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Boomer Phrases

Each generation has its own slang terms. If you were born in the 1950s or 60s, you probably understand these baby boomer phrases that make today’s ‘kids’ scratch their heads.

1. Hacked off

Not to be confused with ‘Wacked off’, which was something that might happen to a Mobster. When someone said that a person was “hacked off,” they meant that the person was extremely angry. So, in fact, mobsters were likely wacked off by Mob bosses who were hacked off at them.

2. Groovy

Most people have heard of this melodious expression. The term comes from jazz; it was used to describe a favorite piece of music, as in a groovy record. It became synonymous with something cool or excellent. Being “groovy” meant that it had a beat and soul. You have to admit it’s a groovy word.

3. What’s your bag?

This boomer phrase has nothing to do with a bag, at least not a literal one. It referred to a figurative bag – like one used to carry a grudge. When someone asked, “What’s your bag?” what they really meant was, “What is your problem?

4. Dropped a dime

Those born after 1999 likely have no clue what this one is about. Before the days of cell phones, we actually had public landline phones on street corners and in lobbies – they were called payphones. To use them, you had to have a telephone card or a dime (another item that today’s kids wouldn’t recognize).

To “drop a dime” meant to make a phone call. The slang term “dropping a dime,” meant to betray someone – a reference to the way someone snitching called the authorities on someone who did something illegal.

5. “Meanwhile, back at the ranch”

Boomers used to watch a lot of Westerns… hey, we only had about three TV stations, and Westerns were pretty much all they showed. The phrase “Meanwhile, back at the ranch” was a clever way of changing the subject of a conversation.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch... you wouldn’t believe some of the other crazy expressions boomers used...

6. A gas

If someone said, “that was a gas,” they weren’t necessarily talking about indigestion. It was more like the expression “cooking with gas” (it was easy). It meant they had a great time.

7. Doing a Bogart

I have to admit, this is one that I never heard used myself during my boomer years. It comes from Humphrey Bogart, the famous actor who used to keep a cigarette dangling in his mouth even when he was speaking. “Bogart” could be used to describe a bully or a “tough guy.”

8. Come on, snake, let’s rattle

This one was popular in the 1950s. It was a multi-purpose phrase that could be used in several ways. For example, to invite a girl to dance, or to provoke someone into a fight. Preferably not at the same time.

9. The Skinny

This has an interesting origin. It used to be the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy term for information, dating back to before WWII.

The name comes from the thin ‘onion skin’ paper that the military used to copy orders on. It later became a synonym for gossip or sharing secrets about someone.

10. To have it made in the shade

The neighbor that everybody envied had a nice car, a great, perfect family, a loyal dog, and even a pool. To have it made in the shade meant that things were going great for you and you had no worries in the world.

It’s hopefully a fitting expression for today’s baby boomers, who are now ‘rattling’ retirement.

These bizarre phrases may be disorienting for the Gen-X, Millennial, and Gen-Z generations. The only thing more disorienting is the feeling that Boomers get when they realize that the 1950s happened 70 years ago.

We cannot help but feel grateful for the blessings of freedom, health, and long life in this amazing country.


On Memorial Day Weekend, we are reminded of those brave men and women who gave their lives to make our freedom possible.


Psalm 90

A prayer of Moses the man of God.

1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place

throughout all generations.

2 Before the mountains were born

or you brought forth the whole world,

from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

4 A thousand years in your sight

are like a day that has just gone by,

or like a watch in the night.

10 Our days may come to seventy years,

or eighty, if our strength endures;

yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,

for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

12 Teach us to number our days,

that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,

that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,

your splendor to their children.

17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;

establish the work of our hands for us—

yes, establish the work of our hands.


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