A vocabulary renaissance

In the course of a lifetime, people tend to latch on to various trends of speech.  Heavily influenced by pop culture, many of the words we use come from the music we listen to and the movies we see.  But just like fashion, some of the words we use come with a shelf life.  Everyone remembers the days when sarcasm was punctuated with "psych," or "not."  And how can we forget "far out," or "dope," and "biatch?"  Not to mention the scars left by all things "-izzle."  Now those terms have all been demoted to the vocabulary graveyards, and the occasional trailer park, making way for new words like "metro," and "bling bling."  And eventually, these words will go the way of the trash can as well.

But I propose a rebirth!  A vocabulary renaissance of sorts. There are words out there that desperately need to make a comeback.  I’m not quite sure how these words even got pulled from circulation, but it was wrongfully so.  Two words in particular; "rad," and "bitchin’."  I mean, seriously, what happened to them?  How is it that these two solid adjectives fell through the cracks?  It’s a travesty, I say.  Granted, the first term did not get much help from the 80’s BMX movie by the same name, but we all make mistakes, and the word should hardly take the blame.

Especially considering the resurgence of the trucker hat, these words should definitely be receiving their due recognition.  But for some strange reason, they are left in the shadows, only to be used by the select few of us that still remain enlightened.  Much like the high-five (which is another argument in itself), these words are a treasure, a gold mine being left untapped.  How have we survived the last decade or so without turning to someone and telling them that they are rad?  How long has it been since you told someone about the bitchin’ party you went to last night?  Way too long, I tell you, way too long indeed. 

This is your opportunity America, to join my movement to pull these words from the cavernous depths of Value Village aisle ways and Green Bay Packers tailgate parties.  It’s time for a revolution that brings back these powerful literary tools.  So here’s your challenge: make a conscious effort to incorporate rad or bitchin’ (or both) into your daily conversations at least five times this week.  With that kind of exposure, these words may have a fighting chance to make a successful reentry into everyday speech!

In closing, I hope you all have a RAD day, and a BITCHIN’ weekend!!!

100 Comments Add yours

  1. Unknown says:

    That\’s like totally gnarly!

  2. Kelly says:

    My personal faves have always been, "awesome" and "totally". I still use the word "totally" more than I should…I guess I always wanted to be a valley girl. Sigh…Anyway, this is TOTALLY bizarre..heehee…had a dream last night with you in it. You and I were featured on 20/20…you for this blog and me for writing a book. We were in separate stories, but on the same episode. I really would like to write a book someday and be known for it…that would be awesome…=)Kelly

  3. Ms Noanie says:

    I\’m with Kelly – totally has never left my vocab sad to say. Don\’t know if I could bring myself to say rad either – I think it might be (excuse me for being sexist here) a guy thing.OK, someone please enlighten me, what is a trucker hat?Have a great Friday!Noanie

  4. g says:

    You do of course realize that you are mourning the loss of words from a scant 2 decades ago? Christ, can you imagine when we actually hit the 50 mark?I\’d love to see literacy make a comeback, personally. But nothing chafes my rear more then hearing the word "like" used over and over and over and over again in a single freaking sentence. GAAAA! Must. Scrub. Ears!

  5. Sue says:

    Trucker hat-imagine a cap a farmer or trucker would wear. It has like John Deer or some other saying on the front and in the back it\’s kinda meshy (is that a word?lol) and the plastic band thingy so you can size it to your head.My daughter HAD to have one of those a few years ago. Hers was dark pink with Angel on the front of it. I think she wore it twice lol.

  6. Unknown says:

    Kenny, you are just one bitchin\’ kinda guy. I have to laugh though. Are you starting to feel like you have been elevated to Rock God status??? All of the minions all over the world are all holding their collective breaths waiting for a word…….. "Speak, Kenny…….. Speak!"Oprah is gonna find you soon! I predict it. In the meantime, have an absolutely fabulous weekend!Leslie KPresident of the Buffalo Chapter

  7. Unknown says:

    dang…i think my cold it totally bitchin\’. och.

  8. nickel says:

    I don\’t mind reposts ;)Have a good weekend.

  9. Unknown says:

    I\’d like to revive one of my personal faves, "cool beans". Not sure if it was used anywhere but here where I grew up in Ohio, but it was big for a while. Between this post & the one about songs & stuff bringing back memories, it\’s been quite a trip down memory lane this week!

  10. Kathy says:


  11. Ms Noanie says:

    Oh yea cool beans was popular in my house in Pennsylvania!OK, got the image of the trucker hat in my mind – now how do I get it out – ahhhhh!

  12. that girl says:

    Rad. That\’s totally bitchin dude. And my dog gives high fives on command. I guess I just rock all the way on this assignment, no matter how old it is!!But what about keen? That is an under-used word….hmm. "That\’s keen"…not quite as cool as Rad or Bitchin. But my dog still is the most bitchin with the high fives. (No pun intended, female dog, bitchin…never mind.) She will throw them out without request for pity points when she is in trouble, how can you resist that?Have a rad weekend dude.Ronna

  13. Anita says:

    Hey Kenny,I am going to have to pass on this idea.I have gotten in SO MUCH trouble in my passed by using slang incorrectly that I gave up on it in the mid 90\’s.As a matter of fact I still get in trouble for using English incorrectly..Now when I think about it I get in trouble almost always when I open my mouth…Hmmm…. I like this blogg though! I always seem to at least learn something.

  14. Jenni says:

    Like…Uh mah goh…I was just totally talking to my friend about this very same thing yesterday! We began by reminiscing (I have no idea how to spell that word) about the totaly RAD movie North Shore…Dude, that was an awesome flick. Kelly Slater is so bitchin\’. -have a totaly tubular weekend dude.

  15. Bree says:

    Kenny how funny I read this post today…just the other day I was reading mine (and all of my friends) senior quotes (c/o 97) and i came to realize we all used the phrase "boo boo" way to much (none of us can remember why we said it) and last night I came up with the bright idea that we all should start using that phrase again. And once I start saying "rad" and "bitchin" again too…I\’ll truely be living in the past!

  16. Shelley says:

    "cool beans" was very popular in my house as well and I lived in Alaska! so both ends of the US. My two kids (2 & 4) give "high fives" all the time. My sons favorite movie is the first Ninja Turtles movie though. That might have something to do with it. And you can catch him saying things like "cool" and "rad" it even sounds cool from a 4 year old.

  17. Unknown says:

    Groovy dude!

  18. Deb says:

    When I was in college in the mid 70\’s some of my friends said "Toast" as in, "That sports car is Toast!" (meaning cool). I never really got that one. Now toast, beside being a breakfast food, seems to mean over or done-in or broken. As in, "My old hard drive is toast." Thank goodness that is not a word that I use much.Have you ever used a word or phrase incorrectly? When I was younger I was talking to my (much older) boss and I said, "For all intensive purposes…" when I later learned it is "for all intents and purposes" I was embarassed. I am sure I have a million of those.Kenny and everyone…have a great weekend.Deb

  19. Amy says:

    I\’m kinda hip and happening so I\’m gonna stick with Fetch.But this repost is radically Fetch.And bitchin. . .

  20. Mary says:

    "Bitchin\’ Weekend" indeed! Go check out the website "Black Diamond Girls" website – an all female band playing nothing but KISS music.I am going to see them play out this weekend in the teeming metropolis of Columbus Ohio. It will be totally rad if I don\’t get lost ( and THIS is no joke, I get lost in a paper sack).(Think Valley Girl) OMG, I need to, lik, you know, go get read…dy. Keep watching the 80s movies and chilling in a good wayMary G

  21. Tamara says:

    "Smooth", now that\’s old! I told your Aunt M to have a "Bitchen Weekend" tho!Have a Far Out Bitchen Weekend Dude!!! :-)Tam

  22. Vicky says:

    Ups…I have NO idea how to use those words…My first language is Spanish, so I don\’t miss them, they are NEW to me…But I\’ll use them, for sure wrongfully, and have fun seeing the reactions I get ;)LOL

  23. April says:

    YIKES…all I can think about is Bill & Ted and Wayne\’s World. I\’m not sure I am supportive of your new movement. LOLHave a good weekend.April

  24. Davina says:

    Just found out some of my friends are dressing as clowns for Halloween, I was wondering if I could come to Washington instead?miss ya,D

  25. Unknown says:

    Hope you\’re having a fantastic day, kenny. Random quesetion, one that, needless to say, you certainly don\’t have to answer…just curious…In your profile, you said that your accident was on 2-11-04, and then in one of the pics of you with your niece, the date on the back of your cap is June , 2004. I THINK that\’s what it says…could be wrong. I pay attention to details & was just curious!

  26. naked says:

    Okay, I\’ve read all the comments here so far and I don\’t know if I\’m just in a different age group (however slight) than anyone else here, or if this is a location thing. But the only word I can personally remember using way too much as a teenage was "deadly." My mom could never figure out how that meant really cool. I guess essentially it meant that something was so great it was killing me. I guess that doesn\’t make much sense either. lol I don\’t use it anymore but I still like it.nakedowl

  27. Caroline says:

    i still say Rad. it\’s still allowed in san diego. and awesome is all right too. Except the 13 yr old in my life looks at me wierd if i ever say bitchin. he thinks i\’m saying that someone is bitching. just doesn\’t get it.

  28. the minx says:

    Hmm…. I use "Qwityerbitchin!" a lot! 🙂 Have a fun weekend!

  29. Darlene says:

    LOL @ Davina!Have a "bitchin" time D!

  30. Unknown says:

    TOTALLY AWESOME! My sister and I come up with a new 80\’s word every now and then and torture her daughters by using it as often as possible in conversation. It\’s so funny—they look at us like we\’re insane; but, then, we are both easily amused, anyway. Our latest was "Word!"Take care, Kenny. At the risk of sounding totally cheesy, you have a beautiful heart and an amazing gift for writing. I wish you the very very best and I am now hooked on your blog!Word!

  31. Helen says:

    That is great, I still use some old sayings from the 70\’s and my children just look at me like I am nuts. However, the friends in my age group crack up….like I do not know the new ones, I do but choose the ones I love…Have a great weekend…Helen

  32. Unknown says:

    Dude, I was just talking to a former valley girl the other day about some of our so. cal. terminology from the 80\’s. I grew up in so. cal. in the 80\’s and frequently used these terms as well as phrases such as "to the max" and "righteous". I\’ll comply

  33. Vicky says:

    Hey! Have a great Halloween! 😉

  34. mtcutie says:

    I just came across this site and thought of you… lolhttp://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~wrader/slang/a.htmlAn online slang dictionary… whodathunkit??Hope your weekend turns out better then mine has. My highlight is chasing my dog around the house (slowly cuz i\’im hurtin and so is she) trying to get the super dog costume on her. So far she\’s eluded all capture.shmates! (That’s one that my best friend and I used a loooooooong time ago… kinda means, see you later)mt

  35. Jolene says:

    Just wanted to say "HI"….and why not try to bring back some of those very famous 80\’s terms. "gag me with the spoon", "don\’t have a cow","dope","Psyche".Hope you are having a good weekend!:) Jolene

  36. the minx says:

    you don\’t have 200 comments by now?? did davina scare \’em away?! 🙂 she should she\’s gorgeous. you two could make some bitchin\’ babies!

  37. BH says:

    I haven\’t noticed that those bitchin\’ rad words ever left. Cheers mate,BH

  38. ANNE says:

    Hey Kenny, Ditto to what "cld" posted. What does the "June 2004" cap mean in the pic with your niece?

  39. J says:

    renaissance?!? I\’m a resistent. I refuse to be part of the hoe-pimp-bling-nation.Have a "swell" weekend you too.LOL, ok, I am just tacky in denial 🙂

  40. ~*~Shelly~*~ says:

    I caught that too, what was that date for? Wrestling tourney or something? Seems like I read it somewhere, but can\’t remember.

  41. the minx says:

    looks like a graduation date to mwah

  42. »Ќαŧέ« says:

    I\’ve been accused of saying awesome too much. Dunno, but I happen to like the word. Rad, um, sure I will make sure I use it everyday from now on. (hear the sarcasm in the typing?) Bitchin\’ well, I\’ll have to think on that one. –lol– I had a friend that e-mailed me a site with a bunch of new "in" words, you\’d think the words were like leopard print in the fashion world or something. Anyway, his new word for me, because he knows I am fascinated with new phrases and words, was JANKY….I guess it means sketchy, I kinda like the new word, never had heard it before. Be rad and don\’t let the bitchin\’ goblins get ya! Um, so maybe that doesn\’t work so well. *smiles* -Kate

  43. Unknown says:

    I\’ve seen your space listed on many peoples bog lists. I think I may have stopped in once before I\’m not sure. I hope to be back soon to read more.You\’re welcome to my space anytime!

  44. Kenny says:

    Okay, the date on the hat. It was a promotional hat for “Shrek 2" that Mandy had laying around the office. The date on the back was the upcoming release date for the next year… nothing special.

  45. ANNE says:

    Hey smalls, Thanks for the info. on the hat. ; ) Save me a dance with you in heaven… and a kiss would be nice too… you\’re one smokin\’ dude!!!

  46. mtcutie says:

    Hey smalls,Thanks for breakin the story on the hat date. Hope your having a great weekend.mt

  47. Unknown says:

    Funny you decided to repost this entry now. My husband has been working on a campaign with our grandson to bring back "cherry".Terri

  48. Davina says:

    i miss you the most on sundays

  49. chris says:

    Hey DarWe have to invite Kenny and "D" to the bitch gathering….and we need to do it soon. We should make it a long three day week end.I\’ll bring the cheetos: ) Chris

  50. ashlee says:

    Well Mate thats one and from england we like example Lush,in it, hes fit(good looking)and mustard but heres a website with some proper weird and rude ones for that matter so check in out http://www.londonslang.com/db/just_heard/Have a wicked day mate your a star and hope alls well love ash xxxxx

  51. Kelly says:

    BOO!!!!!!!!Happy Halloween, sweetie!Kelly

  52. Unknown says:

    Good Morning Kenny! I agree. Too many very descriptive words have been dropped from our lexicon. Here\’s one I\’d like to see make a come-back: Bodacious. It means bold, reckless and audacious.

  53. Amy says:

    Hello, Now thats a bitchin Idea!!!!!! I actually use bitchin quite a bit cause I got stuck in the time warp lol. Well Great post 🙂 Happy halloween Amy

  54. Unknown says:

    Hey smalls…..Just inviting you over for a peek at the kiddos doing the Halloween thing….. and just to say hi, happy Halloween, and the like.later…j.

  55. Deb says:

    Happy Halloween!Deb

  56. ~TMI~ says:

    Got my x-rays back from my RAD…..he is still bitchin\’ that I won\’t wear my sling properly!Happy Halloween!~TMI~

  57. Laura says:

    Do ya miss me? :o)~Laura

  58. Jessica says:

    Kenny,I don\’t know if you read all of the comments on your blog or not, but I\’m hoping that you do. I\’ve commented twice before, so I\’m not new per say, but I\’m also not one of your "regulars." … I\’m a college student studying English and Journalism at a private university in Chattanooga, TN (although Northern California is my home). But I came across your blog this past summer and was intrigued like all the rest. And it got me thinking… My freshman year of college I almost died in a rock-climbing accident, but have since had an almost 100% recovery. If someone were to ask me if I would rock-climb again, I would have to say most definitely "yes," because, in fact, I already have. But Kenny, having read your story, I can\’t help but wonder what YOUR answer would be to that same question. If you had the chance, would you do things differently? If you had full function of your arms and legs once more, would you live your life any differently than you did before the accident, now that you know what can happen?Okay, so now that I\’ve totally ruined my chances, I have something to ask you. Being an English major, I have to write a lot of papers, and I was thinking about addressing the question that I asked above in a paper for a magazine feature article class I\’m taking. Would it be crazy if I asked you if there was any way that I could somehow interview you — through email or by phone or whatever? I know, I know… I can see the comments coming now. What an idiot! Well I\’m sorry. I guess I am an idiot. If I knew of a way to contact you other than through this blog, I would. But I don\’t. So I guess I\’m just gonna post this comment, with my email address attached, and pray that somehow, some way, you\’ll find it in you to answer my comment!Thanks for your time Kenny, and you truly are an inspiration.Jessica

  59. Jessica says:

    Oh yeah, my email address is jess_me_@hotmail.com.Jessica

  60. Marido_de_Laura says:

    Wow Talk about a time warp eh. I was reading another blog last night about remembering the good ol days, sorry to say, can\’t say whom it was that i visited. But along the same line of thought as you.Great space.

  61. Kristi says:

    I just use the words "sweet" and "nice" for everything, they work for me! Have a good day Kenny…*hugs* Kristi

  62. Molly says:

    Hi Kenny.How are you?Languages are complicated. I admire linguists. I learned linguistics for a semester but I didn\’t like it at all. It was too boring, hehe…Have a nice day!

  63. Mandy says:

    Just wanted to write you a comment…as I am doing so, the comment you wrote about the Shrek hat is right above where I am writing! Too funny! How did someone notice that date? Random! Even more random that you wore that hat all the time! :)So…I am having a really bad day. And, you are my vent. Since you never check your email…you get a comment from me for everyone to read. I need Kenny logic right now. Take that back…I already have your voice in my head so I know what you are going to say, but I still wish I could stop by and chat with you…

  64. linda says:

    just popping in…been missing you, though, the last couple of weeks. You know, with just the reposts and all.But from your comments and those of your friends I can tell you\’ve been around, hope all is well.:-)…and, hey, new relationships can be distracting. Hope that\’s going well, too.

  65. dying2die says:

    hi .. its a repeat right .. but hpe u we;l:)

  66. Unknown says:

    I must be trailor trash…….because I STILL use \’bitchin\’ in my conversations….so that one, at least, won\’t be difficult to incorporate…Rad, on the other hand…..some things are better left unsaid, lol.

  67. TexasGirlJen says:

    Well, well…… I just discovered Bottle Rockets. I saw a comment somewhere. Yes, I\’ve heard of them but never tried them. Not quite the candy afficianado like yourself. Kate, my 4 1/2 year old, says "Mommy can I have this one?" I tried one. Not bad. Not bad at all……Then I heard her bite into it. I could have sworn it would break all those tiny teeth in her mouth. Yikes!Candy count today:Bite-size, of course…2 Butterfingers1 Nestle\’s Crunch1 Kit Kat1 Bottle RocketClearly, I have to get rid of this candy bag when she goes to sleep tonight!j.

  68. halloweenie1086 says:

    Yours is the quintessence of linguistic form. Your verbal mastery is truly amazing; admirable, inspiring. It is refreshing to read the ideas of someone who transposes his thoughts into words with such fluency. A wonderful site. You should be proud. :)~*URN*~

  69. Unknown says:

    Two more entries for our collective consideration just occured to me today: Whatchamacallit and it\’s companion, Thingamabobby.While "Thingy" is a great word to describe the indescribable, it just doesn\’t roll off the tongue quite as well as either of these choices, wouldn\’t you agree?Steve

  70. Kelly says:

    RAD?? I say rad all the time… oh and awesome… bitchin..groovy.. cool beans.. Hope all is well, catch ya on the flip side, Kelly

  71. Unknown says:

    Check out andrews.ride for an example of someone living life to the fullest. This guy also needs our thoughts and prayers.Check out his blog.J

  72. Patricia says:

    Hey Kenny- hope you are well – I love this entry as I do all your writing. Hope you are still writing! You are a fabulous writer. My best, patti

  73. Unknown says:

    Kenny, just wanted to stop in and say "Hey!"Dunno if you\’ve stopped by over at the Muse Monkeys (MuMo\’s) place lately, but she has just posted a Blogging dictionary, mostly of her own creation, that is just TOO funny. She is asking all of us for contributions and of course I thought of you right away, what with your laser wit an all.Ya gotta check it out.CUL8RSteve

  74. Leslie Martin says:

    two of my favorite words… well, as far as fun things to say that most people don\’t anymore. the whole "izzle" thing just went too far, obviously, but i think classic surfer-isms should stick around forever.

  75. alejandra says:

    nice. i\’ll be incorporating "rad" (maybe not so much bitchin… im not completely sold on the "bitchin" comeback. i\’ll mull it over and get back to ya!) into my vocabulatry repertoire tonight at the bars, on your behalf. if nothing else it\’ll get me some looks and some laughs, to be sure. maybe even a number or two….! 😉

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