17 Sayings From the ‘60s That Sound Out Of Touch Today

The 1960s was an iconic decade that saw humans walk on the moon, a revolution in Western social norms and the emergence of a wide range of new music genres. The Swingin’ Sixties saw The Beatles and Bob Dylan shoot to fame and the revival of folk music. Here are 17 famous slang terms from the decade that aren’t so common today.

“Far Out!”

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“Far Out!” was a popular phrase in the 60s, which Babbel describes as originating in Black vernacular “as an alternative to adjectives like “great.” Initially used by avant-garde musicians and beatnik poets, the post-jazz-era phrase was associated in the 60s with hippies describing hallucinogenic drug trips.

“Groovy”

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“Groovy” was an iconic description in the 60s, used to describe something as cool or interesting. Stereotypically a hippie term, the University of Pittsburgh notes that “groovy” was used in the late 19th century to “mean that one was settled in habit or limited in mind”.

“Sock It To Me”

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“Sock It To Me”, meaning “give it to me”, was a phrase heavily featured in the music of the 60s and was frequently used on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, a television sketch comedy show that aired from 1986-1973. It is now recognized as the name of a Milwaukie-based sock company.

“Can You Dig It?”

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This phrase was asked to ensure the other person understood what you were saying. The phrase connected to jazz and Beatnik cultures, “I can dig it,” is also noted as an expression of agreement or enthusiasm. Today, people might say, “Do you read me?” instead.

“Outta Sight!”

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“Outta sight,” meaning something cool, bizarre, or strange, like “far out,” was used by hippies to describe unusual and other-worldly, often drug-induced experiences. “Out of Sight” is also the name of a James Brown album and song released in 1964.

“Peace, Man”

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According to a 2010 Urban Dictionary definition, “Peace, man” is “A common saying of the 1960s hippie and the neo-hippie movement especially when confronted with hostility.” The phrase is rooted in the anti-war and civil rights movements of the ’60s, associated with the two-finger peace sign.

“Make Love, Not War”

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Also rooted in the anti-Vietnam war and pro-peace movements is the phrase “make love, not war,” which advocates for peaceful communication over violence. South Park famously played on the term in their highly acclaimed season 10 episode, “Make Love, Not Warcraft,” lampooning nerd culture.

“The Man”

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Wikipedia states that “The Man” is a slang phrase used in the United States to refer to figures of authority, including members of the government. Though typically used as a derogatory connotation, the phrase may also be used as a term of respect or praise.” Popular among counterculture groups such as Yippies, the phrase became popular again in the 2000s after the 2003 release of School of Rock.

“That’s Boss!”

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Describing something as “boss” was widespread among young people in the 60s, who used the term to mean something new, cool or popular, favored by the “in-crowd.” The Sonics’ 1965 song “Boss Hoss” describes a new car as “a real boss hoss.”

“Flip Your Wig”

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To “flip your wig” was a popular way of describing someone suddenly losing their temper or becoming excited. “Fip your wig” is also the name of punk rock band Hüsker Dü’s fourth album.

“Don’t Be Such a Square”

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This phrase was used in the 60s to encourage people to break free from conventional norms and be more open-minded. The 60s were famous for its cultural push towards experimentation and alternative lifestyles, so telling a “square” to relax about new and unusual concepts was widespread.

“What a Drag!”

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“What a drag” expresses disappointment or annoyance at a tedious, boring or inconvenient experience. Dictionary.com reports, “This seemingly modern term was army slang during the Civil War. The allusion probably is to drag as something that impedes progress.”

“Lay It On Me”

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Telling someone to “lay it on me” in the 60s was asking them to speak openly to you and share their news. Hippies would use the term to say, “Tell me what’s on your mind,” emphasizing open and honest communication.

“Keep On Trucking'”

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To “keep on trucking” means persevering in doing something that’s usually boring or uninteresting. The phrase may have jazz roots. “Keep on Truckin” is a phrase used in the 1936 Blind Boy Fuller song “Truckin’ My Blues Away.”.

“Square”

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Describing someone as “square” is calling them conventional and old-fashioned. According to the Oxford Press Dictionary, this meaning of the word originated in the American jazz community of the 1940s to poke fun at people out of touch with the latest musical trends.

“Burn Rubber”

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“Burn rubber” means to move very quickly and references car tires, which, if accelerated too quickly, can heat to the point of producing tire tracks. “Get a move on” or “chop chop” are more commonly used today.

“It’s a Gas!”

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Describing something as a “gas” is calling it funny. This expression has been mistakenly attributed to the effects of taking laughing gas, used by dentists to calm patients getting a cavity filled. Describing something as a “blast” or “sick” has largely replaced “gas.”.

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