Vocabulary - National Geographic - Slang Hunters - It's Awesome

A. Pre-viewing
Familiarize yourself with the following entries before watching a video about the slang ‘awesome’.
  1. slang - very informal language that is usually spoken rather than written, used especially by particular groups of people
  2. pillaging - the act of stealing valuable things from a place
  3. barrel - a large container, made of wood, metal, or plastic, with a flat top and bottom and curved sides that make it fatter in the middle
  4. napkin - a small square piece of cloth or paper, used while you are eating to protect your clothes or to clean your mouth or fingers

B. Comprehension
Watch the video and answer the following questions.

Click here to watch the video

  1. According to the video, the Vikings pillaged the shores of Britain.
    true false not given
  2. According to the video, ‘awe’ and ‘awful’ share basically the same meaning and it wasn’t good.
    true false not given
  3. According to the video, ‘awful’ has the meaning of inspiring terror and trembling.
    true false not given
  4. In the video, a man says awesome can be used to describe something that drives you insane of how terrifying and incomprehensible it is.
    true false not given
  5. ‘Awesome’ began its journey to slang superstardom in the early 1800s.
    true false not given
  6. ‘Awesome’ has become an overly exposed slang ever since its appearance on Preppy handbook.
    true false not given

C. Using Vocabulary
Complete the following sentences using the words in the box. Use the correct grammatical form of the words.
  • trembling
  • pillage
  • barrel
  • incomprehensible
  • insane
  1. Rioters pillaged and set fire to downtown buildings.
  2. When he came out of the water, he was trembling with cold.
  3. They drank a whole barrel of beer at the party.
  4. It's incomprehensible to me why he would want to kill himself. He was always calm and positive.
  5. It would be insane not to take advantage of this opportunity.

D. Common slang
  1. Each of the following sentences contains a common American slang term. Match the slang terms (in bold) with their definitions.
  1. Complete the following sentences using the above slang terms.
  1. I did it well in history and English, but I am afraid I may have flunked Maths.
  2. “Of course I cannot afford it. Where am I going to get two grand from?
    You should buy it because you are the one who is loaded ,” Mr. Johnson complained.
  3. Michael is such a chicken. He is always afraid of asking question in class and he blushes whenever people look at him.
  4. It takes a lot of guts to admit to so many people that you've made a mistake.
  5. When I told him that his girlfriend left town, he went bananas.
  6. Don't blow a fuse! It is no big deal. We can definitely fix it.
  7. Peter knows zilch about music although his parents are famous singers.
  8. You're way too uptight, just hang loose and everything will be just fine.
  9. Hey, did you hear? Mark's got a new gig on a big stage in Tokyo.
  10. Stop jerking me around! Let’s get this straight and save me all the trouble! I am a busy person.

National Geographic - Slang Hunters - It's Awesome


Awesome means like the best ever.
Everybody says awesome.
When something really cool happens. That was awesome.
Awesome! Just the best! There’s nothing better than awesome!
The best thing! The best thing that can ever be is awesome.
Awesome is a nice example of the journey a word can take.
Around 800 A.D., the Vikings rolled up on the shores of Britain bringing with them the word “Oege”, meaning fear. After a little pillaging, the Vikings split but the British kept the word, and change the pronunciation to “awe”. In time, “awe” introduced two new words, “awful” and “awesome”. For hundreds of years the two words were tied, sharing basically the same meaning and it wasn’t good.
Awesome started have meaning that kind of inspiring terror and trembling and so for.
It is kind of like awesome like the Dread Lord kind of awesome? That drives you insane of how terrifying and incomprehensible it is?
Actually, yea! But in the early 1800s, the pair parted away. And also, began its journey to the slang superstardom.
One of the thing slang does, one of the playful things it does is takes words that have a negative meaning or a neutral meaning and make them good. And so you see that with bad coming to mean good, or awesome coming to mean something that is great.
In 1980, awesome officially hit the slang big time when it show up in the best-selling Preppy Handbook, and it’s been a crowd favourite ever since. Even if like most styles, it suffers from a bit of over-exposure.
Nowadays, anything’s awesome.
That was awesome.
I’ll use it nearly for anything.
How you doing? Awesome.
I did my laundry today, awesome!
I found a quarter, awesome!
Walk my dog for a month, awesome!
The word “awesome” is supposed to mean something like incredible, like ‘oh I just had a child, that’s awesome!’, like ‘The creation of the Earth is awesome!’
Nowadays it’s overused.
People just like ‘Oh I’ve just folded up a napkin and threw it into the barrel, aren’t I awesome?’ No, you’re not awesome.
Umm, awesome. Awesome is awesome.

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