You may or may not know it but, the 90’s are responsible for a lot of your favorite slang phrases that you use every day. I’ve often heard phrases like “Bye Felicia,” “WHAT-EVERRR” and “Talk to the hand” from people of all ages. I asked my daughter the other day about a few of them and she had no idea where they came from. The answer might surprise you.

The short answer is: The 90’s. Of course, not ALL slang came from the 90’s, just the best slang! If it wasn’t born there, it was definitely made popular there. “WHAT-EVERRR,” “As if” and “buggin'” were all prevalent in the 90’s movie, “Clueless.” While they weren’t exactly introduced there, the movie brought them into our everyday vocabulary.

Sometimes, music is responsible for slang. While using the information phone umber, 411, to reference information or gossip was first done by Aretha Franklin in a 1982 song called “Jump to it,” Mary J. Blige popularized it in 1992 with her hit “What’s the 411?” …by the way, we used to call 411 on the phone to look for phone numbers. Weird, right?

The 90’s gave us PHAT. Yes, PHAT, not fat. Some younger people may be saying something’s PHAT without even knowing the proper spelling, which gives us its meaning. PHAT is an acronym: Pretty Hot And Tempting. “Girrrrrl, you are PHAT!” will probably get you slapped in 2024. In the 90’s, it was a compliment.

The list goes on and on. “Duh” or “no duh,” “snap,” and “sup” all came from the 90’s. But, there are a few very popular phrases that come directly from 90’s movies and TV shows.

If you’re like me, you enjoy finding out where this phrase you’ve used for most of your life comes from. The following are five of the most popular phrases we still use today and the movie or show that they come from, with videos for reference. Enjoy!

  • "Bye Felicia"

    The best example is the phrase “Bye, Felicia.” This one was re-popularized in the 2010s by people on social media using it as a way to dismiss someone. Stranger trys to interfere with your conversation? “Bye, Felicia”. Coworker double-cross you? “Bye, Felicia”. Significant other cheat on you? “Bye, Felicia”.

    So, who is Felicia and why are we telling her bye? This phrase was first uttered in the 1995 movie “Friday.” Felisha was the main character’s, Craig & Smokey’s, trashy neighbor who was always asking to borrow stuff. In the catchphrase-spawning scene, Felisha asks to borrow Smokey’s car. He emphatically denied it. After she turned to Craig, he responded “Bye, Felisha” before she could even ask.

    Caution, the clip contains strong language.

  • "Homey Don't Play That"

    Another popular 90’s phrase is “Homey don’t play that.” This one is used to let someone know that you’re not a fan of whatever is either going on or being talked about. Asked to work on a weekend? “Homey don’t play that!” Want to go on a blind date? “Homey don’t play that!” You get the idea.

    This one was born on a 90’s show called “In Living Color.” Yes, the same one that gave us Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez (as a fly girl) and the Wayans brothers. Damon Wayans’s character, ‘Homey D. Clown’ would visit schools, offices, or wherever a clown might be present. It’s part of his community service and he’s clearly not excited about it. Homey was known to respond to people with “I don’t think so…Homey don’t play that” followed by a bop on the head with a sock stuffed with who knows what.

  • "NOT!"

    You might not know where “NOT!” originated. People use this one all the time, usually as a joke: “Sure, you can borrow my car…NOT!” Some people may remember this phrase being explained in the 2006 film, ‘Borat.’ Believe it or not, this is “NOT!” where it originated. No, really, it didn’t.

    This one came from SNL, which, back in the 80’s and 90’s was referred to by its full name: ‘Saturday Night Live’. Specifically, this was introduced in one of the 90’s most popular sketches: ‘Wayne’s World’. It’s hosts, Wayne & Garth (Mike Myers & Dana Carvey), would use it frequently to joke about something that they didn’t agree with: Like, “This article is very interesting…NOT!”

  • "Eat My Shorts!" and "Don't Have A Cow, Man!"

    I had to ask my daughter about the next ones: “Don’t Have A Cow, Man” and “Eat My Shorts,” mainly because it feels like everyone should know where these came from. After all, they had posters, t-shirts, and toys. They come from the same show, the same character, even. Bart Simpson made these popular in the 90s on the still-running prime-time cartoon, The Simpsons.

    The first means to chill out or not take something too seriously. The latter is more of a kiss-off, replacing other, more vulgar phrases. Believe it or not, “Eat my shorts” was considered abrasive in the 90s, getting some kids in trouble when they used it, themselves.

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