Slang City Mail

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January 25, 2007
Slang of the Week: stoked (adjective)
Abner was totally stoked on Thursday when he found out for once he wouldn't have to shovel coal at work.
Celebrity quote:
"I'm stoked. I have to find the right word, and 'stoked' is O.K."
-Actor Forest Whitaker on his recent best actor Oscar nomination
It is difficult for me to see the word stoked without thinking of California stoners (marijuana users), surfer dudes (men who surf) and skateboarders. True, others may use it, but it's one of those teenage boy words that sounds a bit odd when spoken by a bona fide adult. Maybe that's why the 45-year-old Whitaker, nominated for his portrayal of Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland, makes note that stoked is just "O.K." as a word to describe his happiness.
Whitaker clearly has a familiarity with such words. One of his first acting roles was in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which starred Sean Penn as the ultimate California stoner and surfer dude.
But this was not the only California surfer dude-type word I heard this week in a strange context. In a television advertisement I saw last night, a man enters his living room and his teenage son calls out, "Dad, those jeans are tight!" The father, not being a surfer dude or teenage boy, is initially confused because the jeans are, in fact, loose.
His son is describing the jeans with the meaning that's been gaining popularity since the 90s-that they are cool. When Dad catches on, he tries (unsuccessfully) to sound young and current by responding, "Keep it rizzle, my shizzle!" (a bad translation of last year's Snoop Dogg style for "Stay genuine, my friend.") One more of those surfer dude words and I'll be inspired to ignore the 12 degree temperature (that's -11 for you Celsius folks!) and hit the waves in Boston Harbor.
What's new?
"All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I'm fine." I couldn't resist--translated quotes from that 1982 classic, Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Take a look in our bookstore for books and DVDs on all kinds of slang! This week's pick: Slang U, a book on college slang by Pamela Munro and her UCLA students