As the mother of five millennials, I am constantly introduced to a new language. It sounds like our English language, but it has been manipulated to mean something completely different from what I was originally taught. Unlike traditional language, the millennial vocabulary is ever changing, and ever so quickly. Once I think I know what they are saying, and even begin to use the language myself, the terms change without anyone consulting me.
Many times, as the new term in their language is introduced, my husband and I ask what the new term means. Being engaged parents, we want to make sure we are included in the conversation around the table at dinner time. Our kids gladly educate us, and then we are able to participate in their conversations. Strangely, there always seems to be this unexplained chuckling every time Doug and I use the new language. They find it humorous when mom and dad use certain terms such as on fleek. (If you don’t know what this means, ask your kids, but hurry, because the meaning could change in the process.) This term recently took the place of “on point.”
One night the entire family was sitting around the table, chuckling and being goofy as we typically do. On this night in particular, Doug was in a spunky mood and was being louder than usual, while joking with the kids. He was spouting out, using hand gestures, and just being over-the-top obnoxious. The more they laughed at him, the more he elevated the show. During all of the commotion, our youngest daughter Brooke, who is 19, yells out, “OMG, Dad, you are so EXTRA.”
As soon as she said that, I thought, hmm, is this a new term? She clearly wasn’t using this word in a way I had ever heard before, so this must be a new millennial vocabulary registry. Afraid of being ridiculed, I did not ask for an explanation. I simply made a mental note to Google it later that evening.
After doing my research, here’s what I discovered: EXTRA is a term explained in the Urban Dictionary as an adjective—to behave in a way on occasion or consistently in a way that is deemed unnecessary or inappropriate.
Inappropriate? This description struck me, even frightened me a little, since each November we publish our annual EXTRAordinary issue. I wondered if our readers would now perceive the Extraordinary as a bad thing?
I deliberated on the whole idea of changing the name of one of our most beloved issues. But then I realized, this is the millennial language. There is no reason to change it since by the time we publish this issue, the word “extra” could potentially have a whole new meaning.
So just to be sure, allow me to clarify. The definition in the English dictionary for the word extra is to be greater than the usual. With that being said, I proudly present to you the 2016 EXTRAordinary issue. And it’s a good thing.
In celebration of our millennials and their extraordinary language, I invite you to visit our Style magazine Facebook page and share any new terms you may have recently learned. We need to make sure we are all “on point” or is it “on fleek?” Oh, who knows!