Because, let’s face it, overuse can be a bit of a problem, and after a while phat is no longer phat and so last year is so last year. So, what to do when you’re tired of your own words? Well, you have a few options:
- Invent a whole new word. Not as easy at it seems, honestly…
- Butcher an old word: find a good, descriptive word and invert its meaning, then annoy people by using it a lot (see word of warning below).
- Refer to an impressive range of slang dictionaries. You could adopt the word “Norm” for instance (this seems to refer to a couch potato) or “nang” (cool). There’s a lot to be said for antiquated slang as well (see option 5). The Oxford Dictionary of Modern Slang has just been revised, and they’ve finally included bogan (interestingly defined as “an uncouth, stupid, or square person”: this seems a bit harsh), phwoar and trolleyed, for example. The good thing about these dictionaries is that you get to check out where the rest of the world is going slang-wise.
- In a similar vein, check out this online slang dictionary which you can help beautify by adding suggestions (also a good source of the antiquated slang mentioned above – I should add it’s mostly American). The cool thing about this site is if you submit some slang your location is pinpointed on their map, so you can sort of see where words come from. Again, you can contribute to the urban dictionary.
- Watch old musicals with Julie Andrews in them. The Sound of Music brought flibberty gibbet international recognition after all (a flibberty gibbet is a flighty person). Find something similarly strange and turn it into slang…
A word of warning: less is definitely more. Many authors suggest one killer metaphor per page is enough when writing. Apply the same principle to your speech.