‘Spilling the Tea’ on 2017’s slang

Bernadette Higgs, Staff Writer

If there’s one place to look for 2017’s slew of new slang words, it’s a college campus.

After more than a year and a half at UVM and a few sly visits to Urban Dictionary, I compiled a list of slang I’ve heard around campus.

Surrounded by pop culture and up to date students, I often heard words and phrases I didn’t recognize or that were in a new context.

Aside from shyly asking friends for explanations, I also consulted the internet.

Urban Dictionary is crowdsourced online dictionary for slang words and phrases that was founded in 1999 as a parody of Dictionary.com by college first year Aaron Peckham.

Definitions are submitted by users and then voted as accurate or inaccurate.

One word that popped into students’ mouths last year was “shook.” It was used to describe the feeling of being “shaken up” in either a good or bad sense.

“I definitely overused ‘shook’ a bit,” sophomore Grace Powers said. “It’s a word that can be used in any situation, and it pretty much describes how I felt throughout the whole of 2017.”

Another word that I noticed was particularly popular among students this year was “lit,” used to describe something crazy, exciting or cool.

For example, one might say “the new ‘Star Wars’ movie was lit,” or “let’s get lit after class on Friday.”

“Woke” is another top slang word of 2017. This word is used to describe someone who is extremely politically or socially active and who stays up to date with current events.

Many of these top slang words originated in the drag world. Phrases such as “throwing shade” and “spilling the tea” are coined by drag queens, according to the Merriam Webster website.

“My friends and I always talk about the ‘tea,’” first year Ailinn Santos said. “We’ll say stuff like ‘what’s the tea’ or ‘spill the tea.’”

“Tea” is another word for gossip or to stand for ‘truth,’ so phrases like “sipping the tea” or “spilling the tea” all refer to gossip, Merriam Webster states.

The enormous list of slang I heard in 2017 also includes words and phrases such as “salty,” “extra,” “low-key” and “high-key,” “send it,” “tag yourself,” “rip” and “triggered.”

According to a 2014 Hubspot article, this increase in the creation and spread of slang can be credited to the rise of the internet and social media.

It takes a long time for language to evolve and spread, but the internet has sped up this process, allowing for more words to be created, the article states.

With the new year upon us, it will be interesting to see what slang comes out of 2018.