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lit

February 13, 2018

I’ve recently been working on a sample chapter for a series of children’s books I hope to write; and the other day I showed the chapter to Fred before I sent it to the publishers, to see what he thought. (At 14 he is a little old for it but he is the nearest thing to a child in our house now, apart from the dog, who can’t read.) The following dialogue ensued:

ME: So? What do you think?

FRED: It’s lit.

ME: (Shyly pleased) Really? You think it’s literature?

FRED: No, I said it’s lit.

ME: What do you mean? ‘Lit’ is short for literature, like in English lit. Isn’t that what you meant?

FRED: No. it’s just, you know, that’s what people say: ‘It’s lit, man’.

ME: So what does that mean? Does it mean it’s really good?

FRED: It’s just, you know, lit.

ME: Is it another word for ‘marvellous’?

FRED: No one says ‘marvellous’.

ME: But it does mean it’s good?

FRED: Spose. (Shrugs and goes out of room).

So now I have a new word. I sent my manuscript off to the publishers. I hope they think it’s lit, man.

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7 Comments
  1. Simon Carter permalink

    I’ve only heard lit being used to mean drunk and I suspect that was in Mad magazine many years ago.
    Is “chick lit” the only remaining use for “chick”? It seems a very 60’s Kings Road word.

  2. Your son is officially has street cred! Lol he is a proper youth of multicultural Britian. Well Done Brandon you should be extremely proud of him. He understands the modern fusion language of American, Caribbean, Hip-Hop meets grime meets new English. He is a poet and I bet he doesn’t know it yet! Lol

  3. Oh by the way Lit as in fire! As in the smoker has lit the pipe and the party has now begun. It’s gone beyond the demographic of smokers to a mass of music loving party animals to young people in general to describe positive things or express minimal masculine excitement in the most macho or street way possible without sounding like a snowflake. Also not any person can get away with using this word unless they hang around credible people who speak with a certain sense of themselves of the area in which they are from. If your too posh saying lit will make people around you want to puke in a bucket.

  4. Good – thank you! Now I understand. I had better not use it myself; I think I lack the street cred.

  5. Simon Carter permalink

    Could there also be connection to “lighting the blue touch paper”? Not that many people under 30 would have much experience of setting off their own fireworks.

    • Maybe – but I find myself quite convinced by Redgoldenchild’s explanation that it means the pipe (or spliff) is lit and the party can begin. Thanks by the way for reminding me of Mad magazine. I used to love that.

  6. Mark Brafield permalink

    Now this is really interesting ! This morning I went to the Mercedes Benz museum in Weybridge with my son (now aged 16). He was admiring a particularly glamorous car and quite unprompted said that it was ‘lit’. I was delighted not only to recognise the word, but to be able to explain its provenance to him. He seemed far from convinced by my explanation, and only sneered the more when I affected to use the word myself (just to wind him up, obviously). He did go on to explain, however, that only a 16 year-old was allowed to say that something was ‘lit’. A 14 year-old (Fred, take note) would, apparently, have said that it was ‘skillage’. And just how pathetic is that ?

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