90s slang that time forgot

90's slang that time forgot

I was born in the mid-80s, so the 90s were some of my best and most awkward years. I watched Clueless on repeat. I owned a thousand scrunchies and I had the SICKEST inflatable backpack.

Before we begin this delightful round-up of slang, I should point out that I still use many of these words in my everyday life. This could be indicative of my inability to move on, or just my love of nostalgic terms. Either way, I think we can all agree that it's a trifle sad.

I would also like to mention that most of this slang works far better (both verbally and in written form) when used in conjunction with the word 'totally'. In fact, to smash 90s slang, just add 'totally' to everything.

You get me? Totally.

Off we go...


This term is used to describe an unsavoury individual who is sleazy and sexually persistent (usually a dude). Skeezeballs are most commonly found at house parties, bars and shopping mall food courts.

That douchebag with the frosted tips keeps trying to buy me a drink—he's a total skeeze.


"Wicked" is a positive term, often brought into play to express extreme pleasure or agreement. I still use this term. I'm confident I'm the only person who does.

She had such a wicked scrunchie.


This word started out as one thing and slowly morphed into another as the 90s ran its course. It started life in the rap scene and was used to name that jacked up state between high and drunk. Because crunk people are so extreme, the term later came to mean lively, excited and full of energy. Being around crunk people can be draining and irritating.

Dude—going to the doughnut shop gets me so crunk.


I'm intimately acquainted with this word because I use it about myself all the time. To be 'fly' is to be really cool. To quote The Offspring...

I'm pretty fly (for a white guy).


For something to be slammin', it should be out-of-this-world cool. It can be used as an enthusiastic superlative, like 'bangin', 'wicked' or 'off the hook'.

That Cownley chick is totally slammin'.


Back in the 90s, you didn't just exit a social situation (or an AOL chatroom), you informed everyone that you were going to 'bounce'. For example:

This party is skeeze-central. Let's bounce.


We've got a few terms to cover off positive superlatives, but what about when something isn't so great? Back in the 90s, you'd describe something negative by using the word 'wack'.

I just lost all my Pogs in a game with Paul. It was totally wack.


The word 'cowabunga' is originally from the 50s, was made popular by surfers in the 60s and eventually landed squarely in the lap of 90s kids, thanks to the popular cartoon series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It's a positive exclamation to express joy in awesome situations. Tip for usage: it's criminal to say 'cowabunga' without also using the word 'dude'.

Friend:I just heard that there's a 50% off sale on at ASOS
Me:Cowabunga, dude!
Friend:I don't think we should be friends anymore...


This clever little word is brought into play when you want to instantly undo everything you just said, by revealing that you were—in fact—only joking. Because you are 'psyching' someone out. Getting them all 'psyched up', then dashing their hopes cruelly.

Check me out—I have an unpublished edition of the final Game of Thronesbook. PSYCHE! Not really! Lolololol

Emma Cownley