Special Report

Words and Phrases Baby Boomers Say That No One Else Understands

Ric Manning / Wikimedia Commons

Every generation has words or phrases that distinguish it from previous generations, and Baby Boomers are no different. The Michael Myers Austin Powers movies that were a send-up of ‘60s-era spy flicks was a reminder of how far removed we are from the slang of that bygone era.

24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of words and phrases Baby Boomers say that no else understands, drawing on sources including Your Dictionary, BestLife, and Owlcation

Certain styles from the children of the ‘60s, such as tie-dye shirts and bell-bottom jeans may endure (or come back), but the argot of Boomers sounds as dated today as the slang from the Depression and the 1940s that their parents spoke. (For another look back, here’s a list of 15 popular toys when Baby Boomers were kids.)

Much of the jargon of ‘60s youth was influenced by drug usage (“bogart,” “doobie,” “getting fried”), rock ‘n’ roll lyrics (“it’s a gas” from “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” by the Rolling Stones; “right on” from “Theme from ‘Shaft’” by Isaac Hayes; “out of sight” from the song of the same name by James Brown), the hippie lifestyle (“flower child,” “groovy,” “head trip”), and protests against the Vietnam War (“flower power,” “The Man”). 

Click here to see words and phrases Baby Boomers say that no one else understands

Some of these words and phrases date back long before even the oldest Baby Boomers were born. “Bread” was a term for money as early as the 1930s (and incidentally bread’s pre-baked form, “dough,” has been applied to money since the Civil War era). “Trippin’” (spelled with a final “g”) was first recorded with its current meaning of being under the influence of drugs in the 1920s. “Mellow,” meaning relaxed after smoking marijuana, dates from 1946. (Here are 10 words that don’t mean what you think they do.)

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Blow one’s mind
> Meaning: Amaze, strongly affect


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> Meaning: Hog a marijuana joint

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> Meaning: Leaving in haste, going very fast


Source: Kativ / E+ via Getty Images

> Meaning: Money

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> Meaning: A marijuana cigarette


Source: Public Domain / Rawpixel

Far out
> Meaning: Excellent, awesome; a phrase of approval

Source: michelangeloop / iStock via Getty Images

Flower child
> Meaning: A hippie, especially one wearing flowers in their hair

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Flower power
> Meaning: The peace-and-love ideology of flower children (see above), especially by anti-war protesters during Vietnam War era


Source: atlantic-kid / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

> Meaning: Police

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Getting fried
> Meaning: Getting high on drugs, getting very drunk


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Gimme some skin
> Meaning: Shake my hand

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Hang loose
> Meaning: Relax, live in the moment

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> Meaning: Enjoyable, out of sight (see above)


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> Meaning: Disgusting, revolting, filthy

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> Meaning: Excellent, awesome; a phrase of approval (see “far out,” above)


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> Meaning: An inhibition, problem, source of difficulty

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Head trip
> Meaning: Mentally stimulating experience (as with LSD), ego trip, something confusing or deceiving

> Meaning: Serious, meaningful, of great import


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Keep on truckin’
> Meaning: Don’t be discouraged, keep going

Source: Tom Kelley Archive / Retrofile RF via Getty Images

Lay it on me
> Meaning: Tell me what’s on your mind, give me something


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Making the scene
> Meaning: Showing up for an event or party

Source: cabhc / Flickr

The Man
> Meaning: An authority figure, a policeman, the government

> Meaning: Laid back, less agitated or aggressive, often after smoking marijuana


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The munchies
> Meaning: Hunger or imagine hunger, often after smoking marijuana

Out of sight
> Meaning: Great, cool; a term of approval


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Peel out
> Meaning: Leave fast and usually loudly, as in a car

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> Meaning: Outsmart, deceive/excited, mentally ready

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Right on
> Meaning: I strongly agree, good for you


Source: master1305 / iStock via Getty Images

> Meaning: Disgusting person

Source: LumiNola / E+ via Getty Images

Spaced out
> Meaning: Distracted; not fully conscious of one’s surroundings, often after taking drugs


Source: Bobbushphoto / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

> Meaning: Under the influence of drugs, usually LSD or some other psychedelic

Source: AaronAmat / iStock via Getty Images

Up tight
> Meaning: Anxious, nervous, rigidly conservative

Source: RapidEye / iStock via Getty Images

Way out
> Meaning: Beyond explanation, very unusual


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What’s your bag?
> Meaning: What are you interested in? What’s your problem?

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