12 90s Slang Terms That Should Be Banned Forever (Or Used In Jest)

Slang can define a time period. Once thought of as being the voice of criminals and foreigners, slang evolved as writers began using and creating their own. Of course, television and movies have caused an explosion of new terms and in today’s age, slang is not the mark of felons but of youth who have an unfettered need to express themselves, their culture, and their independence. If we look back in history, the word “slang” originated sometime between 1750 and 1760.

The word “dude” first appeared in the 1870s and using the word “bad” to mean “good” began as early as 1897. Describing your clothes as “threads” came about in the 1940s, and in the ‘60s “skirt” was used to describe a girl. Taking a look at slang in the ‘80s, we see phrases such as “grody,” “gnarly,” “stoked,” “cool beans,” and “don’t have a cow!” And while slang never seems to entirely disappear, it certainly comes in waves.

The ‘90s were a time of landline phones, dial-up internet, renting a movie from Blockbuster, trying to keep your Tomagachi alive, and wearing flannel while eating a Lunchable. ‘90s slang blossomed through movies like Clueless and Ace Ventura, tv shows like Friends and Seinfeld, and songs like “Whoomp! (There It Is)”. It would be interesting to see a resurgence of slang from the ‘90s today, where people could “take a chill pill” while they “Netflix and Chill”, or your bae could ask you, “How you doin’?” in that Joey Tribbiani kind of way.

So let’s take a trip down memory lane and reconnect with the slang of our times. It’s just as ridiculous as you remember it.

Related-ish: Who Would You Date In The Battle Of The ’90s TV Boyfriends?


A way of saying you were all right. And yes, it sounded as dumb as it looks.

All that

Basically, this means “as good as it gets.” Occasionally this was lengthened to “all that and a bag of chips.”

Alrighty then


A phrase meant to acknowledge that someone has just done something weird or stupid. Thanks to Jim Carrey, we all looked like stupid idiots as we tried to be exactly like him.

As if


We can credit Alicia Silverstone in Clueless for this one. It’s a way of saying “I definitely don’t believe that,” “I’m not into that,” or “I can’t believe they think that.”


A way of saying you’re really damn excited about something. This phrase was often used while watching sports. We all sounded ridiculous.

Da bomb

If something was ridiculously awesome, it was “da bomb.” It was a great way to make a compliment, and if you wanted to be extra fancy you could tell that person that they were “da bomb diggity.”


Yes. Fugly means exactly what you think. Fucking ugly. What a terrible, demeaning term. Let’s bury this one forever.

How YOU doin’?


This phrase, coined from Friends, is a simple pickup line. I’m doing well, Joey Tribbiani. Very. Well.

Psych (or Sike)

Said to take back your previous statement. As in, “Dudes! I just won the lottery….psych!” /

Take a chill pill

Said to someone who is totally stressed. “Calm down! Take a chill pill!” I’m glad this one never stuck around.

Talk to the hand


This annoying AF phrase was meant as a way to dismiss what someone else has said, along with an ever-so-rude hand gesture to accompany the snide remark.



Yes, you guessed it. This simply means “What’s up?” But people often stuck their big dumb tongues out of their mouths to make themselves seem that much more ridiculous.

Related-ish: What Your Favorite ’90s Female TV Character Says About You

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