’90s Phrases That Deserve A Place In Your Daily Vocab

Life & Culture Editor
Alicia Silverstone Clueless 90s slang


It’s been a while since we waved goodbye to the ’90s, a.k.a the best decade ever, from behind our novelty New Year’s glasses (the kind where your eyes went behind the 00s in 2000), many of us wondering whether the phrases we loved — dude, dude!!, boo ya! — would be trampled by the march of time. Because while every decade’s slang is beautiful in its own unique way (except for the 1880s, that was a linguistic sh*t show), it’s hard to imagine any 10-year stretch having the same ear-tickling magic as the span between 1990 and 1999.

Here in 2016, everything ’90s is suddenly cool again — so feel free to let the following phrases return to your lexicon immediately.

As if

Meaning: Oh, hell naw!

Why it needs to make a comeback: This is what happens when an “I’d rather die” and a very expressive eye roll fall in love and make a baby.

As if isn’t just a phrase — it’s an entire array of emotions. It can be used to convey shock, outrage, and disbelief. It can encourage — “Financial trouble? As if! We’ll pay off our student loans in two years with these amazing jobs at Netscape!” — or insult — “You think I added her on Friendster on purpose? As if!”

It’s versatile, clean, and gets your message across.

Plus, it would bring Alicia Silverstone back into the public consciousness in a good way — something that we desperately need after seeing those pictures of her feeding her kid like a baby bird.

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Meaning: a lot; really; very

Why it needs to make a comeback: Some of us (Sacramento represent!) haven’t given up on this word despite its waning popularity. It’s even been added to the dictionary, which makes it totally gnarly (a word that doesn’t need to come back).

Hella is just so much fun to say! And it means so much! Are you happy? Express it by saying you’re feeling “hella good.” Broken-hearted? You’re “hella crushed.” Angry at your best friend for moving in on your ex even though you told him not to in third period? You’re “hella pissed” and there’s nothing wrong with that. Hella nothing.

Here’s the Hella anthem. Incidentally, it’s from 2001.

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