Like fashion, slang changes with the times. A word that seems current one year can feel wildly dated as time goes on. (Just think of how weird it would be to say something is "da bomb" in 2017.) With the help of the Oxford English Dictionary and a few other archival resources, we've rounded up the slang words that defined every year. Though some words really reflect their time period, you might be surprised by how old some of our go-to slang actually is.
The money-flush times of the Roaring Twenties gave rise to this term for a woman who is interested in a man, but only for his money. It came from the appropriately-titled "Mantrap" by Sinclair Lewis.
Hollywood couldn't get enough of Clara Bow, so much that she was branded the "It Girl."
It's hooey, it's balony. This word can be traced back to an article in The Saturday Evening Post, which referred to something phony as being a bunch of balony (their spelling).
A couple of years after the "It Girl" came Hollywood's "It Boy," which referred to basically any handsome young guy.
Instead of being "bookish," anyone who took an interest in reading was "booksy."
This word perfectly articulated the elegant-but-also-flashy style of Hollywood starlets and heartbreakers alike of the early part of this decade.
The word "burp" almost replicates the noise one makes when belching.
Nineteen thirty-three would be the year that Prohibition would be repealed, an occasion that was robustly celebrated.
This word originated from the burgeoning comedy scene, where a line that delivered a big laugh was a "boffo."
This could refer to your grandpa, or any older person you felt like insulting.
This referred to, yes, the bingo halls that became a hot fad (and then a long-loved game).
Another great word here, referring to something that's pretty gross.
Another entertainment industry term that made its way into common language, "fave" was used exactly how it is now: To refer to a favorite thing.
Before we trash-talked, we engaged in bad-mouthing our opponents in sports.
The rise of parenting experts lead to a whole new vocabulary for new parents. The term "baby blues" would refer to any sadness felt by a mother after the birth of her baby.
Yet another phrase borrowed from Hollywood, this time to refer to a handsome actor. Though generally used for younger celebrities, we still think Cary Grant is a dreamboat.
No longer considered a polite term these days, but this shortened version of "hyperactive" was used to describe kids with far too much energy.
This one was a surprise! Though we associate "Duh" with the '90s, it was widely used as an off-handed remark in the '40s (OED cites a "Merrie Melodies" cartoon as the source).
Interestingly, a "tag-along" was a military term that originally referred to a bomb. It was then repurposed into slang, to describe anyone who was unexpectedly joining in on your plans for the day.
Another surprise from the '40s! Before Homer Simpson had this catchphrase, this offhanded expression has roots in radio programs. Specifically, the program "It's That Man Again." Doh!
We wonder if this was used ironically or not, but to be "cheesed off" is to be pretty angry about something. This is the also the year that "square" (as in, a very boring, out-of-date person) starts entering vocabularies, originating from the swing scene.
Now, costume designer Edith Head (pictured here) was the real creative deal, but anyone who sought to imitate her eccentric approach to personal style would be considered pretentious or "artsy."
Bureaucratic slang gets its turn in the spotlight. The phrase "Fannie Mae" jumped from being government/trade slang for the Federal National Mortgage Association. It eventually became the company name of the place many students would write student loan payment checks to.
Ah, the jet set! This gossip-column standby was first used in 1949 to describe young people who were living fast and glamorously.
Hollywood lingo again goes mainstream with this very-appropriate term for the successful and gorgeous individuals who worked in the industry.
Well, here's the opposite of "Beautiful People." This year, nerd is cited in Newsweek and defined as an alternative to the phrase "square."
An excellent word to describe a bar that wasn't exactly fancy but was still comfortable, stemming from an article in The New Yorker.
Though hippies defined the latter half of the '60s, its use as slang predates the decade.
A permutation of hipster, the hippie is described as "usually exotically dressed" and "given to the use of hallucinogenic drugs." "Far out" also enters the lexicon here, as jazz lingo.
The middle of nowhere, first cited to come from New Hampshire (and the people talking of backwoods areas).
Not the first time it was used, but a of the year includes this timeless term. Sadly, James Dean, the king of cool, dies this year.