What’s the Word?

I think it’s just par for the course that children will find their parents to be amusing. My kids have a great time standing my husband and me in the middle of the kitchen and cranking up some song so they can show us a new dance move. Then they promptly demand that we try it. On the spot!

And, of course, we’re terrible.

What do you expect? We’re middle-aged adults with nostalgia for 80s and 90s moves like the “cabbage patch”, the “prep” and the “tootsie roll”.  We have very little comprehension of these millennials’ “whip & nae-nae,” neither do we know why we need to “hit the folks,” nor understand the excitement they express when we “dab”.  (I’m pretty sure that I unintentionally “dab” every time I sneeze!)  Nonetheless, we attempt the moves that they hastily demonstrate and inevitably they roar with laughter!

Apparently, we’re hilarious.

So, it’s no surprise, then, that my kids find hilarity in other random moments, also. The generation gap allows plenty of room for differences—not just in how we dance or how we dress, but also in how we speak and in the particular words we use to describe things.

For example, my kids also giggle when I tell them to “zap” their food in the microwave!  What’s so funny about that? Considering this scientific phenomenon of heating something with invisible rays, what else would you call it?


I love how alive our language is! Words are created and recreated every day. That’s why I’m starting this regular blog entry called “What’s the Word?” which will explore our many unique expressions. I’ll also share commonly misused words…or, at least, words or phrases that are not (yet) accepted as standard.

So, what about you? Do you use a word or phrase in a unique way? A word that, perhaps, others snicker about? Maybe it’s a word you made up or one that you’ve co-opted for a different use.  I’d love to hear about it!

Also, tell me how you refer to the process of warming food in the microwave. I’d love to know if I’m the only one who “zaps” it! (Hmmm…maybe “Zap” could be the name of a new dance!)