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10 Ways Television Has Changed the Way We Talk


5
Slang
You can thank Ashton Kutcher and MTV for adding the word "punk'd" to our vocabulary.
You can thank Ashton Kutcher and MTV for adding the word "punk'd" to our vocabulary.
L. Cohen/Getty Images

What's a "vajayjay?" If you were watching "Grey's Anatomy" in 2006, you know a vajayjay is slang for vagina. Although the line was conceived by an executive producer who wanted the script to include fewer mentions of vagina, it had the unintended consequence of launching the vajayjay into ordinary speech [source: Rosenbloom].

Jimmy Kimmel used it. Oprah says it all the time. The word appeared in Salon and the Huffington Post. "Vajayjay" also turned up in Merriam-Webster's Open Dictionary. Why did the word become so popular? Linguists say that there seemed to be a need for a less offensive and clinical word to describe the female vagina [source: Rosenbloom].

Other slang words have found their way into our collective language. Used as a verb, "MacGyver," means to solve a problem in a creative way, much like the hero on the show. "Awse" comes to us from "30 Rock." It means awesome [source: Los Angeles Times]. "Punk'd" means to be fooled. The name comes from the Ashton Kutcher show "Punk'd" that ran on MTV from 2003 to 2007.


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