Greg HewittBy Greg Hewitt

Seeing as how we’re kicking off a “Totally 80’s Weekend” today (Friday) at Noon, I thought a refresher course in 80’s slang would be in order.

Yes, people really spoke like this back in the 80’s.

Gag Me With A Spoon

Similar to barf me out, but a bit more versatile in the world of Valley-speak. “History homework again? Gag me with a spoon,” or the stronger “Your boyfriend took you to a Barry Manilow concert? Gag me with a spoon!”

Grody To The Max

This little etymological nugget will always have a soft spot in my heart. It is used by Loryn (well, a version of it anyway) in the opening scene of the best all time 80s movie, Valley Girl. This phrase communicates that something is gross and distasteful and just ought not to exist. Think of that dude sitting one row up and over from you in 9th grade history class and his totally cheesy peach-fuzz mustache, complimented by his mullet and muscle shirt – that is like, grody to the max!


The most ubiquitous slang term to have originated in the 80s, like is a word which has managed to go the distance and work its way into the daily vocabulary of every generation of teenager to have been spawned since. Like is so infinitely malleable that it replaced “um” amongst Valley Girls and served to punctuate every expression, sentence or exclamation. “Like, did he like totally just like hang up on you? That is like, just like the height of like disrespect. Like, will you like dump him now or like after he takes you the dance of Friday?”


An offshoot of awesome. “Radical” meant that it was awesome, of course, but also edgy and bold. A slightly tougher, grittier, more modern version of “awesome”.

White tank top + parachute pants + big plastic jewelry = awesome.

Black mesh top over purple bra + leather miniskirt + half-shaved head = TOTALLY RADICAL!

What’s Your Damage?

Simply put, it’s the phrase “what’s your problem?” stuffed into a time machine and sent back to the era when Heathers ruled the box office. It can also be used to imply that someone else is an idiot for having a specific opinion, or for doing a certain thing: “You like Wham! but not Tony Basil? What’s your damage?”

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