American Slang and Expressions From the 60s

American youth in the 1960s came up with a variety of slang terms.
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Americans developed a compendium of new slang terms in the cultural revolution of the 1960s. People figured out creative ways to express themselves in keeping with the new social world that emerged in this tumultuous decade. People get tired of even the most popular slang expressions which then fade away, with very few notable exceptions. Most of the slang terms from the 1960s did not outlast the period and have dropped from popular usage in the United States.

1 "Bang for the Buck"

The popular American phrase “bang for the buck” refers to value received for money paid. It was a military term from the Cold War era that meant the Pentagon would get a lot of firepower for the money they spent on a particular weapon or military strategy. The term came into use during President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s New Look foreign policy, which advocated the build-up of an efficient military defense system. In the 1960s, the term also referred to the cost-effectiveness of civilian purchases.

2 "Far Out"

During the 1960s many young Americans wanted to separate themselves from mainstream society and the perceived conservative values of earlier decades. “Far out” was a term they used to indicate approval of an interesting or new idea. It implied that anything that was noteworthy had to be "far" removed from conventional American society.

3 Cruising

“Cruising” was the popular 1960s activity of driving a car for purely recreational purposes rather than driving to a specific destination. Sometimes cruisers would drive their cars bumper-to-bumper very slowly through small towns, as made legendary in the film "American Graffiti." An expression of freedom for people in the 1960s, cruising allowed people to show off their cars and to find new friends.

4 Centering

The 1960s was a period of widespread spiritual experimentation in America. The practice of spiritual "centering" was an effort to find balance from the within. Spiritual gurus, such as Baba Ram Dass and Ruth Montgomery, popularized the idea of centering in the 1960s along with the practice of meditation.

5 Gut Bomb

A gut bomb is a food is calculated to have disastrous health consequences, according to Brewer’s Dictionary of Modern Phrases and Fable. The term “gut bomb” comes from late-1960s college slang.

Brian Gabriel has been a writer and blogger since 2009, contributing to various online publications. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in history from Whitworth University.