Slang: Is it bunk or tight?

Whether you think it’s hella cool or completely ridonkulous, slang is seeping into the language and settling into dictionaries.
Friday, May 13, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:26 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 6, 2008

It's not what you say; it's how you say it.

Generation after generation has spoken its mind through slang, and college students are no different.

Occasionally, someone tries to compile a slang dictionary of sorts — to, you know, connect with the college crowd. Judi Sanders, a communications professor, did this with her College Slang Research Project at California State Polytechnic University in the ’90s.

But that's so last century — and beside the point. A slang term might never make it to a dictionary, as it will most likely have played out before the rest of the world becomes aware of its presence.

So, here is a random sampling of slang terms used by college students in Columbia, assembled by the Missourian’s sweet education team. Sadly, some of the terms can’t run in a family newspaper, and you'll never know those.

Unless you're hella cool.

The Good

balla/baller (n.) Someone who performs well or has a lot of money. “Those MU alumni are ballers.” (adj.) Generic positive. Interchangeable with fly, in the house, killer, phat, sic(k), slays, sweet, tight, wins. “Krysten, your outfit tonight is the!”

heart (v.) Love. Denotes a more casual affinity towards a person, place, or thing. “I heart reporting for U Town.”

hoppin’ (adj) Lively. “The quad was hoppin’ when the weather turned warm.”

like whoa (adj.) A lot. “I need an A in this class like whoa.”

The Bad

my bad (phrase) My fault; my mistake. “‘It was my bad that I signed you up for the wrong class,’ said the registrar.”

playa/player (n.) A person who dates many others at the same time, usually without letting them know. “Joe is such a player; I saw him with Tina today and Karla last night.”

scrub (n.) Ambitionless male; freeloader, not dateable material. “Jake is a scrub — he lives with his mama, and he's 27 years old!”


barrel (n. ) Term for keg. If there are two kegs, it is a double barrel. “That party is going to have a double barrel.”

derailed (n.) To be extremely intoxicated, to the point of belligerence. “Hey, Professor, want to get derailed with us after this semester is over?”

faded (adj.) Intoxicated, drunk. Interchangeable with obliterated, smashed, wasted. “After four beers, the students at the football game were faded.”


chill (v., adj.) to hang out, relax with friends. Can also be used to describe a place, atmosphere, person that is laid-back, easy-going. “My friends and I like to chill at Harpo’s on Thursday nights.”

crib (n.) House. Interchangeable with pad. “I bet the chancellor's crib is hella sweet!”

holla at you/me (phrase) Talk to you later. “As my parents left for home, I yelled, ‘I’ll holla at you soon!’”

digits (n.) Phone number. “Can I have your digits so I can holla at you later?”

finna (v.) Going to. “I finna go to class today.”

get on my level (phrase) Try to be like someone, do what he/she does, understand him/her. “Southwest Missouri State is trying to get on our level with that whole name change thing.”

in my grill (phrase) In my personal space. “With more than 300 students in my lecture class, someone is constantly in my grill.”

ride (n.) Car, vehicle. “I’m getting a new ride for graduation.”

spent (adj.) To be done with something, completely finished, can't take anymore. “After a meal at Plaza 900 and the unlimited food, I’m spent.”

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