Slang City Mail

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December 8, 2005
Slang of the Week: ghetto fabulous (adjective phrase)
showy, vulgar and expensive

After Marie won the lottery, she bought a ghetto fabulous pink SUV with a solid gold steering wheel.

Celebrity quote:
“Take Martha Stewart and Lil' Kim. Stewart is the domestic diva whose name is her brand and whose brand means all that is blissful, serene and homely - fabulous. Lil' Kim is the hip-hop diva whose outfits left little to the imagination and whose lyrics filled whatever gaps were left - ghetto-fabulous.”
-Columnist Gary Younge in the UK Guardian

Younge adds to the definition by telling readers, “Fabulous is for the urbane, who buy gold by the ounce and call it jewelry; ghetto-fabulous is for the urban, who buy their gold by the pound and call it bling.”

The term usually refers to the style of newly wealthy people who grew up in the ghetto—a poor, crowded, urban area where minorities live. Rappers in particular, once they have struck it rich, often show off their wealth with status symbols such as huge diamond watches, spinning gold wheels on their cars, and designer track suits—items in bad taste by “old money” standards.

So who is truly ghetto fabulous? You can decide for yourself at www.ghettofabulous.comModeled on the popular (and somewhat cruel) teen site www.hotornot.comit allows visitors to rank the ghettofabulousness of various people who have submitted photos to the site. But unlike Hot or Not, which uses a scale of one to ten for attractiveness, this site offers six choices. These include ghettofabulous (which few people score), just ghetto, just fabulous and hot mess (ugly).