Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ode to Dude

Another term that has passed its prime but still warms my philological heart: The bomb diggety! This phrase should be used, but used with care. I see great potential for its use in adding comedic effect.
When you need a generic interjection to express some sort of amazement, surprise, distaste, etc., what do you say? Zoinks? Jinkies? Holy smokes? My interjection of choice these days is "Dude!" And though I not too long ago jumped on the Dude wagon, I'm glad I did. It has brought joy into my life.

How long has "dude" been around? According to Etymology Online, it was used in the late 1800's to describe a city slicker, and by a century later, surfer culture had turned it into a generic word for a male person. Based solely on my own perceptions, I believe that "dude" came into use as an interjection sometime in the late 90's, and enjoyed the height of its popularity when it played a seminal role in the classic film, "Dude, Where's My Car?"

Of course, at that time, I was way too uptight and snooty to use such a bohemian slang term, and although I warmed up to it as the years went by, its popularity with the general public slipped just as its popularity in my own mind increased. It got to a point where all I really wanted was to holler, "Dude!" but had to settle for words like "Wow," and "Boy," since I considered my word of choice passé.

All that has changed. Thanks to the relatively recent acquisition of a few friends who use "dude" in everyday conversation, I now feel confident enough to proudly exclaim this four-letter word for all sorts of situations requiring a little verbal punch. Occasionally I even use it to address a male, in such exchanges as:
"Hey, girl!" "Hey, dude!"

This concludes my happy tale of linguistic liberation. Dude, you rock my socks.


Anonymous said...

Dude! It must be time for dude-scussions. Just yesterday the dudes in the office were talking about Canadians not being dude-aware. Say, "dude!" to a Canadian and he says, "Dude? What's that mean? Eh?


Tariq said...

I have to appreciate your duditude.

Another good one is, "yeh," in place of "eh." Example: "Let's go mug a cop tonight yeh?"