20 Slang Terms From the ’80s No One Uses Anymore

We are, like, totally grateful people stopped talking like this.

20 Slang Terms From the ’80s No One Uses Anymore
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Things were very different in the ’80s. Back then, women wore shoulder pads, men wore parachute pants, and kids blasted punk rock from their boomboxes. However, the one thing that sets the ’80s apart from every other decade more than anything else is its unique lexicon. Yes, this era was indeed a rad and righteous time for language. So, slip into your most comfortable pair of Zubaz pants and get ready to get totally tubular with these ’80s slang terms that we’ve thankfully left in the 20th century.

1
Gag me with a spoon

80s slang terms Shutterstock

“Gag me with a spoon” is an expression you can use when you want to show disgust or disappointment and it’s not enough just to say, “I disapprove.” Basically, you’re so disturbed that you want to test your gag reflex.

Example: “I can’t believe she wore those shoes. Gag me with a spoon!”

2
Barf me out

man looking disgusted 80s slang terms Shutterstock

What is it with the ’80s and regurgitation slang metaphors? Evidently, “gag me with a spoon” wasn’t enough to express contempt. In the ’80s, if you really wanted people to know your level of physical revulsion, you used this puke-inducing phrase.

Example: “He’s wearing jam shorts to church? Barf me out!”

3
Phat

80s slang terms Shutterstock

The ’80s slang term “phat” has nothing to do with being overweight. When “phat” is spelled with a ph, it’s describing something as exceptional. Yes, oddly enough, being called “phat” is a compliment!

Example: “That velour sweatsuit is phat!”

4
Bad

80s slang no one uses Shutterstock

If something was “bad” in the ’80s, that meant it was good. However, “good” did not mean “bad.” “Good” still meant “good,” and “bad” just meant “really good.”

Example: “Just saw the baddest Trans Am down the block.”

5
Bag your face

woman with a bag over her head 80s slang no one uses Shutterstock

If your facial appearance leaves something to be desired, perhaps you’d feel more comfortable with a brown paper bag on your head. This train of thought is precisely how hip folks in the ’80s came up with the cruel slang phrase “bag your face.”

Example: “I have so many zits—I should just bag my face.”

6
What’s your damage?

80s slang no one uses Shutterstock

This is not a sincere question. Coined by the 1988 teen drama Heathers, it’s a harsher way of saying, “What is the matter with you?”

Example: “You told Brenda what I said about her? What’s your damage?”

7
Have a cow

Man Biting His Tongue in Argument Romance Shutterstock

In the ’80s, if you were getting overly emotional or upset about something, you were “having a cow.” How exactly this cow was being had is open to interpretation—but really, there’s no good literal or metaphorical way to have it.

Example: “I’m just teasing you. Don’t have a cow, man!”

8
No duh

80s slang no one uses Shutterstock

When someone utters something that is extremely obvious and apparent, there were a lot of “no duhs” in response in the ’80s.

Example: “Do you think growing a rat tail was maybe not the best look for me?” “Um, no duh.”

9
Choice

80s slang no one uses Shutterstock

The slang term “choice” is a sign of approval and possibly even envy. If someone says that something of yours—like your look, your car, or your hair—is “choice,” they’re saying that you have made the right decision.

Example: “Your mullet is looking choice today, my man.”

10
Not even

woman thumbs down 80s slang no one uses Shutterstock

“Not even” is a quick way of saying, “I think you’re wrong, but I’m too lazy to get into a whole thing where I list the reasons why.” If the person you’re talking to retorts with “even,” then the argument is officially over.

Example: “She’s totally into you, dude.” “Not even!” “Even.”

11
Gnarly

skateboarder 80s slang no one uses Shutterstock

When surfers describe something as gnarly, they mean that it is especially difficult or even dangerous. However, in the ’80s, “gnarly” became a shorthand for anything and everything considered cool and/or exciting.

Example: “That Bill Murray movie was so gnarly!”

12
Tubular

surfer 80s slang no one uses Shutterstock

To be tubular—or better still, totally tubular—is to be remarkable and breathtaking. This is yet another example of the surfer slang that dominated the ’80s.

Example: “The way he looks in parachute pants is totally tubular!”

13
Word

80s slang no one uses Shutterstock

Saying “word” is the equivalent of saying “I agree.” Or, if you say the slang term with a questioning intonation, it can also be used to express doubt and disbelief in what someone is saying.

Example: “That movie was terrible.” “Word?” “Word.”

14
Grody

80s slang no one uses Shutterstock

When something is gross but with a little extra je ne sais quoi, it’s crossed over into grody territory. And when something is really grody, that’s when it becomes grody to the max. You can’t get any more disgusting than that.

Example: “You’re eating so much nacho cheese. It’s grody to the max!”

15
Grindage

Delicious Southern Meal Shutterstock

“Grindage” describes delicious food that you intend to chow down on with extreme enthusiasm. This slang was gifted to pop culture by Pauly Shore.

Example: “Mind if I help myself to the grindage in your fridge?”

16
Cheeuh!

80s slang no one uses Shutterstock

“Cheeuh”—a slang term used to acknowledge that something is true—is not so much a word as it is an expulsion of random letters from your mouth. To pronounce it, pretend you’re trying to say “cheetah” after consuming a bottle of vodka.

Example: “You wearing your Frankie Say Relax T-shirt tonight?” “Cheeuh!”

17
Butter

80s slang no one uses Shutterstock

Just like the yellowish substance spread on your morning toast, something is “butter” if it’s smooooth.

Example: “Naw, man, you gotta peg your pants. That’s butter!”

18
Bod

muscular man 80s slang terms Shutterstock

As a gym rat in the ’80s, it wasn’t enough to have a nice body. You had to have a great bod.

Example: “You’d wear muscle tees all the time too if you had a bod like that.”

19
Zeek

geek in glasses 80s slang terms Shutterstock

When a geek has undeniable sex appeal, he or she is elevated to “zeek” status.

Example: “Don’t tell anybody I said this, but I think Urkel is a total zeek.”

20
Bounce

man leaving work 80s slang terms

We’ve reached the end. Time to leave—and by leave, we mean “bounce.”

Example: “This list of ’80s slang terms is totally over. Let’s bounce!”

And for more slang by the decade, check out the 20 Slang Terms From the 1970s No One Uses Anymore.

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