Weekly 5: Utah County’s most overused phrases

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Each community has its own lingo, and Utah County is no exception.

The words found in Utah County range from slang to colloquialisms. From shortened words to abbreviations to full phrases, the following are some of the most overused words in Provo culture.

1. “Totes”

Shortening words to fewer syllables is a recent fad. This is manifest in exclamations such as adorbs, presh, legit and totes. Sometimes the shortened words will even be combined. For example, when one is viewing a picture of a cat online, one may say, “Oh, totes adorbs!” The grammatically correct translation of the previous sentence would be, “Oh, that is totally adorable!”

Lindsay Reed, an elementary education major from Las Vegas, said she totes hates that word.

“Oh my gosh, I hate that word,” Reed said. “It makes me cringe and reminds me of something a 16-year-old girl would say.”

2. “Sluff”

Someone who is not originally from Utah will probably not follow a conversation that has the word sluff, but someone who grew up in Utah knows that sluff means to skip school or cut class.

“That doesn’t even make sense,” Reed said. “I’ve never heard that before, and that can’t be right.”

Nevertheless, while students in other states are skipping school, the students in Utah are sluffing.

3. “YOLO”

The recent trend of acronyms has only increased through the efforts of texters and hash taggers. YOLO is the modern version of carpe diem and is often used by younger generations while implying that being irresponsible is the next big thing because “you only live once.” YOLO is now part of the LOL, OMG and NBD club.

4. “Here’s the thing …”

Are you paying attention now?

“Okay, I say that,” Reed said. “I don’t mean to. I use it because I feel like it makes people pay attention before I start a sentence. I will admit that I have a dream to barge into a room and scream, ‘Here’s the thing!’ and then follow it up with a statement that will rock everyone’s world.”

Emily Brooks, an English major, agreed with Reed and expressed that she believes this is an acceptable phrase.

“I think it’s great,” she said. “Everyone should say that. If you want to be more attractive, this is something you should say.”

5. “Oh my heck”

Heck, along with many other culturally-approved words, is used as a substitute for profane language.

When Melissa Prins moved to Utah with her family two years ago, she was not familiar with the LDS Church or the culture. She first heard the word “heck” while she was walking with a co-worker who dropped a bunch of files. Prins recalls that she heard, “Oh my … ” and thought that the rest was gagging.

“Heck?” she said. “I had never heard that before. ‘Oh my heck?’ That is not a thing.”

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