?
Oh, yeah, bro. The dankness overwhelmeth me.
The rest of the night, I was sure to be marginally annoying by referring to things as Dank. “These new pastries are very good. In fact, I’d go so far as to describe them as dank. They are supreme in their dankness.”
Stuff being dank doesn’t work when you’re in your forties, kids.
At some point I got old. I don’t know when it happened. I remember when things were radical, awesome, bitchen, tubular, even gnarley (which was both good and bad at one point. Now I think it’s evolved to surfer talk for only bad). I survived copasetic, bodacious and cool. Fab, boss, funky, groovy, tight, The sixties had far out, and outta sight. My opinion: they were worried about not seeing stuff in the sixties, so they used lots of drugs, which led to sex, which led to radical kids (they never were all that radical), which led to to dank grandchildren. Hip (hep), neat (neat-o) and keen (keen-o) were a bit before my time but I may have used them, once in awhile. Aces? Snazzy? My Granny Spurgeon used to say snazzy. So was swell. I make sure to use them all because I don’t want anybody to know how old I am by my language.
I’ve heard killer, “the shit”, “the bomb,” “the shit bomb”. Some good things are actually bad. Michael Jackson tells us he’s “bad, I’m bad… you know it. OOO!” So how do we know anymore? I wouldn’ be surprised if some kid eventually comes up to me and says “That hat is the explosive diarrhea!” and it’s actually a good thing.
By the way–if you say you’re apt to say “killer” or “I’m the bomb,” or “I’m radical,” I’d recommend not using slang if you happen to be going through an airport security line.
How about fly, chill, crunk, sweet, insane, dope, crazy, wicked? Are these words off the hook or what? Oooh! Off the hook. Different than off the rack, which is definitely not off the hook.
I had a professer (Norman Arnesen, if anybody is wondering) use the term “the bee’s knees” in conversation with a totally straight face. Cat’s pajamas anyone? What about the cat’s meow? Killer diller?
Why does it mean one thing if you say “you’re the shit,” and another if you say “you’re shit?” And what about puncutation? If you say “your shit” you need a verb. Stinks comes to mind.
I have also noticed modifiers–all of them are variations on “very”… Hella, hecka, mega, epic, mongo, leet, über, –that’s a good one. We have a dearth of words in English with umlauts. Ever notice, by the way, that the word umlaut doesn’t have an umlaut? I think there should be an ANSI code so I can type an umlaut-N for every time I reference the movie Spinal Tap. Granted, this is the first time, ever, I’ve referenced the movie Spinal Tap.
We also have très, super, ultra, you know… comic book superhero terms. Make you own! Mix and match. Norm Arnesen should have said “That seminar was ‘hella-the bees’ knees’.” Best super hero name ever!
So, I may not be dank, but I know people who are.
Which words do you find yourself using? Are you stuck in a decade?