The ’90s gave us so many fashion trends and pop-culture gems from choker necklaces to the perfect girl power anthems. But in addition to stretchy jewelry and the talented singers, the decade also gifted us with some of the catchiest phrases ever. And while those fashion trends (ahem — platform sandals) might have since become outdated, the clever lines have stood the test of time. In fact, most of them are so regularly used today.
It’s true that whipping out one of these pop culture references might show your age since kids born today will have no idea what you’re talking about. But, hey! ~Whatever~!
1. “Eat My Shorts,” The Simpsons
If cursing isn’t your thing then this classic comeback courtesy of The Simpsons is perfect for getting your point across when you’re anxious to tell someone to get out your face. Bart might not have been the smartest cookie on the show, but he was on to something with this one.
2. “Cowabunga!” Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Talking turtles? Eh. Average. But talking turtles who use words like “Cowabunga!” to show their excitement for pizza and defeating enemies. That we can get behind. No matter how much older we get, this word still has a way of bringing out the little kid in us.
3. “You’re Killing Me, Smalls,” The Sandlot
Before “SMH” was a thing, we had this gem right here and have no qualms about using it today. When a friend says something you can’t believe or that makes you go “really, dude?!” this ’90s phrase is the perfect one to use.
4. “Bye, Felisha,” Friday
If you ever wondered where this popular phrase came from, thank Ice Cube and Friday. In the ’90s classic, he shooed away his begging neighbor with the dryest goodbye known to man and it still gets the job done today whenever we want someone to get out of our face.
5. “Dammmmnnnnnn,” Friday
Another pop culture classic, this exaggerated expletive also comes courtesy of Friday. It’s perfect for those times when you can’t believe what just happened and just saying the regular four-letter word couldn’t possibly express your feelings properly. This one’s all about gettin’ dramatic.
6. “You Got Knocked The F*CK Out,” Friday
Hopefully, you’re not like Smokey and avoid saying this to your friends right after they’ve been punched in the face. Instead, say this anytime you kill a bug on the first swing. Because let’s be honest, that takes some quick reflexes and precision to get it done. So feel free to celebrate the victory with this classic pop culture reference.
7. “Zig-a-zig-ah!” Spice Girls
“Wannabe” will forever be on our Spotify playlists. Not just for the girl power vibes and catchy beat, but also because of the phrase “Zig-a-zig-ah!” We still have no earthly idea what it means, but it never fails to make us want to slam our bodies down and wind them all around.
8. “Yeah Baby,” Austin Powers
Thank Austin Powers and all his grooviness for the simplest celebration line to say when you’ve done something great. And we dare you not to mimic the accent each and every time you say it. Honestly, if you don’t have the voice down, it’s not the same movie quote and no one will get the ref.
9. “Talk to the Hand,” The Terminator
Something tells us that Arnold Schwarzenegger had no idea what he was onto when he uttered this classic phrase in The Terminator. Nonetheless, we’re happy he did, because now we have the perfect convo stopper when we’re over listening to someone go on and on. How many times did we say this to our siblings growing up? Many.
10. “You Got it, Dude,” Full House
Just ask Michelle Tanner: a simple okay just won’t suffice sometimes. Cool commands need an even cooler agreement phrase. Bonus points if you throw in the Full House baby’s signature thumbs-up whenever you use it. But that’s not the only Full House quote we whip out on a regular basis…
11. “How Rude,” Full House
Like Michelle, Stephanie Tanner had her own go-to catchphrase. Although, it wasn’t as happy as her younger sister’s. Being a middle child and all, Stephanie frequently caught the bad end of everything and therefore found the perfect two words to illustrate her feelings towards all that negativity. “How rude!” What an expression!
12. “Cut it Out,” Full House
Sorry, but everyone was obsessed with Full House in the ’90s and it provided us all with some truly useful quotes. We dare you to say Joey’s signature ’90s phrase without doing the accompanying hand movement. Whenever someone cheers you on or gives you much-deserved praise for your awesome work performance, thank them for the kindness by saying this with a little more pizzaz.
13. “Who loves orange soda?” Kenan and Kel
If you can drink an orange soda today without thinking of Kel or reciting his lovingly catchy ode to the carbonated beverage, we salute you. But for most ’90s babies just seeing the drink sets off a trigger to declare how much we “do, ooo” love the stuff.
14. “NOT,” Wayne’s World
Right up there with yelling “psych,” this was the go-to ’90s pop culture reference whenever we managed to fool someone right to their face. For example, when mom asked if we were finished with our homework. We looked at her, said yes and walked away muttering “…not” underneath our breath. A classic! The problem only came in when she heard us. Yikes.
15. “It’s Morphin Time!” Power Rangers
Who didn’t want to be a teenage superhero after seeing the Power Rangers? It wasn’t just because their incredibly comfy-looking spandex looks, but also because we wanted to morph! Even today, hearing this phrase makes us want to throw up our morphin coin and jump off our couches to defeat Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd.
16. “Did I Do That?” Family Matters
Steve Urkel was onto something: whenever you mess something up, break something or cause a ripple effect of bad incidents, just deflect. And while he still irritated the living daylights out of everyone around him, his charming delivery of this phrase kept him out of serious trouble. That’s got to work for us too… right?
17. “Hasta la vista, baby,” The Terminator
Saying goodbye is so 2000s. We’d much rather channel our inner Terminator and exit a room with this super-macho-sounding catchphrase. It really has a way of rolling off the tongue and sounding sophisticated, even though it only means “see you later.”
18. “No Scrubs,” TLC
What do you call a guy who thinks he fly, or hangs out the passenger’s side of his best friend’s ride trying to holla at you? A scrub! And because of TLC, we know we don’t want one. Not now, not ever. While modern-day society tries to convince women that their standards may sometimes be too high, hearing this phrase reminds us that Nah, we’re good. Bonus points for those who have “no scrubs” in their Tinder bio.
19. “As If,” Clueless
From Cher Horowitz, one of many classic lines we can call upon in the perfect situations. Even though we didn’t ever figure out what a “full-on Monet” is (because, what?), we learned the perfect expression for when we’re just completely over everyone and everything. “As if”: the perfect clapback to those annoying catcallers harassing you during your morning commute.
20. “Whatever,” Clueless
So clearly Amber didn’t invent this word, but she surely made it cool to say! Whenever someone tried to diss us back in middle school, we just used our pointer fingers and thumbs to show them what we really thought about them.