WORD... WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?




There I was, recently on a Saturday night, sitting with my adult son and his girlfriend; let’s call them Z & B. Engaged in conversation, Z went and did it, rather he said it… you know, that term that I have been trying to come to peace with for a long time now, he said “WORD!”

Now, I have always been a guy that has been fairly “with it,” a little ahead of the curve with what is on trend. This applies to my past careers, travels, technology, social media and personal style… you get the picture, right?  But “WORD?” I don’t really get it.

I decided I needed to dig in and do more research through the enlightenment of Z, as I hear this WORD thing daily from my backseat passengers.  Z had to explain that it’s one of those linguistic slang words that every generation owns.  Like all these type of words, many are derived from the current pop culture and music – hip-hop, rap, reggae and R&B.

I started thinking about this and we started naming many words that represent slang from the particular culture at that time… here are a few: groovy – sweet – chill – cool – nasty – tight – nice (one of my favs) – yo – dirty – sick – dude – totally (totes for females apparently) – dope – wavy –wicked (Boston-based) – legit—and the list goes on.

See? You can relate, right? But I’m still having trouble with WORD. Unlike the terms listed above, WORD just doesn’t make cerebral sense to me. My research director Z tells me it’s more about being connected with the times, being smooth, cool, a bit about branding yourself as being “with it.” Age-dependent and used informally, it can be said in a funny way, but with certain coolness it can be spoken with confidence, like you own it.  It is almost like mirroring the person you are talking with: how you respond if you are in agreement. But it’s also a way to end your portion of the conversation, like a period at the end of the sentence, an I hear you, I recognize what you are saying, I sympathize with you, but we are done with this conversation… WORD.

I had this funny vision of people being at a party trying to outdo each other using hip slang… and everyone is actually using words that haven’t really been used that way before like “Dude, that is SPICY or CHARGED or how about SANDY – SOUR – STORMY.  Go ahead, you have a try of inventing a new way to use a word.  Many of these linguistic slang words are based in the context of the moment and affected by tone, time and place.  These factors can definitely change their meaning, like using DUDE? or DUDE!  You can also string them along in a continuous conversation such as:
            Person A- “These fries are WICKED.”
            Person B- “Dude they are LEGIT.
            Person C- “TOTALLY!”
            Person A- “SWEET.”
I feel like I am more understanding of WORD now, and I hope this clears things up for you (unless you got it all along). So, I’m thinking there is only one way to properly end this posting on WORD...

WORD.

(Although I may understand WORD's usage better now... honestly? I still don't really get it!)

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