Connie Eble’s spring collection (Episode 1 extra)


If you listened to our episode on slang, you heard about the curation habits of Connie Eble.

Eble, a University of North Carolina English professor, has been collecting current slang terms from her Chapel Hill students for more than 40 years. That’s more than 20,000 submissions.

She shared a slice of that research with us, forwarding along the submissions from her English 314 students from this spring. The runaway winner was “on fleek,” while the terms “bae,” “salty,” “thot,” “turn up,” and “turnt/turnt up” were submitted by at least 20 percent of the 25-student sample.

Here are five from the list that caught our eye, even if they didn’t show up as often:

  • Hangry: A combination of hungry and angry. (Who can’t relate to this?)
  • Finna: Substitute phrase for “going to” as in “You finna eat?”
  • Spring broke: The result of spending too much money on spring break vacation.
  • Shots fired: A recognition of a well-timed or justified insult.
  • Send help!: A phrase meaning “I don’t believe it.” (This one seems too confusing to catch on. Then again, Eble did tell us roughly half the words she’s received in more than 40 years collecting from students have appeared only once.)

Bonus fact: This New Yorker story credits Eble with introducing the phrase “shit happens” in a 1983 publication about UNC slang.


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