Slang has made its way so much into our everyday language even the dictionaries add words like Google, emoji, and selfie. Slang words came from somewhere and in this list we find out where some of our most common and popular phrases originated. Check out these 25 bizarre and unexpected origins of today’s slang.
Jumping on the bandwagon
Dating back to famous circus leader P.T. Barnum, the bandwagon was the vehicle that carried the circus group. As circuses were quite popular and attracted many people, politicians started using bandwagons to campaign in the late 19th century. From there it took on the meaning to show support for a politician (or anything, nowadays).
M.C. Hammer may have re-popularized legit for some of us with his song “2 Legit 2 Quit”, but the word originally showed up at the end of the 19th century. Theatre groups used it to refer to “legitimate drama”, a well-written piece.
Birds and the Bees
It’s not clear how the birds and the bees came to be a conservative way of explaining sex to kids, but Cole Porter’s 1928 song “Let’s Do It” certainly seems to reference it as common speak. “And that’s why birds do it, bees do it, Even educated fleas do it. Let’s do it, let’s fall in love.”
It costs an arm and a leg
Meaning a huge amount of money or value, an arm and a leg may have come to its current meaning after World War II to represent the enormous sacrifices amputated veterans made for their countries. Though they didn’t pay with their lives, an arm and a leg is still a whole lot to lose.
Cool as the non-temperature related word we use today likely came from the Black community around 1933. Slang for fashionable in jazz circles, tenor saxophonist Lester Young is largely said to have popularized it.