The 90s was a pretty memorable time. Dial-up internet was making its way into many homes, Doc Martens were on everyone’s feet and Dolly the sheep was making headlines. The 90s also gave us some unforgettable slang.
Maybe you lived through the 90s, or maybe you’ve only heard about the magic of this decade from an old millennial. Either way, it’s time to celebrate some 90s slang words—some of which live on today!
- All that
- As if
- I’m outtie
- The shiznit
- Talk to the hand
- What’s the dealio?
1. All that
In the 90s, you’d say “all that” if you wanted to express that someone or something was the greatest, the coolest—just the absolute best. You could also use this expression to describe someone with an overly high opinion of themselves.
How to use it: “I don’t like that new guy’s attitude. He walks around like he’s all that—and he’s not!”
2. As if
You would use the very 90s term “as if” to strongly disagree with a statement someone made. This expression was popularized by the 1995 movie Clueless.
How to use it:
Speaker 1: “I’m sure if you do your best, you’ll get an A in Spanish class.”
Speaker 2: “As if! The teacher hates me!”
In the 90s, you could expect to hear people yell “Booyah!” in happy situations—it was an exclamation of joy or victory.
How to use it: “Our basketball team won the championship! Booyah!”
This onomatopoeic expression of the 90s referred to money—it was an imitation of the sound a cash register made. You might have used this one to talk about how much money you made or how expensive something was.
How to use it: “I just got a big raise at work! Cha-ching!”
If you wanted to describe an attractive person in the 90s, “fly” was a reliable choice. You could also use it to talk about something you thought was cool.
How to use it: “Did you see Matt at the party last night? He was lookin’ so fly in his overalls!”
6. I’m outtie
“I’m outtie” was a 90s expression that meant “I’m out of here”—i.e., “I’m leaving.” If you wanted to get a little fancy, you could also say “I’m Audi 5000,” which was coined in the classic 90s movie Reality Bites.
How to use it: “This was fun, but it’s getting late. I’m outtie.”
This was one of the most popular slang words from the 90’s. “Not” was a handy word you could tack onto the end of any statement to make it untrue. It was used to express sarcasm, or just to deceive someone momentarily.
How to use it: “Wow, I sure love getting up at 6 a.m. to get to work on time. Not!”
8. The shiznit
People of the 90s would use this expression, derived from “the sh*t” (same meaning), to describe something cool or superior.
How to use it: “I don’t understand how you can say Pepsi is the best soda. Mountain Dew is the shiznit!”
9. Talk to the hand
This was a fantastic 90’s slang term. If you told someone to “talk to the hand” in the 90s, it was because they’d said something that annoyed you or made you angry. It was common to hold up your hand in front of the person’s face as you said this. If you felt like adding a little something extra, you could complete the phrase with “…‘cause the face ain’t listening” or “…‘cause the face don’t give a damn.”
How to use it:
Speaker 1: “I think you should go to college and get a real job instead of working at the video store for the rest of your life.”
Speaker 2: “Talk to the hand!”
This expression was at the height of its popularity in the ’90s, but it’s still around today. It was a useful way of dismissing someone if you didn’t agree with them but didn’t feel like arguing.
How to use it:
Speaker 1: “You need to be nicer to your brother. He said you tripped him at school again today.”
Speaker 2: “Whatever, Mom!”
11. What’s the dealio?
“What’s the dealio?” is an expression people used in the ‘90s to ask “What’s happening?” or “What’s going on?” It’s a contraction of “What’s the deal, yo?”
How to use it: “Hey! We’ve been sitting at this table waiting for someone to take our order for 20 minutes. What’s the dealio?”
90s slang words are the shiznit
If you’d like to jazz up your English vocabulary, remember some of these popular 90s words and phrases and use them with your friends. You could even mix it up with today’s British slang words. They’ll definitely be impressed by all the fly new words you know!
Andrea is a Canadian freelance writer and editor specializing in English, e-learning, EdTech, and SaaS. She has a background as an ESL teacher in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. In her free time, Andrea loves hanging out with her husband and children, creating recipes in the kitchen, and reading fiction. She also loves camping and jumping into lakes whenever possible. Learn more about Andrea on LinkedIn or check out her website.