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February 11, 2017

An expression my son has taken to using a lot is gassed, as in “I don’t know why you’re getting so gassed about it”, or “All right, don’t get gassed!” They use it at his school; it seems to mean “making a disproportionate fuss” and is a handy way of downgrading someone else’s anger or concern. I like the expression and I’ve been thinking of putting it into the final draft of my teenage novel The Infinite Powers of Adam Gowers.

The trouble is that slang can date so quickly. By the time the book comes out it might already sound passé. Perhaps it’s better to steer clear of slang terms which have not yet proved their staying power. I remember once reading an interview with Anthony Buckeridge, author of the Jennings books, in which he said that he had made up his own slang vocabulary for the schoolboys of Linbury Court. In this way, he said, he ensured that the slang would never go out of date because nobody had ever used it in real life anyway. So his characters say things like ‘Oh, fossilised fish-hooks!” and “You addle-pated clodpoll!” But the funny thing is that those expressions do now sound dated, even though no one ever actually said them.

By the way, you can be involved with The Infinite Powers of Adam Gowers and get your name in the back and be invited to the launch party here is the link:

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  1. Brandon “is getting gassed” about his son using the word “gassed” haha. I an old student from Westminster Kingsway College. I think the term gassed is a very American term which has been used for years in music lyrics.

    I think it sounds great in moderation but sounds awful if overused and can show a limitation in ones vocabulary. I think British people should change the term to petrol i.e “Who pumped him/her up with petrol”. Explaining that somebody is ‘gassed’ does not sound right as we do not use the term gas for car fuel.

    Being gassed is an explanation of somebody with an over-inflated ego or warped sense of reality possibly triggered by drugs or supportive person or group of fanatical supporters (social media followers). Being gassed is also a lighthearted way of saying that somebody is getting carried away or over excited.

    “Got em’ gassed up, bout to get blast up…” (Notorious B.I.G’s rap feature in group ‘Total-Can’t You See.’ 1995) Unfortunately the Notorious B.I.G did indeed get blasted up in 1997 due to Gas provided by Hip-Hop industry Beef (east coast v.s west coast rap) RIP.

  2. Simon Carter permalink

    The meaning has obviously changed since the Rolling Stones Jumping Jack Flash it’s a gas gas gas (Keith Richards claimed it was named after his gardener. Very rock ‘n’ roll) or Marc Bolan who sang Life’s a Gas. Of course it also means to talk a lot and gassed can mean to be drunk which sounds a little P.G.Wodehouse but not as much as “whiffled”.

  3. im 16 and used been using GASSED for well over 3yrs , it has proved its staying power . im from north london btw

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