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The slang we used in 2005

Written by
Kris Vire

As Time Out Chicago marks its tenth anniversary, I thought paging through our earliest issues might give me a sense of the kind of slang we were tossing around a decade ago. And yet nothing lept off the page; what if, I wondered, there were words that were new to us then have become so common as to be unremarkable? With that in mind, I consulted dictionaries, pop charts and Hollywood box-office rankings to recall how we talked in 2005.

In one serious sign of the times, blog and podcast both came into their own with the general public around the time we launched as a print magazine (whoops!). Merriam-Webster named blog the word of the year at the end of 2004, while podcast took top honors from the New Oxford American Dictionary for 2005. To have time to read all those blogs and listen to all those podcasts, we all started looking for productivity-boosting life hacks.

Sudoku entered the English lexicon and took over our commutes in 2005. The enduring idea of red states and blue states was still fresh, a meme born of the 2004 presidential election.

The Colbert Report’s 2005 debut was, in its way, also a product of George W. Bush’s winning a second term, and introduced the doctrine of truthiness to the world. Metrosexual was coined a decade earlier but was at the height of its ubiquity in the mid-aughts, with Queer Eye for the Straight Guy in its second season. Tina Fey and Lindsay Lohan had made mean girls happen, even if fetch didn’t. Gwen Stefani made hollaback girl a thing not to be (and made sure we knew how to spell “bananas”).

Other phrases haven’t weathered the years quite so well: Oxford’s Dictionary of American Slang named jump the couch as 2005’s slang of the year, after Tom Cruise’s hyper-enthusiastic profession of his love for Katie Holmes on Oprah in May—the moment, perhaps, their celebrity coupledom jumped the shark.

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