A Mean Introduction
If you don’t know where this quote is from you are actively missing out on one of the pillars of mid-2000s cultural literacy. Now, since Saturn is in retrograde, my Capricorn self is feeling benevolent. I'll give people still in the dark another clue, an easier one at that.
If you still don’t know the movie I’m referencing, close this browser, delete your social media accounts (you're not deserving), and open your favorite streaming service. Watch “Mean Girls.” Consider it part of your introduction to mid-aughts culture. The movie is iconic; the limit of the memes do not exist.
The two quotes I featured from "Mean Girls" are examples of neologisms or newly created words or expressions in language. In "Mean Girls", Gretchen Wieners (whose father invented toaster strudel) uses the word ‘fetch’ as an alternative to cool. Ultimately, Regina George repeatedly shuts Gretchen down. Regina George btw is the Queen B who fell from grace by a plan orchestrated by new girl Cady and friends gets hit by a bus only to return to prom looking amazing despite wearing a ginormous back brace (this is the entire plot of the movie fyi sorry).
Fetch never happened and the word, like Lindsay Lohan's career, died with the movie. Side note - I tried to make fetch happen in high school, but was shut down by my friends who thought they were Queen B's pero like even the teachers knew the truth.
"Grool" is a portmanteau of great and cool. True fans know the context where Cady Heron says the unfortunate word. Two words: Aaron Samuels. One date: October 31st. As you can imagine the moment is as awkward as the word sounds.
Neologisms fascinate me because they represent linguistic evolution instigated and fueled by sociocultural change. As the world around us evolves, so too do the words we use to describe it. Some of these new words become permanent features of our language and before long, people don’t question the validity of a new word as part of our lexicon. Take the words xerox or kleenex for example. These words, derived from the companies that made these products, have slowly become standalone words in their own right. Google and uber have the same origin story and have underwent the same entrenchment in our vocabulary.
As a lover of linguistic evolution, I’m interested in how new language evolves and matures. Language lives and breathes, and when societies and people change, language changes as well. Okurrr (thanks Cardi B). Take the phrase thirst trap for example. In the "Mean Girls" era, the phrase thirst trap would make zero sense OR if you were from the hood could refer to those trash 50 cent sodas sold in bodegas. My friends and I would buy them because we were broke, but the sodas were the thirstiest of traps. After finishing a bottle, you felt even more parched because of the 100% artificial ingredients, including my favorite Red Dye 40.
PS: Shoutout to my elementary school friend, Ricardo, who refused to drink these sodas because he was convinced they were part of the white man's plan to sterilize black and Latino boys in the hood. As fifth graders, most of us were just tryna play tag during recess and collect Pokémon cards, but Ricardo was out here spewing conspiracy theories. He was truly ahead of his time. Turns out this rumor had legs around the country: link.
In the age of Instagram and Twitter, we have a different understanding of thirst trap. The phrase describes a strategy of posting appealing shots of yourself to the masses...for attention. And if you’re really about that life, you send thirst trap photos to specific people to incite maximal thirst.
There are many examples of language evolving and morphing in this new age. We “follow/unfollow”, “friend/unfriend”, google, and DM. We tag, we venmo, we have favs, and we @ (at) haters. All these are neologisms born out of our current moment in time.
When thinking about neologisms, I reflect on activities, feelings, and encounters that commonly occur, but we don't yet have the words to succinctly describe them. Because I'm a Capricorn and Saturn is living her best life in retrograde, instead of waiting around for them to pop up, I said, lemme create my own. (Btw, I'm not into astrology, just really into the word retrograde)
I present to you 'New Word, Who Dis', a Wahala Jr. created list of words that don't exist yet, but totally should. They're organized by three categories: Tech Communication, Er'Day Living, and Current Events, and I promise they're totally fetch.
Category Is: Tech Communication
The number of platforms we use talk to one another has proliferated in recent years. There are the OG platforms: text, email, phone call. And new platforms driven by the rise of social media: Facebook messenger, Whatsapp, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumblr (for the cool kids), GroupMe, Slack (for the disgruntled professionals), and insert new app that GenZ and their face-tatted Soundcloud rappers use.
Here are some new words born out of this new and wild frontier.
igrend: A person you aren’t friends with, but you know the details of their entire life from Instagram
wahboutme: The feeling when you write in a group thread and no one responds, and then someone else writes something that garners lots of response, maybe laughter, ultimately leaving your comment completely ignored, so you start questioning the strength of your relationships and your relevance to the group
textgnore (level 1): responding with a ‘k’ or ‘lol’ to convey that you either don’t care for the text or are low-key angry
textgnore (level 2): purposefully and pettily ignoring a text to prove a point or convey dismissal
textgnore (level 3): leaving a text on read with no intention to respond. This is the most savage level of textgnore. I would question the nature of your relationship if this repeatedly happens
commshame: the low key feeling of shame when you read a message, text, email and don't respond right then and there. But then you forget to actually respond and are reminded weeks later by the person who follows up with "did you read my text" OR "following up on the email below"
commswerve: when you see someone in real life before responding to their message and now you have to decide whether to bring up your neglect or act like there's no outstanding communication between the two of you
chatquaintance: someone you’re on the same group chat with but you aren’t close to, and yet you have a solid sense of their personality and their life
lovestalk: to like someone’s old pictures and statuses on social media as a way to let them know you like them
Side note: People need to stop doing this. Notifications are not the way to a person's heart. Venmo is (#scammerlessons)
sarahsand: lying to someone proudly and unashamedly, knowing full well the other person knows you’re lying, and yet you still don't care because deep down you know you're trash and have sold yourself to nefarious forces
Example sentence: All the White House Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders, does is sarahsand.
TCF (three-convo friend): a friend that you have ongoing conversations with on at least 3 different platforms
Anecdote: I have friends that I talk to on gchat, private text message, group message, private IG thread, and group IG thread. You would think it's too much, but the nature of our conversations occupy different niches on these platforms #socialecology
SMF (social media friend): a friend you have robust communication with on social media, but barely if ever talk or hang out in real life... and you're totally okay with that
subtag: when a shady IG meme calls out foolish behavior and you tag your friend because the meme exactly describes their actions
microchat: a smaller more private groupchat within a larger group chat. Usually microchats contain side commentary on the larger groupchat or people making exclusive plans
Anecdote: I've noticed that the more microchats you're a part of, the more specialized the information that is shared on the microchats become. I also reflect on how the addition of one or two people in a group totally reorganizes the center and focus of a groupchat
Category Is: Er’ Day Living
This life won’t let us choose. Living in society comes with its obvious perks, like not having to farm all your food or fetch water every morning from the local stream 7 miles away barefoot. PS: this is every immigrant parent's mantra. I'm like damn, no one across three continents had shoes during the 1950s -1960s?
There are also downsides like having half the country vote for the former host of celebrity apprentice as president. Still, we find a way to make society work. These words capture some of the magic of er’day living.
ubxiety: the stress of an Uber being 2 minutes away, but you got 5 minutes left to get ready. And now the Uber has arrived, and you’re still getting dressed and you're scared the Uber is gonna leave and you have no one but yourself to blame for your poor micro-time management skills
vrinch: someone who venmos you for every purchase, immediately, and down to the very last cent
Anecdote: Boston friends know that I am about this life. I once venmo-ed people 72 cents for a cake I got for a party. Why? Cuz multiply 72 cents by 14. That is real money. I got flack for it, but you know what, I also got my money. #BBHMM
virlove: the inevitable fondness formed for your voice assisted assistance (Hey google!)
appsnob: when you believe someone is using an app you deem far inferior to your preferred app. For example, when a Spotify user sees a wayward soul using Apple Music. Or if you see anyone using Apple Maps like a barbarian.
frustanet: endlessly battling to sign onto free public wifi at cafés or airports. And then finally connecting only to realize the speed is so slow you don’t dare open up anything but gmail and your favorite news site
voyance: annoyance when you see someone is purposefully videocalling you, so you have to stop what you’re doing and divert all your attention to a Facetime call
aggrostare: passive aggressively staring at people who are playing their music too loudly in what is supposed to be a quiet public space
jomo: ensuing joy upon hearing that an event you couldn’t make wasn’t that fun
stanlove: instantly loving a song or product, but later realizing the song/product are mediocre and the only reason you thought you liked them is because you're a stan
Examples of people squarely in this lane: Tinashe, Adam Sandler movies, anything by the Kardashians
chrischrist: doing something you don’t want to do with the hope that you’ll get a positive return later, only to not get anything in the end
Example: We thought Omarosa was over when she chrischristed onto TeamMaga. Then she released these tapes, and nothing was the same
tiregy: energy state where you’re too tired to continue watching a show, but not too tired to stop the next episode from loading
solohang: the time when you’re by yourself waiting for your crew to arrive and you’re browsing your phone doing nothing particularly important
earnore: wearing headphones to prevent people from speaking to you
Anecdote: Me in lab, on the subway, in planes, at home, in the library...really an overall aesthetic
SWNC (salty with no credibility): when you’re salty but know you have no reason to be because you were given the same opportunities and decided to squander it away on Netflix and nights out (pronounced swank)
checkloader: person who orders a drink and dessert when no one else does and the bill is being split
MCD (music charge dilemma): the choice between charging your phone and listening to music on iPhone 7+ models
melania: when you know you did something wrong but don’t care anyway because you know you won’t get in trouble
Example sentence: After plagiarizing my entire essay from the internet, I've never felt more melania in my life.
Category Is: Current Events
The world is messy, petty, and living for the drama. With the rise of nationalism and the world’s oceans, there is plenty to worry about. These words capture sentiments born out of these geopolitical and social times.
SBM (swamp basura monster): a succinct description of an individual who is unpleasant like a swamp, has no redeeming traits and is straight trash – aka basura, and is committed to their desire to cause harm, a bonafide monster
Example sentence: The 45th President of the United States is the progenitor SBM.
beyoncé: to reach the absolute pinnacle of your craft and then outdo yourself yet again, leaving the rest of your contemporaries bald and without edges cuz they snatched their own wigs after basking in your excellence
Example sentence: Beyoncé beyoncéd old Beyoncé at Beychella.
newstigue: stress and apathy from watching the news cycle.
Anecdote: I've written a blogpost about newstigue titled Adaptation, Accommodation, and the Desecration of America's Democracy
donahate: equal parts dislike, hatred, and disgust with Trump infused with high annoyance and accented with total dismissal because you rather not include his energy in your life as a means of self-care
aplacence: the feeling of wanting to do something because current events enrage you, but feeling like the system is too big and corrupt for any meaningful change to occur
Anecdote: I find people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is my home district in the Bronx Democratic nominee for Congress as a great counter to aplacence
climanition: extreme weather events that you feel are happening because of climate change, but since you’re not a climatologist, you can't say for certain, but still you feel in your heart that the weather is doing too much as of late #BombCyclone
BIE (blue ivy energy): self-assured in your greatness because it is written in your genetic code
Example sentence: Sasha and Malia Obama have that BIE whenever they're photographed in public.
fread: fear and dread of human civilization not existing in the future due to geopolitical strife and climate change
miley: to adorn blackness for self-promotion and monetary gain and ditch it when blackness is no longer profitable
Anecdote: Ben Carson and Stacey Dash, one of the few black people to miley. Give them 3/5th of their points
sunkalgia: nostalgia for black artists and cultural icons who were once good, but have since been corrupted and have set up permanent residence in the sunken place
realisy: when real life news and fiction are no longer distinguishable
RFEC (rooting for everybody colored): the act of rooting for POC countries during international sporting events or POC during award shows because you’ve learned about the atrocities committed by colonizing European nations and you’ve had it. Also, Eurocentrism and white supremacy all around tire you and you're over it all.
This acronym was inspired by Issa Rae.
obalgia: nostalgia for the Obamas
The last one will have me in my feelings, Drake style, for awhile.
Comment below with your favorite words or your own new words! And if you liked the post or whatever, share it far and wide.
Your Favorite SBM Basher,
Featured Wahala Jr. Posts
Follow my Instagram! https://www.instagram.com/wahalajr/ aka @WahalaJr