From rad to raw, and from hip to hoot, teen slang has evolved into a language that is almost incomprehensible to all—except, of course, for the teen demographic. Although this generation’s parents may have used words like wicked and groovy, teens these days are getting much more creative with their language. Raw, hoot, sick and, most recently, YOLO are funky, unconventional terms that have been integrated into our vocabulary because of common usage and popularity. But what makes these words so prevalent in our conversations, and when are the appropriate times to use them?
Raw and sick are two terms that, in the English language, are synonymous to the words cool and awesome. “I use [the word] raw because it’s a good way of referring to beastly athletes and people in those fields, but I only use it to refer to those people,” junior Sarah Klem said. Hoot, which originally was meant to define the howling or calling of an owl, is now a substitute for stupid and dumb. Who decided that hoot would have a new definition? No one really knows.
The term YOLO has gained stature within Gunn vocabulary, but unlike other words, YOLO is actually an acronym for “you only live once.” It is most commonly used as a justified excuse to get away with various things, such as: Not doing my homework today, YOLO! Jay-walking across University, YOLO!
YOLO’s popularity makes sense to a certain level, because it is a line in Drake’s song, “The Motto,” but interestingly enough, it is extremely difficult to trace the origin of these terms, despite their prevalent use around school and town. How did anyone concoct the term sick to mean awesome, and hoot to mean stupid? Hoot, raw, sick and YOLO are terms that are so accepted and established on campus that no one seems to think about the ironic, sometimes oxymoronic meanings of the terms.
Naturally, these terms do not appeal to everyone as only some choose to put these words into use. “Raw is a descriptor of uncooked food, often used as a colloquialism for ‘good,’” senior Alex Baker said. These words are almost like social stepping stones. One must know not only what they mean, but how and when to use them. “I would say that the type of people that use these terms are generally those who are not right on the pulse of pop culture, but those who hear them used by their friends and therefore think [the terms] are cool,” Klem said.
—Lee, a junior, is an Entertainment Editor