10 slang terms that turn fifty years old in 2019

"Roadie" and "ew" are just the "tip of the iceberg."

The Sixties changed everything, from politics to pop. The revolution carried over to how we talk, too. With rapid advancements in technology and a massive generation of young Boomers, new terms were being coined left and right. 

Some of them might surprise you, either in how long it took before we started saying them or how early they were being used. The online dictionary Merriam-Webster has a nifty function called Time Traveler, which lets you see the first usage of words for certain years.

We dialed back to 1969, when terms like "telephone tag," "kazillion" and "windsurfing" were first recorded as being used. Here are ten terms that surprised us.

1. bubblegum

(adjective) — appealing to or characteristic of preteens or adolescents

The candy had been around for years, so "bubblegum" as a noun was nothing new. But in 1969, older critics started using it to describe fluffy pop music and fashion. Groups like the Archies were deemed "bubblegum."

2. Ew

(interjection) —used to express disgust at something distasteful or repellent (such as a bad odor)

This one is hard to believe. Certainly, people turned their nose up as gross things before '69? They must have said "Ugh!" or perhaps "Egad! I do say!" before then.

3. fat farm

(noun) — a health spa that specializes in weight reduction

The insane aerobics and diet crazes were just around the corner.

4. fuzzy logic

(noun) — a system of logic in which a statement can be true, false, or any of a continuum of values in between

This has nothing to do with the felt puppets of Sesame Street teaching children, though that show also began in 1969.

5. gangbanger

(noun) — a member of a street gang

They could have used this about eight years earlier for West Side Story.

6. high tech

(noun) — high technology

Gen Z might be more high tech, but Boomers came up with very idea of being high tech.

7. ho-hum

(adjective) — routine, dull

Like, bubblegum, this term had been around, but it wasn't until 1969 that a clever writer decided to use it as an adjective. Whoever that was was certainly not a ho-hum writer.

8. microchip

(noun) — integrated circuit

Makes sense that this would show up the same year as high tech. Check out those high tech microchips!

9. roadie

(noun) — a person who works (as by moving heavy equipment) for traveling entertainers

Rock & roll was still relatively new, and the idea of making a career out of it was even newer. Suddenly, bands were no longer regional phenomena. They were global and had to tour. A lot. Hence needing the crew. Oddly, "groupie" is a little older, dating back to 1966.

10. tip of the iceberg

(noun phrase)— the earliest, most obvious, or most superficial manifestation of some phenomenon

Surprisingly, this term does not date back to the Titanic. Or, actually, that was the problem — they didn't see it coming.

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MrsPhilHarris 6 months ago
Ew? I would have thought it was older.
Fred_Clampett 6 months ago
Some of these surprised me. I would've put "ew" and "high-tech" to be older.
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