"Oh, we like the Beatles. They're gear!"
John Lennon quipped to a reporter in January 1964, using a favorite term of
British teens that meant awesome.
Less than a month later, when the Beatles came to America, so did British
slang. In fact, CBS interviewed a teenager named Adrian who used the term
"gear" just like a Liverpudlian, but in her charming Brooklyn accent.
In 1964, as today, British and American teens had different words for nearly
everything worth talking about. The Beatles not only brought about a clash of
cultures, hairstyles and accents, but also of words.
Five terms British teens used in 1964:
Dolly: Girlfriend. Is your dolly coming to the club?
Gear: Awesome, stylish, excellent. The Beatles are gear!
Punch Up: Fight. We got into a punch up at the club last night.
Skint: Financially broke. I can't go to the pub, because I'm skint.
Spot of bother: Trouble. He got into a spot of bother at the club last night.
Five terms American teens used in 1964:
Bent: Angry. The security guards at the airport were really bent.
Boss: Cool, fantastic. The Beatles are boss!
Gas: A spectacularly fun time. That party was a gas!
Square: Somebody not cool or hip. If you don't like the Beatles, you're a
Weeds: Cigarettes. Do you have any weeds? I'm all out.
Five terms British teens use in 2014:
Butters: An unattractive girl. That one on the telly is butters.
Bruv: Friend. You alright, bruv?
Peng: Sexy, hot. That new boy is well peng.
Safe: Confirmed. Are you coming? Safe.
Savage: Cool. Those boots are savage!
Five terms American teens use in 2014:
Cray: Crazy. That teacher is cray! (also "cray cray," but that's
kinda last year).
Ooh Kill Em: Way to go! You got Miley tickets? Ooh Kill Em!
Ratchet: Messy, disheveled. Her hair is ratchet.
Ship: Endorse a romantic relationship. Ross and Laura? I ship it.
Swag: Everything's OK. You're driving? Swag.
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