Vietnam and the military spawned its own slang words which are featured in another article elsewhere on this website…I’ll share the link at the end of this post. This list is more geared to the civilian way of life, many were also used in the military but not exclusively. Some of the reasons slang was used was to add color to what you’re saying, as a form of camaraderie within a group, or even because people just get tired of saying the same things the same old way. You may have noticed that slang changes over time and what was in last year is lame this year; that’s because even slang gets tiresome with use.
People use slang usually in order to fit in with a particular group and usually used in casual or humorous speech. It would not be appropriate to use slang in formal contexts such as in the business or professional world, at school, or in religious settings such as in church. While going through the list, you’ll notice that many different slang words do have the same definition, or are used exclusively on either the East or West coasts.
Here’s a list of words that I compiled along with my definition of the term. How many do you remember? I’m certain there are way more that I’ve overlooked, feel free to leave those words and definitions in the comment section below and I’ll add them to this list. Enjoy!
a drag – boring
a gas – having fun
Afro – curly hairstyle picked out in the shape of a ball predominately used by African Americans – Caucasians got perms for the same look
all show no go – looks good but no power – usually referred to a car on the West Coast
ape – to explode emotionally or become completely irate
bad – awesome
badass – tough guy, troublemaker
ball – sexual intercourse, fun time
beat feet – get away quickly
bitchin – great, awesome
bippy – rear end (butt) [Laugh-In TV show used this frequently, “…you bet your bippy…”)
blast – have a great time
blitzed – drunk, unconscious from overuse of alcohol
blood – African American reference to one another usually in a greeting
blow my mind – unbelievable, indescribable
bogart – hogging all the good stuff and not giving anybody else a turn usually when smoking weed
bogue – underhanded
booking (movement) – running quickly
boozers – group designation of those usually partaking in alcoholic beverages
boss – a great or cool thing
bread – money
brother man – a close friend or acquaintance
bug out – leave quickly
bum trip – waste of time
bummed out – depressed, sad
can ya dig it? – do you understand?
check it out – look at this or that
catch ya on the flipside – see ya on my way back (CB talk)
cherry – pristine, extremely clean, virgin
chill – relax
chuck – African American derogatory reference to a white man
chump – someone who was a loser, an idiot, a fool
Cloud 9 – really happy
Cool – nice
cool head – nice person, trustworthy
cop out – quit, back out
copacetic – very good, no problem
crash – collapse, go to sleep
crash pad – a place to sleep
crib – home
Cruising – the teen pastime of driving up and down the same street looking for girls, guys, car races, or other entertainment
Cutout – leave the scene (split)
decked – knocked out during a fight
decked out – all dressed up
depants – An activity where usually two or more boys physically removed the pants from another boy so as to cause him embarrassment in a group setting.
dibs – to own it – usually used together with “got”. Only one winner to the first person making the request…similar to calling out “shotgun” first
dig – pay attention to this
do me a solid – asking for a favor
Don’t mean nuthin‘ – isn’t an issue, nothing to worry about, it’s nothing at all
don’t sweat it – don’t let it bother you or get you down
don’t flip your wig – don’t get upset or go off on a nut
don’t have a cow – same as above
downer – bummed out, depressing
drag – disappointed with something
dream on – used to show someone they are being unrealistic – will never happen. Usually stated by girls when boys wanted to date them
drop a dime – call or inform someone (cost of phone call back then)
far out – unbelievable, WOW!
five finger discount – the cost for something acquired by theft
flick – a movie
flower child – hippie
fly right – to be honest in all your dealings
foam domes – putting Kleenex or socks in one’s bra.
for real – truthfully, no joke
foxy – undeniable sex appeal
freak out – to lose control over an unpleasant event, panic attack
freaked out – Surprised, dumbstruck and scared, defined as a wildly irrational reaction or spell of behavior.
funky – dual meaning – hip for something good, and raunchy for something bad
fuzz – police
gas – any activity likely to inspire laughter.
get down – relax, no inhibitions, pursuing something with vigor
gig – musician appointment, specific task, demerit
gimme some skin – asking for a handshake or to slide palms
go go boots – cheap, shiny, white, knee-high boots worn with miniskirts
greasers – subculture where men used petroleum jelly in their hair, wore cuffed jeans, ankle high boots and leather jackets. Females wore the same and ratted their hair.
groovin – enjoying something mentally
groovy – outstanding, wonderful, excellent
gumball machine – domed light on a police car
Hang loose – standby, relaxing or taking it easy
Head – someone who used drugs
heavy – deep, chaotic, sad, controversial, (all about emotional weight)
hickey – love bite [bruise from continued sucking – usually on the neck]
hippy – a person of unconventional appearance, typically having long hair, flowery outfits, advocates nonviolence, and often associated with the taking of hallucinogenic drugs.
I’m hip – knowledgeable, keenly aware of something
later – goodbye, see you
lay it on me – speak your piece, tell me what’s on your mind
lip flappin – talking and going on about something unimportant
loaded – intoxicated
Jam – musicians getting together to play music
jazzed – Elated, Excited
Kibosh – to quickly put a stop to something
moon – to show your bare bottom in a prank usually from a car window while driving by
mop top – Beatles style haircut – bangs and shoulder-length hair
old lady – a term of endearment for your girlfriend or wife.
out of sight – unbelievable
off the wall – weird, unusual
passion pit – a drive-in theater
pink belly – when somebody is held down by several people and one person continuously slaps the belly until it turns pink; usually happened during high school sports team initiation
poop – latest information
primo – first class, top of the line
psychedelic – bright dreamy patterns of light or color used by hippies
Queer – something considered odd, dumb or dorky
ride – car, motorcycle, or truck. Method of transportation
right on – exactly, express agreement or encouragement
righteous – virtuous, noble, ethical and moral
scoop – a report or the latest information
score – To obtain something valuable or necessary
shades – sunglasses
shafted – Cheated, humiliated, treated unfairly or badly, (screwed).
shit – reference to an event, the result of something, an emotion, or something specific
shotgun – passenger front seat in a car – seat usually up for grabs within a group when going for a drive. Be the first to call “dibs” or “shotgun”
skag – ugly girl
skanky – Gross, disgusting, trashy
skinny – latest information
solid – Something that is ok or all right.
sosh – preppy, usually wore plaid. Also called “frat”
soul brother – friend reference between the races
spaced out – high on drugs or aloof – not aware of what is going on around him
spade – derogatory term for an African American
spaz – real idiot
split – leave the scene quickly
sponge – a person who never contributes but expects to share from others
square – uncool person – someone who is not with it
stoners – group designation for those who usually partake in weed and drugs
submarine races – a place near water where couples normally parked to make out
The man – normally referencing the government or a person of authority
the pits – worst ever, meaningless
There it is – Yep, I agree, amen, exactly
think fast – usually used to warn you before throwing something at you (heads up)
threads – clothes
tight – as in closest of friends
Trippin – high on drugs, spaced out, zoned out
tube – television
unglued – distraught, losing it, emotional fallout
unreal – unbelievable, lacking in substance
uptight – on edge, tense, nervous, uneasy
wedgie – when somebody forcefully pulls your underwear up from behind so they ‘wedge’ in your butt crack
weirded out – inner feeling of uncomfortableness after coming down from a bad high
what’s your bag, man – what’s wrong with you – the mysterious annoyance that’s making you so obviously upset. Also used when somebody inquired about what somebody did for a living.
wipe out – to have an accident
wiz – to urinate or take a leak
Yeah, you right – I’m in full agreement
zoned out – somebody daydreaming or just staring in space deep in thought
References for this article:
If you are interested in also perusing my list / photos of military slang terms used in Vietnam – click on this link:
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Enjoyed but don’t forget freedom bird- plane that takes you to the USA from Vietnam. Short timer- less than 30 days remaining on tour in Vietnam.
Both of these were included in the Military slang terms article – the link was included at the end of the article. / John
On Fri, Jan 11, 2019 at 10:44 AM CherriesWriter – Vietnam War website wrote:
Wasted— Someone who was killed needlessly.
Wasted is already included in the slang terms for Vietnam.
Yep, we had our own way of speaking, part American, part Vietnamese and part hootched up!