Slang of the Week: dig
Bill Clinton claimed that he didn't dig reefer - that's why
he didn't inhale.
I never did drugs. I tried smoking reefer, but for the most part
I never did drugs or alcohol. I just didn't dig it.
Both of these words have been around for a long time. Dig first
appeared in the 1930s and became immensely popular in the 1960s and 1970s.
Who can forget, for example, the grammar intensive chorus of the 1969
hit Grazing in the Grass, by the Friends of Distinction - "I can
dig it, he can dig it, she can dig it, we can dig it, they can dig it,
you can dig it, Oh, let's dig it. Can you dig it, baby?"
Although dig never went out of use completely, it was considered
somewhat old-fashioned in the 80s and 90s. In 1994, it was exposed to
a younger audience when director Quentin Tarantino revived the term for
his retro film Pulp Fiction (in which John Travolta tells Samuel L. Jackson
he should go to Amsterdam because he'll "dig it the most!")
Even so, it isn't used now in mainstream culture as much as it was in
the past. It is, however, commonly used in rap music, such as Coolio's
Can U Dig It (no relation to the Friends of Distinction song).
Reefer dates from the 1920s, and is believed to come from the word
grifa, Mexican-Spanish slang for marijuana. Though pot
is a far more common term, reefer will never go out of style as
long as there are a few prints of Reefer Madness in the world. That exploitation
film, made in 1936, shows innocent American youths raping, murdering and
going completely insane after taking one puff of a joint (marijuana cigarette).
After 67 years, it is still a popular movie on college campuses, though
generally considered a comedy these days.
What's new at Slang City?
What's gaslighting? Where did the expression "sell the
sizzle and not the steak" come from? Find out in this week's