gaffe n gaffe [gӕf]
something which ought not to have been said, done etc, a blunder. (from http://www.thefreedictionary.com)
I write young adult fiction and therefore should be aware of current slang and culture. I've raised one teenager and have teenage nieces and nephews. For many years, I taught sixteen and seventeen-year-olds. I'm now out of the classroom, and I'm not hanging around with teenagers. My only exposure might be watching Jersey Shore or The Vampire Diaries.
I experienced my first realization that I could be out of touch with some slang usage. My husband and I had several friends over one Saturday night. My dear friend Shelley proceeds to inform me of the meaning of a certain phrase.
Shelley: So you know what "hooking up" means, right?
Me: Sure, it means getting together.
Shelley (with a laugh): My kids tell me it means having sex.
Shelley: Yes. It means more than I thought, too.
Me: Oh my gosh. Have I used that somewhere? In a book?
Shelley: Oh, I don't know. That's why I had to tell you this.
Me: It always means sex?
Shelley: According to my kids it does.
Some people will say that you shouldn't use slang at all and that it dates a novel. I disagree. Slang is part of language and culture. I don't use a lot of it, but I'd like to use it correctly when I do. Since the conversation with Shelley, my husband tells me the term means getting drugs. Well, that's just great. I'm sure I've used it with friends to say, "So, we'll hook up later?"
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