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Everything Is Copacetic With This Boomer Slang

Groovy

Fashionable and exciting; enjoyable and excellent.

“Groovy” had a lot of meanings throughout the 20th century. It was derived from the American jazz phrase “in the groove,” so it originally meant “performing well” in the 1930s. By the 1940s, “groovy” was a stand-in for words such as “excellent,” “first-rate,” and “wonderful.” It reached peak popularity in the ’60s before becoming outdated by the ’80s.

Freak Flag

Used in reference to the open, proud, or defiant exhibition of traits regarded as unconventional.

Boomers can thank rock ’n’ roll trailblazer Jimi Hendrix for this one. In his 1967 hippie anthem “If 6 Was 9,” Hendrix exclaims, “But I'm going to wave / My freak flag high, high ow!” While “freak” on its own is more derogatory today, “freak flag” is still used on occasion, with the celebratory metaphor serving as a lasting nod to the counterculture movement of the ’60s.

Foxy

Attractive or sexy; cunning or sly.

Today, calling someone “foxy” will elicit a few laughs, but in the ’60s it was quite the compliment. It was first used as “crafty or cunning” (in reference to the animal) in the 1520s, but it wouldn’t come to mean “attractive” until the late 1800s. The word had a resurgencein the 1960s, as seen in the Jimi Hendrix song “Foxy Lady.” The word “foxy” later evolved to be more of a punchline, such as in Foxxy Cleopatra, the name of Béyonce’s character in the 2002 film Austin Powers in Goldmember, which was set in 1975.

Used euphemistically for an unspecified part of the body; generally understood as equivalent to “butt.”

“You bet your (sweet) bippy!” This famous phrase was popularized in the late 1960s on the American television show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. “Bippy” is a PG slang term for buttocks, hindquarters, rump, caboose, etc. There is no solid case for the word’s origin, but some etymologists say it’s related to “biped” (an animal with two feet), while others point to the Yiddish word for “naval,” pipik/pupik. Both seem to be a stretch — likely, it’s just a nonsense word chosen for its funny sound.

Copacetic

In excellent order.

In the ’60s and ’70s, if everything was “copacetic,” it was all good. The phrase might date back to the 1880s in Black communities in the American South, but the etymological root of the word is unclear. Leading origin theories include Hebrew’s kol be sedher (“everything is in order”), the Creole coupèstique (“able to be coped with”), the Italian cappo sotto (“OK”), or the Chinook copacete (“everything’s all right”). One sure thing: Early 20th-century entertainer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson is credited with popularizing it through his catchphrase, “Everything’s copacetic.”

Boogie

Dance to fast pop or rock music; move or leave somewhere fast.

Kool & the Gang might have described it best: “Jungle boogie (Get down with the boogie) / Jungle boogie (Shake it around)...” In the ’70s, partygoers weren’t just dancing — they were boogieing. This synonym for “dance” originatedin the ’60s as a noun describing a style of rock music with blues influences, characterized by a strong, fast beat. Its natural progression from a music term into the dance lexicon seems inevitable.

Cool Beans

Used to express approval or delight.

The year is 1964 and kids around America shriek, “Cool beans!” as they open their brand-new Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots. This phrasehung around in pop culture for a few more decades, all the way through the early ’90s, when it was a favorite of DJ Tanner on the sitcom Full House. While the sentiment is simple, the history of the phrase is complicated. “Cool beans” might come from the Australian slang “bean,” meaning “the epitome of fashion,” but more likely, it came from the mid-19th-century phrase “some beans,” used for something impressive. “Some beans” came from the even older phrase “full of beans” — stable jargon used to describe lively race horses that were fed beans to make them run faster.

The Skinny

Confidential information on a particular person or topic.

Just as Gen Zers might get “the tea,” boomers got “the skinny.” This is the gossip, the latest news, or the 411. The phrase likely started as military slang during WWII, relating to the “naked truth,” much as “skinny dipping” also means “naked swimming.”

Doofus

A stupid person.What ’60s kid didn’t call their sibling a “doofus” at least once or twice? “Doofus” could describe someone who made a stupid decision, but it was also a word that a bully might use for a nerd. It might have transformed from a combination of the slang words “doo-doo” and “goofus,” or from the Scottish word “doof” (also meaning “dolt” or “stupid”).Fe

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