15 Slang Words and Phrases That Should Become Obsolete


Let’s bid farewell to the slang that once made us the coolest in the room but now might leave others scratching their heads. From the hip vernacular of disco divas to the catchy phrases that ruled early internet chat rooms, it’s time to explore—and maybe retire—some of these favorite throwback terms.



Once the go-to term for anything cool during the disco inferno era, “groovy” now mainly survives as a kitschy relic in “That ’70s Show” reruns. It’s a quaint reminder that not all oldies continue to be goldies.



“Radical” was the battle cry for bleach-haired surfers and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It’s mostly a nostalgic whisper from your old skateboard, evoking memories of scraped knees and simpler times. Now, it stands as a ‘has-been’, echoing an audacious past.

On Fleek

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Perfect eyebrows and outfits were “on fleek” in the mid-2010s, an utterance that soared in popularity thanks to viral social media moments. Today, it’s as trendy as neon leg warmers, serving as a good laugh rather than a serious compliment.



“Be Right Back” morphed into the acronym BRB during the bygone days of internet chat. While it thrived in the era of instant messaging, it’s less common in the age of constant connectivity, where everyone is assumed to be perennially online.


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As a one-word approval or compliment, “sweet” dominated casual conversation in the early 2000s. Although still popular, it can seem outdated, akin to an old poster of a beloved band. Its usage now carries a hint of irony or nostalgia among those who remember its heyday.



“Phat” was the ultimate praise for something cool or attractive, rolling off the tongue of every wannabe trendsetter; it was simply a funny reminder of when oversized everything was fashionable, from jeans to jargon. As a capsule from the baggy clothes era, it captures past trends with nostalgia.



Originally a surfer’s term for something extreme or formidable, “gnarly” now sounds more suited for describing garden weeds than anything genuinely impressive. It might be a bit old-school for maximum coolness points. How about using something more lit or fire instead?



“Dude” has ridden the waves from surfer lingo to mainstream vernacular, previously a staple of every teen movie worth its salt. Though it’s still heard sometimes, its overuse has worn it out, preparing it for a freshening up.



Mashing “chill” and “relax” together seemed like a good idea at the time, but “chillax” now triggers eye rolls instead of nods. It’s the linguistic equivalent of a dad joke, not quite landing as intended and often reminding us why some hybrids are better left unmade.

Right On

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“Right on” was the spirited affirmation of the ’60s and ’70s, oozing solidarity and support. Now, it should be accompanied by a peace sign reserved for those reminiscing about the days of vinyl records and bell-bottoms.



A favorite in NorCal for amplifying nearly everything, “hella” has wandered far from its regional charm. Outside its hometown, it sounds like someone is going overboard to keep their street cred or clinging to its youthful vibe by a thread.



“Totes,” an attempt to shorten “totally,” sounded like a lazy drop of syllables. An informal contraction that became too casual, it’s now resting comfortably in the slang retirement home. This expression reflects the era of text-speak that many are eager to leave behind.



“Swag” used to mean someone stylishly confident, but now it’s about as rad as promotional pens. Jargon has been swagged out, leaving room for less swagger-heavy synonyms, often replaced by terms that don’t try as hard to be lit.



Thanks to “Mean Girls,” “fetch” tried hard to become a thing. It never did; it’s just a fun pop culture reference, a nod to things that will never happen, reminding us that not all cinematic trends can leap off the screen into reality.

Talk to the Hand


“Talk to the hand” was the ultimate brush-off in the ’90s, a way to end interactions without grace. Conversational use of the phrase is often for comedic effect rather than a serious purpose, reminiscent of old TV show catchphrases.


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