I don’t know whether the three words in this title constitute a new, frequently used expression, or whether the phrase has been used forever and I’m just tuning into it. Regardless, I often wonder if people who start their sentences with to be honest are actually saying that other times they’re lying?
I’m going to credit millennials with the popularity of this expression, based solely on the “unscripted” dialogue of the many reality shows I’ve watched since Covid. (Ok, to be honest, my fondness for reality television began way before the pandemic.) And lest you think I’m being overly critical; I think that sometimes well-intentioned people say to be honest in order to soften the blow that comes next. “To be honest, I liked your hair color better when you were a redhead” is a kinder way than saying “your turquoise bangs look ridiculous.”
There are a few other expressions that have become ubiquitous with a certain generation, but before going into detail, I want to provide a disclaimer. It’s going to seem as though I’m not exactly a fan, and that’s probably because I’m a stickler for proper language and for using the perfect word or phrase in every situation. I’m also going to admit here that my standards are simply mine, and I will not judge anyone else for having different ones.
Whew! Being non-judgmental is a perfect example of adulting. So are retirement accounts, life insurance and designated drivers.
See what I did there? I literally listed four examples in two sentences. It was hard work, though. I thought my head would literally explode!
GOAT is another expression having a moment in the American lexicon, thanks to the likes of Serena Williams and Tom Brady. For those who don’t follow professional sports, GOAT stands for Greatest Of All time. Are there any non-athlete GOATs? Please enlighten me.
And how about the acronym FOMO? Are you suffering from FOMO right now because you don’t know what it stands for? (Fear of Missing Out.) The efficient yet annoying group text is one way of avoiding FOMO.
Once in a while, I hear my clients accuse one another of being bougee. This occurs when a spouse is criticizing the other spouse’s spending habits: “I shouldn’t have to pay for your fake eyelashes, fake lips, designer clothing, and your bougee lifestyle. (Confession: I had to look this one up in “Urban Dictionary,” which defines the term as “aspiring to be upper class.”)
Anyone reading this who watches “The Bachelor,” “Married at First Sight,” or “90 Day Fiancé” has probably heard the word feels as a description for a wave of emotion. Evidently, I get the feels when I see someone win a new car on The Price is Right. (And all this time, I thought it was called “happiness.”)
To be honest, I love learning about new language trends, even the ones that literally drive me crazy. If you have any to add to my list, please comment and share.