''They supplied to wear that stuff, y'know, back in the day,'' claims one teen-ager.

You are watching: All that and a bag of chips origin

''It's not simply phat,'' observes another. ''It's da bomb.''

''Jiggy,'' the first agrees. ''But the way she wears the is every that. Musta expense a scrillion.''

Welcome come the evanescent village of teen-age slang, soil of fleeting meanings and laid-back superlatives. In the attention of transgenerational interaction, here is a translate in of some recent usages, i m sorry by the time they get to me are more than likely on the method out.

All that means ''conceited.'' it is a shortening of all that and also a bag that chips, with the emphasis on the and. The rate is comparable to the old pretty please through a cherry ~ above top, however the recommendation is to fast-food excess, together if come complain ''too much.'' back The Los Angeles times Magazine composed of Leonardo DiCaprio that ''Hollywood's newest heartthrob is all that and a bag that chips,'' the primary definition is no ''overpowering'' but ''stuck up.''

Back in the work is an update of ''in olden times.'' come teen-agers, this can reach back six months to a year. ''My student use ago in the work to impart a nostalgic feel,'' reports Marcia Tanner, a teacher in Michigan. ''It seems to apply to anything that occurred prior come their very own involvement, as far earlier as last season.'' reporting from Woodstock, N.Y., James Cobb created in The new York Times that ''Eric Halpern, 21, a student at Rockland neighborhood College, shouted, 'That is phat!' as soon as he spotted the brand-new Beetle at a filling station.'' despite some have postulated the beginning of phat together an acronym because that ''pretty hips and also thighs'' or even more lascivious constructions, the word is an ext likely a intentional misspelling that fat, which has for centuries had actually a slang definition of ''rich,'' together in ''fat and happy.''


''Veejay Day because that 4,000 Jiggy Souls,'' headlined The Washington article over a story about MTV tryouts for video clip jockeys, plenty of of whom to be transfixed by will certainly Smith's rendition that ''Gettin' Jiggy Wit It.'' The writer Michael Colton noted that jiggy, like mangy, means ''cool, funky, sort of fly.'' It likewise has a feeling of ''nervous, crazed.'' The etymology is uncertain: in indigenous Juba to Jive: A dictionary of African-American Slang, Clarence significant defines jig as ''a dance'' and jigaboo, native the Bantu because that ''slavish,'' together a racism slur aimed in ~ dark-skinned African-Americans. Jiggy could additionally be related to the verb ''to jiggle.''

Da bomb blows her mind and the civilization up. And also scrillion is easy. It means ''a gazillion gazillion.''

You're The Atop

Atop the perform of popular names of girls, I created recently, were Sarah, Emily, Kaitlyn, Brianna and also Ashley.

''The selections of African-American mothers space ignored,'' write Sol Steinmetz, part-time onomastician in new Rochelle, N.Y., ''despite the truth that in the past 30 year the many unconventional, counterestablishment baby names have actually been coined by black color moms.''

He obtained hold the a student enrollment list of a typical new York inner-city high school and also examined the names of 2,000 girls. No a solitary Sarah. But plenty that teen-agers called Aisha, Malaika, Bashanya, Rashida, Shawanda and also Keshanta.


We should remember that these names to be the choices of black color mothers of babies born 15 years ago; no an ext recent surveys pertained to hand. However, notes Steinmetz, ''it shows the 'Africanization' tendency in baby-naming among African-Americans is gaining momentum and also bears watching by expectant mothers.''

What strikes me is the pervasiveness of names that end in a. It recalls the moment that Henry Kissinger was presented at an Italian-American dinner and also noted, ''I think I'm the only person right here whose surname ends in a consonant.''

Another letter triggered by that column came from william Zinsser, writer of ''On writing Well'' (now in its 6th edition -- an ext than 900,000 copies sold).

''Your sentence citing girls' surname that are 'atop the list' the popularity gives me an excuse come raise a question that regularly puzzles me,'' write Zinsser, v nary a mistake in his letter, and also believe me ns checked. ''I see atop everywhere The new York times every day, in every section. Teams room atop the league, songs are atop the charts, hats atop the head.

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''Yet I've never ever heard anybody speak atop. I've constantly thought it a tenet of creating well the we need to never speak anything in creating that us wouldn't comfortably say in conversation, since our style is (or should be) who we are. You're no an atop person and also nobody else is one atop person. So how did it creep into day-to-day journalism?''

Note the ethereal allusion to George louis Leclerc de Buffon's Le format c'est l'homme meme, ''The layout is the man himself.'' (Language mavens send each other signals choose this.) the then looks for a pattern: ''Is there any other indigenous in typical use in publish that never ever gets spoken? What would certainly you contact such a freak?''


The very first part is easy: decry. Headline writers that don't have room for complain around or disparage, and also feel the whine is loaded, usually clear up on the short and never talked decry.

On the second part -- a surname for a word common in writing but not in speaking -- why must I break my head? Lexicographic Irregulars through a desire to acquire linguistic stardom should send their nominations, along with examples, to Atop Safire, brand-new York time Washington Bureau, 1627 Eye Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20006. (I have the right to hear George Shearing singing now: ''You're atop, you're the tower of Babel.'')