15 Things No One Said in the '80s That We Say All the Time Now

Things Nobody Ever Said in the 1980s

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Things Nobody Ever Said in the 1980s
Cheapism; hapabapa/istockphoto; LeoPatrizi/istockphoto; Andrii Medvediuk/istockphoto

Say What?

Language changes all the time. Phrases that came about in the 1980s like "totally tubular" and "Eat my shorts!" are never repeated now — at least not seriously. Similarly, many common things we say all the time now would get blank looks if we said them in the '80s. Here are some of the phrases we say all the time that would confuse the heck out of a time traveler from just 40 years ago. 

Related: Everyday Things Only People Who Came of Age in the ’70s Would Remember


1. "Just Google it."

Google didn't exist in the '80s, and while the internet existed, it wasn't utilized much for personal use at that time. Heck, most homes didn't even have computers back then. So the shorthand for, "search the internet for the answer" would not have been remotely understood.

Related: 12 Tech Flops of the 1970s and '80s That Were Ahead of Their Time

Retro styled phone

2. "I lost my phone."

You lost that big plastic thing that's attached to your wall by a cord? Seems unlikely. Phones were relatively big and clunky back then, and certainly didn't go everywhere with you. 

Related: Study: Gen Z Smartphone Use 'Nearly Ubiquitous'

Toyota Prius Hybrid Vehicle Offering Rides for Uber and Lyft in San Francisco Bay Area

3. "Let's get an Uber."

The word "taxi" has practically been replaced by the words "Uber" and "Lyft" at this point. That's because those services have almost entirely replaced taxis, especially in smaller cities that never had a huge taxi fleet to begin with. 

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4. "We met online."

No one in the '80s was meeting anyone on the internet, let alone on a mobile app like Tinder. Nowadays, it's common for couples to meet online, and there's no embarrassment that comes from saying it anymore, but back then, it would have been unheard of. 

Close up Netflix website in laptop screen. Netflix being popular internationally.

5. "Netflix and chill."

Netflix obviously didn't exist back then. But even the concept of binge-watching was novel. In order to watch an entire TV show, you had to tune into the right channel at the right time, and there was no pausing or fast-forwarding, of course. Watching an entire television series from start to finish took a lot of time and effort. Nowadays, you can watch entire shows in a weekend (without buying the VHS tapes!).

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6. "Let me get a picture of my food."

Social media didn't really exist yet, so no one was taking pictures of everything they ate for their Facebook. Restaurants weren't trying to think up Insta-worthy products, either. Is the world better off with or without rainbow bagels and the people that post them endlessly? 

Transgender influencer streaming online makeup video tutorial on social media at home - Lgbt, gay, gender fluid concept
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7. "I'm an influencer."

If you said this in the '80s, people would look at you like you grew a second head. An influencer of what? And if you said that "being an influencer" is how you made a living, their head might explode.

No smoking sign on wooden table

8. "No smoking allowed."

People were still smoking everywhere in the early 1980s. That includes bars, planes, and even offices. Restaurants used to have smoking and non-smoking sections, though they were rarely actually separated by much more than a half wall. You rarely were told "you can't smoke here." Thankfully, people smoke less and it's rarely allowed indoors now.

Hotel room with wifi access sign

9. "What's your wi-fi password?"

Imagine yourself back in 1980 being told that everyone would have computers that fit in their pocket in the 2020s. That would have been crazy enough, but understanding exactly what the internet meant and how it connects us would have been even harder to grasp. Now, tapping into free wi-fi networks is almost a daily occurrence. 

System hacked warning alert, Man using smartphone with cyber attack network, virus, spyware, scam or Malicious software. Cyber security and cybercrime. Compromised information internet
napong rattanaraktiya/istockphoto

10. "I got catfished."

Catfishing is when someone pretends to be someone they're not on the internet. People get catfished all the time, and in serious cases it even leads to scammers getting thousands of dollars out of unwitting victims. If you said "I got catfished" in the '80s, people would have probably thought you meant you ate fried catfish for dinner. (Imagine what they would have thought if you had said, "I got ghosted"!).

Annoyed frustrated retired woman in glasses getting problems with smartphone

11. "OK Boomer"

Millennials were still in diapers in the 1980s, so they were saying things more like "mama" and "dada" instead of "OK Boomer." Though the term Boomer has been around since the 1960s, it wasn't until the 2010s that younger generations on social media started using it to placate and highlight what they thought were close-minded views. 

Amazon Alexa smart assistant device connected at home

12. "Alexa, ..."

We wonder if parents in the 1980s would have named their daughters something other than Alexa if they knew it would be the name of Amazon device's smart assistant? It must be annoying to hear it on commercials and at friends' homes all the time.

Chevy Bolt EV

13. "I have to plug my car in."

People loved their gas-guzzling cars in the '80s, and many would have probably laughed or turned their nose up at the thought of an electric car. But the future is in electric vehicles, and it's too bad that wasn't able to start sooner.

Celebration gender Party on nature. Black baloon with the inscription Boy and Girl moving in the air. Expectant parents are having a gender reveal party. Expecting baby. Baby shower
Andrii Medvediuk/istockphoto

14. "Come to our gender reveal party!"

Does anyone actually want to attend a gender reveal party? Do they ever go well? We definitely hear about when they go wrong all the time, like when one couple sparked a southern California wildfire that killed a firefighter. It seems like no one would be sad if baby showers lost the surprise reveal element. 

Happy woman take a selfie in Times Square to share on social media

15. "Let's take a selfie."

Cameras were bigger and it took much longer to get your photos back in the 1980s. So there was no instant gratification of a selfie, and even if you had a Polaroid camera, no one would have called it a selfie anyway. Plus, there was no social media to post them to.