You Gotta Have Vocab

Once you start hanging out with a group of friends for a period of time, a strange thing starts to happen. Most likely, everyone will be speaking the same language (English, Spanish etc…), but you start to develop your own dialect.

Words are shortened. Inside jokes become shorthand and code words. Sometimes new words or phrases are made up out of the blue. It gets to the point where some conversations, while in the lingua franca, are virtually incomprehensible to outsiders.

I love that point.

I have several groups of friends with several distinct dialects, but in this post, I’m going to cover a small portion of the slang my college friends and I developed.

Da na na!- An exclamation introduced by my friend Stillman, who brought it from his high school in St. Louis. It’s a catchall phrase but most often used as a greeting between friends in our group or a response to good news. Example: Stillman: “Did you hear the Red Wings were eliminated?” Me: “Da na na!”

404- The general term for our house my senior year of college. Example: Deane: “What’s going on tonight?” Me: “Get over to 404, we’re having a party.”

Bro, Broseph or Brah- Also used as a greeting, mostly between my friend Mike and I. However, it is meant ironically after having heard it genuinely from numerous meathead frat boys at our part-time job. Example: Me: “Broseph, what’s up?” Mike: “Brah, not much.”


Itchy- An adverb that is not used in its traditional sense. Mostly, it is used when a member of the group is excited about something or questioning someone about something potentially exciting. I believe it was introduced by my friend John. Example: “So did you hear about that itchy job yet?”

Roughly- Another adverb used incorrectly. I think I introduced this one. Basically, it’s used to emphasize a ridiculous question. It is also said with a certain inflection that, frankly, is hard to describe. Example: Elliot: “Roughly, how many chicks are you going to pick up tonight?” Me: “All. All the chicks.”

Dirty Dawg- A term of endearment between members of the group. The term was originally appropriated from the movie Super Troopers. Example: “What’s happening dirty dawgs?”

“We just talked…”- A phrase popularized by my friend Elliot to deflect questions (and accusations) about going-ons with ladyfriends. Example: Me: “So…Elliot, anything happen with the girl last night? You were gone for an awfully long time.” Elliot: “You guys,  we just talked…”

“I’m not hearing a no…”- A phrase taken from Futurama used to call out group members for deflecting questions (again, usually about going-ons with ladyfriends). Also, it must be said in the voice of Zoidberg from Futurama. Example: Elliot: “You guys,  we just talked…” Me: “I’m not hearing a no…”

“On a scale of one to ____”- A phrase used to gauge a person’s state of being, particularly drunkness. However, the blank could be filled by a variety of other words. Example: “On a scale of one to drunk, exactly how drunk are you?”

“To be fair…”- A phrase that in no way has ever been used to defend someone or someone’s argument. It’s actually used to set up a smartass joke at someone’s expense. Example: Elliot: “Wow, Stillman is already wasted.” Me: “To be fair, he’s already had two beers.”

Doofus- A preferred term for describing any sort of dork, dweeb, nerd, dingus or goon. Example: “That kid with the highwaters, ironic mustache and black frames looks like a doofus.”

Punch- A delicious concoction my friend Chris originated. Most people call it “jungle juice,” but this was a special recipe. We served it at most of our parties, and it consists of a fifth of Everclear, a gallon of Hawaiian Punch, two cans of frozen pink lemonade and a two liter bottle of ginger ale. Also we served it out of a five-gallon gas can because it was cheaper than a cooler. Example: Drunk friend: “There’s no alcohol in this! It tastes like candy!” Me: “Slow down hoss, there’s more alcohol in the punch than you think.”

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3 thoughts on “You Gotta Have Vocab

  1. emt0574 says:

    I love this post and language evolution! My friends and I have our own dialect as well, and we’ve recorded most of the words and phrases in our own dictionary.

  2. Luther says:

    Me and my friends dont really have a dialect but we have a lot o fun goofing around and we always know when we re joking. Plus whenever we do some thing such as when i poked my friend and said soup she then poked someone else and said soup and everyone was doing it. It was hilarious.

  3. Averi says:

    I’ve always wanted to talk irregularly compared to others. I’ve often tried to bring in words like “trippy” or “sommat”(short for something) that i’ve read womewhere. It never works.
    My friends and I share a language of “looks” for than “words”

    Yes. We communicate telapathically.

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