The Eighties Club
The Politics and Pop Culture of the 1980s
The Eighties Lexicon
An intellectual lightweight. A term invented to describe a Valley Girl.

Equal to or slightly better than "cool," but not tubular.

Something that is very good or very cool.

barf bag
Like "jerk", a disparaging term used by one person to describe another.

Adjective for something that is very cool, or very hot, as in "Dude, that band is bitchin'!"

Usually used as an expression of appreciation for a woman's attributes, but also generally as a form of enthusiastic appreciation for a member of the opposite sex.

Used to describe something in a very favorable light, as in "That movie was totally bomb!"

bottom line
Yuppie-speak for getting to the crux of a matter, as in "Okay. This is the bottom line."; previous generations might have said "getting down to brass tacks."

boy toy
Initially used to describe a young woman who had a reputation for being "easy". In her first incarnation, Madonna exploited the boy toy image. Later used to describe a young man who was the plaything of an older woman (or man).

carpe diem
A Yuppie term, from the Latin for "seize the day," meaning to go for it, take a chance, get on with life.
Something that is way too sentimental.

chill/chill out
Relax, calm down. Take a chill pill. To be practicing this is to be "chillin'."

couch potato
Term coined to describe those who spend way too much time in front of the television, thanks to the VCR and the advent of cable.

An '80s battle cry, sort of like "Geronimo!" was to a previous generation, uttered when someone is about to do something crazy or adventurous.

Acronym that stands for "dual income, no kids" -- a Yuppie couple with no children and lots of money to spend on themselves.

A dumb person. Popularized by Boss Hogg on The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-1984).

do lunch
A Yuppie term expressing a desire to get together in the future, but without a firm commitment as to when.

do the wild thing
To have sex.

Anything -- an event, a movie, a person -- that is depressing. The Challenger disaster was a real downer for everyone.

A pronoun made popular in the 1980s, synonymous with "Man," as in "Hey, dude, what's the word?"

A synonym for "nerd".

eat my shorts
An expression of mild contempt. Used by Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club before Bart Simpson made it even more famous.

for sure
An expression of heartfelt agreement. "Man, she is hot!" "For sure, dude!"

Hip term used as a synonym for "appealing" or "original".

gag me with a spoon
A Val Gal expression connoting extreme disgust.

gang banger
A member of an urban street gang.

get horizontal
To do the wild thing. The phrase originated with Olivia Newton-John's song "Physical".

Valley speak for something that is very good.

Something that is extremely gross. "Dude, this burger is grody to the max."

gross out
Synonymous with disgusting. To "gross me out" you had to do something that was really disgusting.
Variation of yuppie to denote a gay, upwardly-mobile person.

have a cow
To be over-excited or upset almost to the point of hysteria. "He's, like, just a rock star. Don't have a cow!"

Used to describe something that is very difficult, as in, "That final was hellacious!"

Term used to identify someone as a friend, or a member of your clique, originating from urban street gang jargon.

A loser, a rube. Canadian in origin, made popular by the film Strange Brew.

Term used to describe someone, of either gender, who is sexy.

A majorly handsome male. See also studmuffin.

I'm so sure
A sarcastic expression of disbelief, as in "Chad asked you out on a date? Like, I'm so sure!"

Uncool, not hip; "You be illin'" is to say "You don't look good" or "You look miserable."

Derisive Val-speak for a square, un-hip girl, derived from the Joanie Cunningham character on Happy Days.

Usually a term of derision directed at self-obsessed athletes.

Anything -- an event, a person, a movie -- that is dumb, uninspiring or just not with it, as in "That song is so lame!"

Originating with Valgals, it can be used as many times as necessary in a sentence, usually to herald the upcoming use of an adjective, such as "That movie was like so lame that it like grossed me out."

major (majorly)
As in "He is a major hunk!" or "That was a major gross out!"

make my day
Derived from the Clint Eastwood "Dirty Harry" flick Sudden Impact; could be used as a macho response to a challenge, or, in the past tense, sarcastically, as in "Oh, yeah, that just made my day!" -- which is to say, it didn't.

Prefix that can be attached to nearly any word for enhancement, as in "That megasucks!". Also, synonymous with major.

Valspeak expression denoting surprise or disgust, with each syllable separated by a pause.

party hearty
The warcry of '80s fratboys everywhere, meaning to party with a dedication sometimes sadly lacking in calculus class.

Short for political correctness, as in not saying or doing anything that might hurt anyone's feelings, and which first reared its ugly head in the '80s.

pencil you in
Yuppie-speak for making an appointment or date that is subject to change.

They of the polo shirt and khaki trousers, all the rage in the '70s, but who either became yuppies or nerds in the '80s.

After you tell somebody something that upsets or excites them, you say this to demonstrate that you were just fooling.

A pejorative unrelated to homosexuality, used to describe something or someone that is peculiar or lame.

Meaning "weak" or "iffeminate" and derived from the 1982 book Real Men Don't Eat Quiche.

Term coined by skateboarders in the '80s to describe something that is very cool.

rock my world
As in "amaze me!"

A big thrill, as in "That concert was a major rush!"

A derisive term denoting an extremely undesirable person.

Like scumbag, with an added connotation of lack of morals or hygiene.

Started by punk rockers, a form of dancing that required participants to hurl themselves bodily at one another.

space cadet
Used to describe someone who is dumb or just wacky.

Fired up, ready to go.

See hunk.

take a chill pill
Calm down. See chill.

to the max
To the ultimate level, as in, "That skank is, grody to the max."

Completely, to the max.

To describe something that is so totally cool as to defy description.

In sunbathing, to catch some rays. Stands for ultraviolet, as in "I'm heading down to Malibu to get some UVs."

Valley Girl
Term originally applied to spoiled girls who lived in the San Fernando Valley and who developed their own lingo, known as Valspeak, but which in time was used to describe any slightly goofy mall chick.

veg (out)
To take it easy, to not do anything. "I think I'll like veg out today."

Derived from a 1985 magazine story about obsessed young female fans of Madonna, who wanted to be just like her, and did everything in their power to look and act like her.

Beyond cool, or at least very very cool.

Really good. Related to bad and radical.

A very utilitarian slang word; used as an expression of enthusiastic agreement, an exclamation, or when you just didn't know what else to say.

The upper-middle class Baby Boomer who is obsessed with career and conspicuous consumption; stands for Young Urban (or Upwardly-Mobile) Professional.