The year 2000, and beyond, has been a pop culture fascination for decades. There's the 1960s TV cartoon, The Jetsons, which was set a century in the future, the 2060s. We're still waiting for those flying cars, but a lot of those innovations on the show made it to this century (e.g., we have a lot more robots doing things for us).
A few years later, Stanley Kubrick's science fiction movie about a space mission to the planet Jupiter, 2001: A Space Odyssey, was released. This film had more of a philosophical point of view about humankind, artificial intelligence and possible extraterrestrial life.
But the beginning of the 21st century was fraught with panic and angst, with the fear of computers shutting down, and thus, the whole world grinding to a halt. Not the way that everyone thought we'd begin a new decade, century and millennium. But we made it through that crisis with very little hiccups.
So how did we talk in the aughts? With the internet being used more widely, along with the rise of texting, some of our slang became shortened (OMG, AYFKM?). And a lot of that has stuck around. Some phrases, as they still do, come from hip-hop and rap culture, as well as African American vernacular. Yet with the internet, what's "in" or cool to say goes in and out of style a lot more quickly--and that's even more true today.
If you're ready, let's get this quiz crack-a-lackin'! L8r sk8r!
Y2K was a computer bug that potentially would shut down anything that was operated or controlled by computers. This bug had to do with computers being able to recognize 99 as 1999, but not 00 as 2000. Billions of dollars were spent to prep computers across the world, and that preparation helped prevent the cataclysmic failure that was most likely going to happen.
The word "tight" can mean many different things (including one we can't publish here). But it seems the most popular version means something is cool or awesome.
"Twerk" is for hip-hop and rap culture, but began to be become a part of popular culture with the Ying Yang Twins song "Whistle While You Twurk" in 2000 and continued to grow in popularity over the years.
"Boo" comes from African American vernacular. Calling someone "my boo" can even extend beyond your partner--it can be for anyone you're fond of. Sometime in the 00s, "bae" came on the scene as the new way to address a beloved one or thing.
Although "poppin'" had been in use for a while, the song "Poppin'" by Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Juelz Santana made "it's on and poppin'" a popular phrase in the '00s. It means that the party's started or that the fun's begun. It can also mean that anything is about to start.
"Sketch monster" is a word to describe someone who is sketchy. Most of the time, this description was for a man. Sketch itself is a shortened version of sketchy and is used as an adjective: "This place is so sketch, I want to leave right now."
"Woot" comes from gaming and hacking culture, where it's commonly written at "w00t." Woot is also an acronym for gamers, which stands for "we owned other team"--and this means you beat the other team.
This word has been around since 1970, but with increased internet use in the '00s, it became more popular, especially with online forums and gaming. This is not to be confused with "n00b" or "newb", which means you're acting stupidly online.
"Emo" can be used as an adjective about a person or thing: "God, why are you so emo about everything?" It can also refer to the subculture that is usually tied to the music genre--both of which can be confused with the goth folks. Usually emo refers to being emotionally expressive, with many of those emotions being sad (but not always).
"Nom nom" or "nom nom nom" is derived from how Sesame Street character Cookie Monster would make noises as he ate his cookies. It's onomatopoeia for eating food found to be yummy, but it can be used to describe someone who is cute or attractive.
"Mad skills", sometimes written "mad skillz" was a way to compliment someone who's really good at what they do. It's something you could say about yourself: "I've got mad skills to pay the bills!" is a popular phrase.
With the turn of the new millennium, a lot of our lives were increasingly lived online--with our computers and mobile phones. Acronyms such as LOL, LMAO, WTF and OMG became commonplace, to the point that people say them to each other offline. And sometimes, people will type out these acronyms as they would say them, e.g, oh em gee.
According to Merriam-Webster, the first mention of "meh" was in 1992 as an interjection. But in 2003, meh was an adjective: "Their latest album was pretty meh." "Meh" is a word expressing disappointment--but in a lackadaisical, tired sort of way.
There was "da bomb" which came through in the '90s. But then, with the internet being more widely used, da bomb got its own URL with dot com. It's a rhyming way to say something is great, the best or excellent.
"Womp womp" mimics the sound of a game show's music of when a contestant loses. It's a humorous way to reflect on someone's loss or misfortune.
"Rando" when it's about a person is not usually a nice thing to say. "We went to this bar and it was full of randos." But if it's about a situation, then it's usually more benign: "It was so rando--he called me out of the blue to ask me out."
In the '00s, Paris Hilton was on a reality TV show called "The Simple Life" where she and her friend, Nicole Richie, left their affluent lives behind to work more "normal" jobs, such as being farm hands or fast-food workers. And that's where Hilton coined the phrase, "That's hot"--said in a monotone voice, which could be used to respond to any statement.
There are so many ways to explain being drunk or inebriated with alcohol. "Trashed" was one of the '00s versions, which usually means being extremely drunk.
"Ballin'" and being a "baller" used to be about the life that star professional basketball players would be able to have, making millions of dollars. Then it became a term anyone with an extravagantly rich or successful life.
"Pwned" came from the word "owned" but on the keyboard, the letters O and P are next to each other. So probably in a fit of excitement, some gamer typed pwned and the typo stuck. It's not as used as it used to be in the '00s, but you'll still see it--especially online.
"You Got Served" was indeed a 2004 movie about dancers in a dance competition. Saying this phrase means that you've just bested or topped someone in some competition. And you'd usually yell this in someone's face.
"Truthiness" was a word that Stephen Colbert coined in the very first episode of his show on his recurring segment, "The Wørd." Truthiness is now in the dictionary, although "truthy" has been in the dictionary long before. Truthiness is essentially about relative or subjective truth.
One way to show enthusiasm over an event or something cool was to say "off the [fill in the blank]." "Off the hook" and "off the chain" were more popular sayings. Also, making "hook" into "hizzy" or "hizzle" was another popular choice.
Although the first "Whassup?" ad from Budweiser was released in December 1999, the saying really took off in 2000 as a Super Bowl ad. Soon, lots of young guys were saying this everywhere, in that exaggerated, drawn-out voice.
This term came from New York rapper, The Notorious B.I.G. in 1997, specifically as a "player hater"--someone who hates how someone who is successful plays the game of life. But "hater" became popular in the '00s, including a rap from 2009 with Jay-Z and Kanye West called "Hate." "Don't hate" was a popular phrase in the '00s and "hater" still is used today.
It's an old, bawdy punchline, "That's what she said." But the American version of the TV comedy "The Office" made it universal by the character, Michael Scott, portrayed by Steve Carell. Scott would use this punchline in highly inappropriate circumstances.
"Peeps" is a shortened of the word "people," but not just any people. These are considered to be good friends and family members.
Australians coined this saying from around 2003. It was made popular on the Australian TV comedy show, "Kath & Kim."
Low-rise jeans created some interesting issues for women in particular. Besides the "muffin top", there was the "whale tail" where the Y-shaped part of the thong was shown visibly above a jeans waistline. Some celebs actually flaunted the look, but it became out of fashion during the aughts.
Snoop Dogg (formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg) brought the suffix -izzle into the mainstream with his song "Snoop Dogg (What's my Name, Part 2)". Snoop said that -izzle originated in Northern California. But Snoop got fed up with the izzlation of words by 2004, which may be one reason why you don't see this around anymore.
"Sick" has been around for a while, ever since at least the '80s. It can mean "awesome" but it can also mean flat-out wrong or a mess. Or it can mean intense, as in "That was a sick burn!"
A shortened version of the word, sketchy, "sketch" made its debut around the beginning of the decade. It can be applied to people, places or situations that don't seem quite right or are potentially dangerous.
"Trill" is a portmanteau of the woods "true" and "real" (or "too" and "real"). This word came on the scene from hip-hop/rap culture, specifically from rapper Pimp C who coined the word.
"Holla!" can mean "yeah!" as a noun, but typically, it's used as a verb (e.g., "Holla at your boy!"). If you're trying to talk to someone, you'd say, "Hey, let me holla at you one minute." If it's about someone you're interested in, then it's usually talking about that situation: "I'm trying to holla at her, but she doesn't want to talk to me"; but it can also be toward that person.
On the nighttime soap, "The O.C.," comics-loving, indie rocking geek Seth Cohen made redonkulous popular. It's a more intense form of the word ridiculous. It doesn't seem to be used that much anymore, at least in comparison to the shortened form of the word ridiculous, "ridic."