Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

Fifty Words You Wish Old Folks Would Know

with 8 comments

One of my editors asked me and the two interns (median age: 23.3) to look over a potential piece called “Fifty Words Kids Think You Don’t Know” (I work at the AARP, remember). It’s part earnest and part tongue-in-cheek, which makes it kind of fun, but it’s led us to all sorts of debates. For instance:

1) What is the proper use of the word “crackberry?” The author has it listed as an adjective (“my crackberry friend …”), but we all agree we’ve always only heard it used to mean the device itself.

2) How does one succinctly and clearly describe Twitter?

3) Are things like ‘blog’ and the use of google as a verb too obvious? Or should they go on the list?


Also: What is the one word/term/phrase/concept/etc. you wish adults these days would stop asking you to explain (assuming you’re, like, under 35)? We’ve got a circulation of 22.5 million, people. This is your chance.


Written by Elizabeth

July 24, 2008 at 3:26 pm

Posted in Culture, Gen Y

Tagged with , ,

8 Responses

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  1. I think that “google” is pretty wide-spread as a verb. “blog” is one that my mom asks me about almost every time it comes up in conversation, so either my mom is less savvy than i thought ((which is sad, because i wasn’t giving her that much credit to being with)) or “blog” is still slightly under the radar.

    i don’t know if this will help, but i’ve noticed that a handful of grown ups have been confused with using the work “sick” as a good thing. the same goes for “raw.” and this is just an observation i’m hoping to have explained to me. when/why did people start using “Legit?” mc hammer would be so proud.

    good luck with the research. if i think of anything else, i will let you know.


    July 24, 2008 at 6:02 pm

  2. I think the verb “to google” just makes it in. I think adults think it’s kid slang, but are still kind of amused when its used in a professional setting. But come on- saying “I looked it up on a search engine” just sounds lame.

    Re: Crackberry. An adjective? No.

    “Facebooked” or “friended” as a verb. As in “Oh my god, Uncle Jim just friended me on Facebook. No.”

    “To post” something on a blog or Facebook. Whenever I mention something on Facebook to my mom, I always say I “sent [Blank] and email over Facebook” rather than “I posted something on [Blank]’s wall.” I dunno why.

    Okay, just Facebook in general, I guess. Our boss, a good 30 years older than anyone else in the office, seriously asked us if we thought going on Facebook would be a good opportunity for the company. We all said no before he even finished asking. We had trouble explaining to him why, because he obviously hadn’t looked at Facebook at all.

    What else? “Baby-mama” cannot be used as a synonym for wife. And should not be used by anyone over the age of 35.

    My own personal favorite is my mother’s misuse of the word ‘single’ to mean only ‘not married.’ As in “Remember Jonah? He lives in DC. He’s single.” “Ooo, he’s not dating anyone?” “Well, he’s living with his girlfriend.” “Then he’s not single!”

    I wish I could think of more.


    July 24, 2008 at 6:13 pm

  3. […] asked her and the two interns (median age: 23.3) to look over a piece (she works at AARP) called Fifty Words Kids Think You Don’t Know. Tired of explaining to your mom what a crackberry is. Here’s your chance to set the record […]

  4. An: ‘Sick’ is on the list already. I have never heard anybody say legit?

    EE: I passed on this whole comment to my editor, even though it’s not very useful, but just because I found it hilarious.

    Related facebook story: while I was home in Ohio, my dad got on this “So tell me about Facebook” kick with me and my sister around the breakfast table. We eventually just ended up showing him the If Facebook Were Real Life video.

    I always just use ’email’ too! My mom will say, “Do you keep in touch with so-and-so [read: obscure person from high school/third-grade-sporting-team/someone I met at the dentist’s office once}. And-provided we’re communicative facebook or some other type of online circuitry friends-I’ll just say, “oh yeah, through email.”

    Baby mama is already on the list, too. Smart lady who wrote this article.


    July 25, 2008 at 10:22 am

  5. I’d say anything that has made its way into Webster’s shouldn’t qualify. (google as a verb made it a while ago)

    I’m 35 and I’ve kinda missed the whole facebook experience. Would definitely be helpful to explain to the folks.

    I’ve become familiar with pwned from my son, but that might merit an explanation…


    July 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm

  6. “I’ve become familiar with pwned from my son, but that might merit an explanation…”

    Okay, I don’t know what pwned is …


    July 25, 2008 at 2:05 pm

  7. Just to add to it, I think crackberry is a noun. I think blog and google are commonly used verbs. However, I have a 6 year old and now the new word is, that’s “tight”. He picked it up from school.

    Oh, I’m 32 so just meet your qualifications.


    July 25, 2008 at 5:52 pm

  8. twitter is blogging for ADD kids.


    July 29, 2008 at 2:45 am

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