I have been referring more and more to the Urban Dictionary, on its app or on its Internet website, to keep up with current jargon. Popular jargon is popular because its meaning is only understood by the in-crowd, and once everyone starts using it, it becomes a cliché. Think of “awesome” that now marks the user as hopelessly behind the times. They may as well say, “Twenty-three skidoo!”
The online Urban Dictionary is perfect for keeping up because it doesn’t go out of date as soon as you leave the bookstore. The definitions are submitted by the users, which gives a broad perspective to meanings that can vary even within a city. The ratings of each definition by the readers are also given.
This is no different than in our day, except now the process moves much faster. We had in-words like “hubba-hubba,” and I will not embarrass myself with any more examples. I have no desire to project myself as cool, but I hate to only guess at the meaning of any words I read.
The most recent example was a comment that Jennifer Lopez started out as a fly girl on the old comedy show “In Living Color,” that was a favorite of mine when it ran back in the 1990s. I got to really like J. Lo from her recent appearances as a judge on American Idol. Forget her super-sexy image that will soon be too hard for her to pull off. She seems to be a kind, sensitive woman in her mid-40s who likes to call young people, “Sweetie,” a mature woman old enough to know what she is talking about and who would make a pleasant and interesting dinner companion. (I recently turned 80.)
Maybe this image is all fake, but I don’t care. I see ordinary people projecting fake images every day, even in my mirror. It is an image that can carry on J. Lo’s career for decades after the sexy thing is over.
Oops! Back to the example: What, exactly, is a “fly girl?” A “fly girl,” according to the Urban Dictionary, is a backup dancer for a star performer. (This is a poor example of currency. The term has been around for so long, it is probably in Miriam-Webster’s.)
Be aware, much of the Urban Dictionary is pretty raunchy, I kid you not. It lists another meaning of “flygirl,” one word without the hyphen, also relevant to J. Lo, but to her old image as a hot babe.