Top 15 cool slang from the 80s and 90s

By Cheezem 9 Min Read

The ’80s and ’90s were decades that blessed the world with a lot of energy and new exciting sounds and ideas. The years pulsated with a unique energy and a language all their own. It can also be taken as a transition phase that changed the world in terms of everything, from music to politics to everything. It even affected the language and gave birth to a myriad of slang. These slang terms defined a generation and reflected the ever-evolving popular culture.

In this article, we shed light on the Top 15 slang from the ’80s and the ’90s. These phrases defined the spirit and energy of the decades and if you’re from those years get ready to jump into a sea of nostalgia.

15. Butt Face

If you watch movies from the 80s and 90s which involve teenagers going through school, you can hear them screaming “Butt Face” now and then to other people. The term became extremely popular during these decades and it is used to mistreat or knock about a person who is unattractive or bothersome. It is mostly used to make fun of someone instead of dominating or offending someone, but don’t just tell it to everyone.

14. Bounce

When you see the word Bounce, most of us think of a ball bouncing. But during the 80s and the 90s, the action bounce was used as a metaphor to get up or leave a place. The slang “Bounce” is often used by people when a person has to leave or get up to go somewhere hastily.

13. Wannabe

Probably the most used and most heard in this list. “Wannabe” is slang used to describe a person who only wants to be something just for attention lacking any kind of passion for it. The word creates a distinction between a person who is a show-off from a person who has real passion.

Naturally, the term “wannabe” originated in surfer lingo. Some aspired to be the cool surfers, and there were the cool surfers themselves. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, it became popular.

12. Take a Chill Pill

Dwight trying to calm down

You can get a sense of this slang by just looking at it. The slang “Take a Chill Pill” means to calm down. But originally the term chill pill finds its origins in the meds of ADHD. When ADHD was being recognized the pills for it were being developed. The pills were called “Chill Pill” in slang terms which could calm down a person with ADHD. Therefore, the slang “Take a Chill Pill” was used as a way to tell someone to chill out or cool off.

11. Duh!

You have heard the slang “Duh!” being used several times and might’ve used it in some situations yourself. The slang “Duh!” is mostly used to indicate that someone is stupid or has basic knowledge, kind of like an obviously. Therefore, this slang is used to say that the person who spoke earlier is stupid.

10. Eat My Shorts

If you think about it literally, this slang comes off as an uncanny one. But the meaning of it is entirely different than what it looks like. The slang “Eat My Shorts” is used when the speaker wants someone to go away and stop bothering them. If you want to hear this slang be used, then you should watch the Simpsons. “Eat My Shorts” is the catchphrase of Bart Simpson and never backs down using it.

9. Barf Me Out

If you’ve ever felt like you’re nervous or feeling distraught in certain situations, then the slang “Barf me Out” is perfect for that situation. This slang is used to express a feeling of a burst of nervousness or emotions. Although, this slang is mostly used to express disgust or disrespect.

8. Hella

One of the most common slang to be used is “Hella”. This slang is mostly used to describe the extent of something or to exaggerate something. It is also used to suggest or describe the huge extent of something such as a feeling or a situation. Example: “This car is hella nice” or “This was a hell of a ride.”

7. As If

Iconic "AS IF" From Clueless

“As If” is the slang to show the perfect sass and one that everyone has heard being used. You can hear this slang being used in the movie “Clueless” and the movie is worth the watch if you want to see how the life of the 90s came along. The slang “As If” has a simple meaning which is “oh really”, and was used by the girls and the gays.

6. Bite Me

Samantha Jones on the phone

There’s slang for everything, and if you want to threaten someone, the perfect one is “Bite Me”. “Bite Me” means that you are threatening someone to stop bothering you or there will be consequences. So if you are being bothered or irritated by someone, then the perfect way to tell them to go away is to say “Bite Me” to them.

5. Gnarly

Most of the slang during the 80s and 90s was popularized by movies and “Gnarly” is the perfect example. The slang was used in the movie “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and since then it has become popular. “Gnarly” is used to describe something as frightening or peculiar, and is usually used to dismiss something.

4. Trippin

Trippin is a famous slang that found its origins in the 80s and one can hear it in movies and shows a lot. The slang is used to say that someone or something is wrong about something. The slang means that the opinion or statement coming from the person is similar to that of a high person speaking (someone high on drugs). So it is mostly used to prove a point and to suggest that someone is wrong.

3. Bodacious

If you’ve ever been said “Bodacious” by someone, then it is one of the best compliments you can have. The slang “Bodacious” is used to describe something attractive, amazing, and wonderful. It can be used to describe anything from a car, bike, or a person. The term originated during the 1970s but became popular during the 80s.

2. Rad

“Rad” is short for “Radical” and is one of the most used slang in the 80s. The slang means cool, excellent, awesome, and outrageous. Mostly, this term is used to describe something you love or like.

1. Gag Me With A Spoon

One of the coolest-sounding slang from the 80s and the 90s is “Gag Me With A Spoon”. It sounds cool, but doing the literal thing would be hell. Unless your friends will really gag you with a spoon, the slang is used to express disgust and repulsion for something or someone. It means that you rather go through gagging with a spoon than go with someone or somewhere.


As we wrap up our exploration of the “Top 15 Cool Slangs from the 80s and 90s,” it’s evident that these decades were not just about fashion, music, and iconic pop culture moments; they were also about language. The slang of the 80s and 90s acted as a linguistic time machine, transporting us back to a time when words like “bodacious,” “chill pill” and “bite me” ruled the conversation. The beauty of these slangs lies in their ability to transcend time and continue to evoke feelings of nostalgia and amusement.

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