Every generation has its own unique vocabulary, and Hillsdale students like to use a specific word: “based.” But slang comes and goes, and it’s time for “based” to go.
Despite the prevalence of this word, many students still have no idea what it means or where it comes from.
Urban Dictionary, the recognized expert on all things slang, offers a concise definition for the word: “A word used when you agree with something; or when you want to recognize someone for being themselves, i.e. courageous and unique or not caring what others think.”
‘25 Garrett Goolsby said he remembers an older definition for the word. “I think the modern usage of the word is entirely incorrect in a historical sense, because it used to mean something entirely different,” Goolsby said.
Specifically, according to Dictionary.com, “based” used to be synonymous with “crackhead”, until the rapper Lil B took matters into his own hands. “Based is a slang term that originally meant to be addicted to crack cocaine (or acting like you were), but was reclaimed by rapper Lil B for being yourself and not caring what others think of you,” the website says.
“Based is a great word being overused at this campus,” said freshman Kirsten Lopez, who also points to an even deeper issue with the word. “I knew it was a problem when professors were saying it in class.”
Slang has no greater enemy than the awareness of older adults. Now that the professors have learned the word, “based” is doomed.
Perhaps that’s for the best. While Lil B succeeded admirably in transforming “based” from a synonym for a drug addict to a common compliment, the history of the word doesn’t disappear. And whether professors have entirely succeeded in acquiring the term for their own use or not, no slang has the same value once it gets too much use.
So for your benefit and out of respect for the sordid past of the word, it’s time to give up “based.” Let the professors have their new catchphrase and open your minds to more descriptive words instead.
It’s about time we made it “cringe” to say “based.”