Slang and expressions from Clueless
Taken from the movie with annotations by William
The meaning of most of these expressions is fairly obvious from context. I've suggested definitions for some of them. I noticed that a lot of these terms are explained in the dialogue. I wondered if this was the work of the 40-something director/screenwriter, making her dialogue a bit more accessible to us 'old folks' who might see the movie. I've given some cultural notes for those of you who might not know the American context for the origin of some of these.
(NB: -in' = -ing)
1. Give (someone) 'snaps'= from snapping the fingers, I suppose
2. jeepin' = (Dionne defines indirectly, as 'vehicular sex'
3. outie = out of here/leaving. For 'outie', you will hear something that sounds like a German automobile, 'Audi'. In fact if you have a closed caption machine on your video, you'll see that the caption maker uses 'Audi' for that expression. Shows you must beware of closed captions.
4. buggin'/totally buggin' = at a total loss, freaked out, unable to cope
5. be toast = finished, ruined
6. go ballistic = be furious
7. a Betty = a gorgeous woman-- perhaps timeless. This derives from the 1930s and 40s film star Betty Grable. She was the original 'pin-up' girl. Thousands of soldiers in World War II had pictures of her to 'pin-up' in their Barracks. She had particularly beautiful legs. Part of her fame was associated with the fact that she had her legs insured for $1million - a lot more money in the 1940s than it is today.
8. a Baldwin = a gorgeous man--recent, but fading. The Baldwin brothers were 'hot' in the mid-90s, but seem a little 'middle aged' these days.
9. go postal = freak out, become deranged (from the incident of the postal worker who shot up a local post office after losing his job - I think it took place in the American state of Michigan in the early 90s
10. buyers' remorse =
11. the 411 = information (from the phone number for directory assistance in the U.S.) 'Here's the 4-1-1 on that.'
12.minor ducats = a small amount of money.' He earns minor ducats.' (He has a small salary.)
13. a boinkfest = cf. British 'bonk' Shows that slang is often based on firm historical foundations. The suffix -fest Has been around for ages. It is from ancient Germanic and Latinate sources - the roots of such words as 'feast', 'festival' and 'fiesta' (see below)
14. a babe drought =
15. fat = terrific/impressive
16. surf the crimson wave =
17. haul ass =
18. chin pubes = whiskers, particularly a goatee
19. book it = hurry, hustle
20. get someone's digits =
21. You give him a toothache =
22. Spark (spark up a doobie (do be) =
23. baked =
23. loadie = persistent drug user (from 'have a load on'?)
24. random = so-so, indifferent, not very interesting Examples: that was a random fiesta (an indifferent party) She's over there talking to some random guys (undistinguished)
25. stems = legs (Christian: Great stems, Duchess)
26. way = very (been around for several years) That artist is way famous. That teacher is way harsh.
27. ragin' = exciting (This party is ragin')
28. brewskie = Speakers of Germanic languages like diminutives, words that make things small, to show a kind of affection. In English, they usually end in -ie.
29. hagsville =
30. do someone a crutch = help someone out
31. dope (adjective) = clever, a good idea (Cher suggests that it would be 'dope' to pick up some Chinese take-out for her father's associates.)
32. cake boy =
33. wiggin' = irritated, depressed
34. skinny (noun) = the inside information
35. (various 'put downs') The speech of the 'unimaginative' (i.e. 'clueless', such as Cher) in the U.S. of the 1990s contained various phrases that were meant to function as an instant biting put downs. They are scattered through the movie and include 'as if, whatever, hello', and 'yo5. u just don't get it.'
Expressions discussed on the study guide Clueless webpage
(B) a Betty
(C) a Baldwin
(D) cadge me a fin
(E) full on Monet
(F) like a Botticelli chick