The 80s was the generation of Yuppies (young, urban professionals) and the 90s sprouted Sitcoms (single income, two children, oppressive mortgage). Now the 21st Century has its own lingo.
iPod? Think again
So you think you know what an iPod and a Kipper are? Think again. When it comes to 21st Century lingo, the first has nothing to do with music and the second is in no way related to fish.
An exploration of how language has developed is part of a new BBC Four documentary series looking at how the world has changed in the last decade. Do you know what these 10 examples stand for?
Thought an iPod was the hottest shiny new toy and the digital music player beloved by everyone in the 21st Century? Not quite. According to The Health and Safety Executive we are suffering from 60% more stress than we were in 1990: we are the generation of "insecure, pressured, over-taxed and debt-ridden" young working people.
People are suffering more stress
Given the government's habit of introducing catchy three or four-letter acronyms for anti-social behaviour orders (think Asbos, Dttos - Drug Treatment and Testing Orders - and Soos - Sexual Offences Orders), could a Yad be a disordered yob? Luckily the youth of today are not all put down as troublemakers, there are some "young and determined savers" out there too. Yads might not be the direct product of the government, but they were "born" into Britain by a National Savings and Investments Survey in 2004 - backed by HM Treasury.
Who says skiing is a playground for the young? As baby boomers retire they are "spending the kids' inheritance" on travel, leisure, spas, health and fashion. New findings by Mintel say the over 50s account for more than 40% of consumer spending in the UK. The acronym was spawned in the United States as a tongue-in-cheek slogan for a bumper sticker, but over the last few years it has avalanched. Otherwise known as "Woofs" (well off older folk).
Boomerang Kids are eroding their parents retirement savings
Home Office on the hunt, here is one for the bank: Neets are young 16-24 year olds who are "not in education, employment or training". According to the Office of National Statistics there are 1.2 million Neets in the UK, and a recent study found that one-in-10 male Neets have been involved in crime, whilst female neets are six times more likely to have a child by the age of 21. The term Neet was coined by the DFES in a Transforming Youth Document in 2000, but recent momentum has seen it gain government classification in places as far flung as Japan and South Korea.
Could a MSS be a woman who might be married, might be single, but is straight? Although that might make the dating world marginally easier, MSS actually stands for "money sickness syndrome". Almost four million UK residents take time off work and another 11 million experience a slump in their sex lives as a result of money worries. The physical symptoms of MSS can include palpitations, shortness of breath and headaches, a tight feeling in the stomach, nausea and diarrhoea, indigestion, a lack of appetite and poor sleep. The condition was identified by a GP and leading mental health expert, Dr Roger Henderson, in conjunction with research from Axa Avenue in 2005.
Four million Brits are off work due to cash worries
If you think something fishy is going on, it might be the Kipper - "kids in parents' pockets eroding the retirement savings". In the last decade one-in-four young adults in their 20s has returned home to live with their parents after university, according to market researchers the Henley Centre. "Boomerang kids", "Mammons" and "Parasite singles" are not red herrings, they are simply similar terms adopted in the US, Italy and Japan respectively.
One of the biggest changes in British society is that dads want to play a bigger role in bringing up the kids. In 1970 dads spent only 15 minutes a day on childcare duties, today that has risen to two hours. We are seeing the rise and rise of "fully involved dads": a term identified by a study from The Equal Opportunities Commission in 2002.
Dads spend two hours daily with kids
By contrast, there is still the "fully uninvolved dad". According to the EOC report, one in four dads still see their task as a father as providing the role model and rules for the children. They are not involved in with the day-to-day care of their kids and tend to be of an "old school" mentality.
If you thought acronyms were all consumer engineered terms to bleed your bank balance, here is a reminder that they can send a serious message. In order to coincide with Safer Internet Day last week secret internet languages used by children - such as Mos (mother over shoulder), Paw (parents are watching) and lmir (let's meet in real life) - has been highlighted by anti-grooming software company In Loco Parentis. The aim is to help safeguard children from online abuse and grooming by paedophiles.
Secret net language is used by kids
This sounds as if it should be an exotic city or secluded hideaway in the sun, but it is actually much more likely to be a hectic period in your life as "kids are growing older younger". Long gone are the days when 7 to 10 year olds were treated to toys, games and sweets from Santa, now they all lust after the latest gizmos. Some 35% of them now own their own mobile phones, whilst TVs, iPods and games consoles are becoming commonplace Christmas gifts.
Are We Having Fun Yet is broadcast on Monday 12 March, Wednesday 14 March and Thursday 15 March 2007 at 2100 GMT on BBC Four.
Send us in your examples of 21st Century lingo using the form below.
In my house it would be KOS or KAW - Kids Over Shoulder or Kids Are Watching - I'm far more likely to be chatting online than they are!
Iona Lewis, London
I belong to the BT generation. That's "Blame Thatcher" because I firmly believe a lot of the country's problems are the result of the greed that was bred into people under her reign.
Richard Shipton, UK
D.I.N.K.Y's, Double Income, No Kids Yet.
Paul Lomas, Airdrie,Scotland
Every working day I become one of the "Socs"...stressed and overcrowded commuters!
Elizabeth Collum, Watford, Hertfordshire
"Woof" used to be "woopi" - Well-Off Older People on Independent Incomes, and making woopie is what they were and I hope I'm soon about to be.
Joel Kosminsky, London UK
I'm regularly called a "gomp" (grumpy old man personified)...I rather like it.
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