Slang terms from the 80s

Popular phrases and slang words we used while growing up in the 1980s. Definition and description of 80s slang.

Slang terms from the 80s
airhead n. A stupid or unaware person; moron, dim-wit. Origin: term implies that there is nothing but air in the subject’s head. ("He’s confused again. What an airhead!")  Unrenounced to popular belief, Valley Girls did not invent this word.  It was used to describe them.
awesome \Awe"some\, a. 1. Causing awe; appalling; awful; as, an awesome sight.  In the 80’s, if something was cool, it was awesome.  See also bad.
bad adj. very good, excellent; Cool, Awesome. See also awesome.
bad to the bone The group George Thorogood & the Destroyers had a hit in the early 80’s that had started this quote.  The movie Fast Times At Ridgmont High was bad to the bone!  See also bad.
barf bag A type of insult.  Something Jo on The Facts of Life might of called Blair for spilling something on her homework.
barf me out You might of heard this come from a Valley Girl after you’ve said something offensive to her.  Also used to describe something you do not particularly like.
bimbette The use of bimbo would of been too outdated for use in the 80’s.  Bimbette would be used instead of calling a girl a "slut".  Also used to describe a girl who is stupid.
bodacious An 80’s guy’s way to describe a woman who had a beautiful body.  She is bodacious with gnarly ta-tas. See also gnarly & ta-tas for descriptions.
bogus/bogue Unfair or unfortunate.  Having one night to do a termpaper is so bogus!
boinking Having sex.  Some say Bruce Willis’s character on Moonlighting created this word.
boho A bohemian or artist.  From the late 80’s this word emerged.  Probably from the Soho art district in Manhattan.
bomb Adj.  Something favorable.  See also awesome.
boy toy A word to describe a cute guy used as a toy for older woman.  Madonna invented this one with her "Boy Toy" belt on her 1984 Like a Virgin album.
butt ugly Adj. Unattractive to the sight.
cheesy/cheezy Adj. 1. In poor taste; lame, corny. The gift I received was really cheesy.  2. Overly sentimental or insincere.
chill v 1. to relax; hang out. Let’s go chill at your place.  Dude, just chill.  Made popular by black Americans in the rap phase of the 80’s.
choice Extremely Cool
chocoholic Word to describe an alcoholic.  Became a somewhat popular word during the Nancy Reagan "Just Say No" era.
clydesdale Big, all-American boy.  Meant as a word of praise.  Usually used by mid-80’s preppy girls.
couch potato Someone who sits in front of the TV on their couch or sofa.  With the boom of cable, MTV and home video, more people parked their butts on their couches.  Hence the term couch potato.
crack The most addictive form of cocaine.   Not in the form of powder, but crystallized into a hardened form used to smoke.  Popularized in 1985.
deep shit Word meaning you were in trouble.  We are in deep shit!
dick/dickbrain/dickhead A major 80’s comeback.  Cock was a bit harsh to use for calling someone a dick, so these words emerged to describe someone who is unpleasant and/or stupid.
dink Two incomes with no kids.  A couple of yuppies with lots of money to burn.
dipstick n  An unintelligent person; moron, dim-wit; idiot.  Popularized by "Boss Hogg" on TV’s The Dukes of Hazzard.  Also used instead of using the word dick.  See also dick/dickbrain/dickhead.
ditz A less harsh way of describing a person who is not very smart.  See also airhead.
do lunch One of the most used phrases in the 80’s.  Notoriously used by yuppies to get together for power lunches or mixing lunch with business.  Lets do lunch.  One of the few surviving phrases of the 80’s ,used in the 90’s and possibly beyond!
do the nasty Having sex.  They were doing the nasty last night when I tried to call her.
do/doing the wild thing To have sex.  Popularized by Ton Loc’s 1989 hit "Wild Thing".  Not used too often today.  See also do the nasty and boinking.
dweeb Geek, nerd.  Someone who is not "in".
eat my shorts Phrase used as a comeback.  Heavily in use in the 80’s and also used on TV’s The Simpsons.  If someone was to put you down in anyway, you can reply with this phrase.
eat shit and die An extreme phrase and implies death on the part of the person on the receiving end.  Most of the time, not literally.  Used in the mid-80’s.
ecstasy/X/XTC "Designer drug" used to enhance sensations while dancing.  Gained popularity in the early 80’s.  This drug is still popular if not more popular throughout the 90’s among teens and young adults on the party scene.
eurofag Word used by Americans to describe usually British singers or bands of the early 80’s.
eurotrash Europeans who were rich that frequented the club scene in the early to mid 80’s.
fag Gay, queer.  This term for the most part, was not meant to describe homosexuals or homosexuality. Slang to replace the phrase "You queer" or the early 80’s.  See also art fag, eurofag, fag bashing, fag tag.
fag tag The little loop on the back of your polo shirt.  Despite someone’s actual sexual preference, people joked of pulling this tag while fag bashing the person who is wearing the polo shirt.
for sure/fer shur To stress what you are saying.  Usually in a valley type accent.  Fer shur, fer shur dude!
flamer An actual or openly gay guy.  See also fag.
fresh Cool, new.  Duran Duran’s new album is so fresh!
fuck’n A General displeasure of and event and also can be used to show that someone likes something immensely. Fuck’n A, this traffic is terrible! -or- Fuck’n A, the Prince concert was awesome!
gag me with a spoon A typical Valley Girl response to something you dislike.  Not meant to be taken literally.
galpal a spin on boy toy, used to describe a guy’s girlfriend or a girl’s girlfriend.  Also used to describe a woman who is not openly gay.
gang banging Belonging to an urban street gang.  Also used to describe a group of guys having sex with one girl.
get horizontal Having sex.  See also do the nasty, do/doing the wild thing and boinking.
gnarly Very good.  Not commonly used today.  She is gnarly!
grody really, really gross.  Sometimes used with: Grody to the max!  Max being a degree of grossness.
gross out/grotesque To make someone sick.  Most of the time – not literally.
hacker Computer genius.  In WarGames, Mathew Broderick played a hacker.
have a cow Being overly excited or to make a big deal out of something.
hellacious Bad, not good.
homeboy Used in the early 80’s to describe someone who is a gang banger.  Later used to describe a black male – which was okay for blacks to use this word.  And even later was accepted to be used by all do describe a black guy.
hoser Loser, jerk.  Rob Moranis & Dave Thomas as "Bob and Doug McKenzie" made this a popular slang word.  See also take off/take off to the great white north.
house music Disco type dance music, very repetitive.  See also acid house and deep house.
ill Uncool, unhip.  "You be illin’".  Sometimes used if someone looks under the weather, unhappy or even if they have suffered a catastrophe.
JAP Jewish American Princess.  Also used to describe a prissy Jewish girl who dresses preppy, spoiled and is a sexual tease.
joanie A boring, not-so-hip girl.  From the 70s and 80s show Happy Days, Erin Moran, the character of Joanie Cunningham the unhip girl of the 50s.
joystick Used in place of dick.  From the accessory used with the Atari 2600.
"Just Say No" First Lady, Nancy Reagan’s slogan of the early 80’s.  Sometimes thought of as an oversimplified slogan aimed to teach kids not to use drugs.
lame Used to describe something or someone who is not cool or acceptable.
like A word used before every sentence in the 80’s.  "Like, are you going to the prom?"
major To stress something you say, immensely.  "You are a major dipstick, Major!"
mall chick Girl who spends most of her time at the mall.  Big meeting place of the 80’s.
networking To meet well-connected people at parties.  Sometimes old friends and most of the time, new people. A way for yuppies to get ahead and make connections.
new wave A type of heavily synthesized pop music performed by groups like A Flock of Seagulls, Duran Duran, The Busboys, Thompson Twins and Eurasure. A form of disco that had an essence of the future.  This spun off people who dressed "new wave".  Lots of mouse or gel in the hair, makeup on the face, loud colors, etc.
o-rama Suffix you affix to a word to describe the whole spectrum of the meaning.  "He is a Dweeb-o-rama".  Meaning, you are describing someone that is every sense of that word.
out Explaining that someone is "out of the closet" or openly gay.  "She is out finally."
out the door A suffix used at the end of a phrase.  "Gag me out the door."  Meaning, something gaged them so much they had to leave the room.
paninaro Italian slang for a person or persons who are fashion conscious.  Came from the Pet Shop Boys with their song "Paninaro".
party hearty/party hardy To party excessively.
PC 1. Personal Computer (early 80s)  2. Political correctness.
pencil you in To tentively set an appointment with someone.  If you were not sure you will make the appointment, you would say, "I’ll pencil you in, just in case something comes up".
penis-breath A toned down version of telling someone they enjoy giving oral sex to men.  "Nice going, penis-breath"!
phat To be phat is a good thing.  If someone says you are phat, it doesn’t mean you are overweight. Sort of like telling someone they are bad.  A term still used today.  See also bad.
Poser A ‘wannabe’ spin off
preppie/preppy A collegiate type, someone who wore Polo or Izod shirts, deck shoes and a cloth belt.  Preppies usually grew up to be yuppies.  See also yuppies.
psych A term meaning "gotcha"!  Psych was usually used after telling someone something not true.
queer An early 80’s way of saying someone is gay.  Not necessarily true though.  See also fag.
rad/radical If something is rad, it’s not only attractive, it’s attractive immensely.
rap Speaking or singing rhythmically over a beat in the background.  One who raps is a rapper.
road pizza Road kill. A dead animal on the road.
rush/head rush Big thrill.  "That roller coaster was such a head rush"!
schmooze To kiss up to someone.  Yuppies schmoozed their way to the top of their field.
scumbag An undesirable  person. Scumbag in the 80s did not mean condom.
shitting bricks One that is extremely nervous.
skank 1. Physically dirty, filth 2. Immorally dirty. 3. Disapproval
slamdance Punk teens throwing themselves while "dancing", trying to harm either themselves or others for enjoyment.  The same sort of dancing resides today in mosh pits.
spazzing Overly excited.  An exaggeration of being excited.
stoked To be ready to do something.
stud A macho guy, man or teenager.  Guys used to call each other studs as well as woman referring to a good looking guy as a stud.  Also used to describe a man who is sexually active.
sucks Disapproval of something or someone.  "This sucks". -or- "He sucks".
ta-tas A woman’s breasts.
take off/take off to the Great White North A Canadian expression made popular by Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas who played "Bob and Doug McKenzie" in the beer guzzling movie Strange Brew.  They also did a song with Geddy Lee of Rush named Take Off to the Great White North.  They emphasized the Canadian accent in their movies and recordings.  Saying ‘eh after each sentence. See also hoser.
to the max To the extreme.  Taking it to the max or maximum level.
totally Another way to stress what one is saying.  "That is totally tubular".  -or- "School is totally uncool".
tubular Something that is cool.  Something overwhelming. "Tubular, totally tubular."
UV Ultraviolet rays.  "I’m going to the beach to catch some UV’s."
Valley Girl/Val Airheaded, spoiled girls in California’s San Fernando Valley. Later, valley girl talk or valspeak inhabited the 80s across America.  A Valley Girl would of said something like: "That stud is like, omygod, so rad!"
veg Term used to describe chilling out or taking it easy.  Derived from the word vegetable or someone who is paralyzed.  A couch potato would be a veg.  See also couch potato.
wannabe A person who would like to be like someone else. Usually a pop star or a person in the public eye.  There were lots of Madonna wannabe’s in the mid-80s.
WASP White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.  To be a WASP in the 80s was to be very "white" or well-to-do. A yuppie could be called a WASP.  See also yuppie.
wicked Another word for good, radical or bad.  See radical and bad.  "She is wicked nice."
yuppie Young urban professional -or- young upwardly mobile professional.  A well educated, career oriented, almost always white and driven by lots of money.  This person is also into the social scene especially if it could better their business or career.