Words from Pop Songs That Actually Made It into the Dictionary ...

By Neecey

With Bob Dylan having been awarded a Nobel Prize for literature, it got me thinking about the relationship between words and music. I find it fascinating how we love complex poetic lyrics as much as we love nonsense (A wop bop a loo bop a lop bam boom). But while some words fit perfectly in a song, that’s where they stay. The number of words that move out of songs into pop culture and indeed, into the dictionary aren’t that great in number. Here’s a few:


The shortening of the phrase ‘you only live once’ into YOLO was a phenomenon that occurred sometime around the 2010-2011, and ever since there have been plenty of songs that use the phrase in their lyrics. Perhaps the most prominent of the time was rapper Drake who incorporated the word in to the chorus of his hit The Motto back in 2011.

2 Shizzle

Shizzle has long been used as a substitute for a much ruder word beginning with ‘sh’! The rise in popularity of this came at the hands of legendary rapper Snoop Dogg, who used shizzle and a whole host of other ‘izzle’ suffix substitutes to create a whole new vocabulary for lyrics that we now completely associate with his many songs and regular speech!

3 Bling

It’s easy to see where this modern term for flashy jewelry came from, as it carries obvious connotations of the sparkle and luxurious shimmer that diamonds, gold and silver have when they catch the light. It’s another word that has been used hundreds of times on the rap and R&B world, notably in this track by British group Big Brovaz where they talk about their favorite things!

4 Twerk

The phenomenon that is twerking is probably one of the most recent additions that pop culture has made to the dictionary. The form of dancing where your booty does all the work is not new per say, but it was given a relatively new name and new lease of life thanks to people like Miley Cyrus who twerked her way through a performance at the VMAS!

5 Jiggy

This term generally has two meanings: the first being to get down and dance and the second being to get down and dirty! It had been in the general consciousness for some time put there is no denying that it got pushed in to overdrive by a certain Mr Will Smith and his hit song from the late 90s. Beware of clicking play on this one; it will be stuck in your head for days!

6 Krump

Those who are well versed in their urban dancing will know all about krumping, but for those who aren’t as educated on the subject, krumping is an extreme form of hip hop dancing where you literally let your body go and see what happens! To some it might look like having a fit, but to others to it is a fine skill and impressive to be able to move your body in such a way!

7 Bootylicious

Though the word had been used in certain rap songs before, there is no doubt that Destiny’s Child were responsible for bringing the word bootylicious in to the mainstream! It gave women with a little more junk in the trunk the perfect adjective to describe their sexiness, and Beyoncé in particular has continued to fly the flag for bootylicious girls all over the world!

Which words from songs do you use? Do share!

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