Column: Legit ‘bros’ need not apply

Column: Legit ‘bros’ need not apply

By Julia Gall

The concept of using slang in casual conversation has always been omnipresent in our culture. Each year, there are new words that people gravitate to, but only a select few catch on and last. And when they do, they become a universal language staple, especially among teenagers. However, I’m not a fan of slang and I truly believe that there are ways to work around it. That way, you prevent sounding like an idiot.

In the past year, I’ve noticed that, for some inexplicable reason, the word “legit” has infiltrated the vocabulary of college students. And it drives me absolutely insane. Most times it’s used inappropriately, which is frustrating because it sounds stupid. For instance, what makes a party “legit”? Used in the context, “No, dude, it’s a legit party.” Honestly, what does that even mean?!

But more importantly, where did this trend start?

The source of it is something that I am not particularly sure about. When did legitimate become a slang word? Is it a throwback to M.C. Hammer’s “Too Legit to Quit”? Or is it just an attempt to sound intellectual or professional? I have no idea.

This also applies to “sketchy,” which is another word that reaches a level of over-usage, though I think reached its peak of popularity last year. But the definition according to Dictionary.com, is:

(1.) like a sketch; giving only outlines or essentials; or

(2.) imperfect, incomplete, slight or superficial: (e.g. a sketchy meal.)

Now, in what way does that translate into someone or something kind of creepy or weird? Such as, “Yeah their apartment was definitely sketchy,” or “Ew, he was pretty sketchy.” It doesn’t follow the correct meaning of the definition, yet the alternative, slang meaning is pretty universal.

Yet with “legit,” I feel it’s more on the rise, and people are starting to use it more and more.

In conversation, I’ve mentioned the phenomenon of this up-and-coming slang word to my friends to see if they noticed it, and at first, they weren’t really sure what I was talking about. Later, they got back to me and said they’ve been hearing it everywhere.

The usual perpetrators of this use of “legit” are male college students, but more particularly, those of the “bro” breed. “Bro” is another slang word that has come to define our generation. But what is a “bro,” you may ask? According to an urbandictionary.com entry, “bros” are:

“Obnoxious partying males who are often seen at college parties. When they aren’t making an ass of themselves they usually just stand around holding a red plastic cup waiting for something exciting to happen so they can scream something that demonstrates how much they enjoy partying. Nearly everyone in a fraternity is a bro but there are also many bros who are not in a fraternity. They often wear a rugby shirt and a baseball cap. It is not uncommon for them to have spiked hair with frosted tips. Bros actually chose this name for themselves as they often refer to each other as “bro,” even though they are not related.”

Oh, and this includes most guys who like Dane Cook. Enough said.

And as much as I try to avoid them, I feel as though Northeastern has a large population of these “bros,” as well as girls who associate with them. Thus, I hear “legit” daily. This is a problem.

Much to my dismay, there will always be slang that is overused and popular; anyone remember “da bomb”? But I think it is crucial to understand the appropriate usage of these slang words.

It is definitely possible to converse without using “legit” to convey your point. For instance, thesaurus.com provides a list of synonyms: admissible, current, genuine, logical, official, recognizable, sensible, true, reasonable, normal.

Now, while some of those words may seem a little too “mature” for most college students to use in everyday banter, they make for a better, more educated variety of adjectives. Let’s hope that someday they’ll come up with a substitute for “legit,” and the slang use of it will be as outdated as “da bomb.”

– Julia Gall can be reached at [email protected]

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