Students create their own vocabulary


Imagine a world in which “flying” has nothing to do with traveling through the sky, or in which “violent” has little relation to someone’s physical threats. This is the world that Staples students have created.

Words like “flying,” “violent,” “fake,” “underrated,” “unfair” and “decent” are commonly used by Staples students, especially upperclassmen, but not in the way that others might expect.

“I describe something as violent if it’s awkward or uncomfortable in a severe and unexpected way,” said Keleigh Brockman ’14.  Jack Reardon ’14 described “flying” as being very similar to “going bonkers.” “For example, I was flying after girls volleyball won the state semi,” said Reardon.

It’s hard to pin down students’ defintions, but their new uses seem to be catching on. “If someone got something into the garbage from across the room, they’d be fake,” said Claire Noyer ’14.

Other words in the Staples lexicon don’t necessarily change meaning but are used to describe a large range of topics. One of these words is “underrated.” “I use ‘underrated’ to describe anything big that deserves attention,” said Jennie Blumenfeld ’15.

“For example, if a person does something really impressive that no one knows about, I would say they’re underrated,” said Rachel Beck ’15.

Outside of Westport, these words don’t have the same meaning. Former Staples student Lauren Exposito ’15 has proof of this. “Since being back in Florida I haven’t really heard anyone use those terms in the way people in Westport use them, and if I ever said one of those words, people would look at me weird or ask what I meant,” said Exposito.

However, Staples isn’t the only school with its own slang. Former Staples’ student Maddie Gelfand ’13, who now attends Westover School in Middlebury, CT, says that there are other words more commonly used at her school. Terms like “hipster” and “prepster” are often used a lot as descriptions for the types of students.

Staples students have always had a “language,” but it changes as years pass. “Just the other day I was remembering that this really cool girl moved to Westport from Boston during 10th grade, and she used the phrase ‘cool beans’ which for some hilarious reason became a very cool saying for 10th graders at Staples in 1997,” English teacher Amanda Parrish said.

Staples’ language can cause a good amount of confusion in conversation. “There have been times when I’ve called Staples ‘violent’ to people outside of Westport, and they’ve responded, ‘Really? I wouldn’t peg Staples for a physical school,’” said Brockman.