Today’s terms: dope / sick / ill / raw / sweet
Charlie. What’s up! You have a ride?
Charles looked at his friend, Jonah, rolling by in an old car. Not old and ugly, broken, or raggedy. Jonah took good care of his car, a vintage antique from times long passed, an age that has long been forgotten.
—No, dude. You know I ride the bus everywhere.
—Agh, that’s too bad!
Jonah revved up his engine as if he were about to speed away and leave Charles behind. Before he could go five feet, he hit the break, shifted gears, then reversed.
—You know I couldn’t leave you behind like that, poor thing. Get in.
Charles shrugged his shoulders and got into the car.
—Sorry for hesitating. I was waiting for you to open my door for me.
—Ha! Don’t push your luck.
They went along in the car, not rushing or anything, just cruising. After all, they had nowhere to go. A traffic light quickly turned red without showing yellow first. Jonah screeched to a stop, passed the crosswalk, then scooted back again. While they were stopped at the light he looked into his car mirrors.
—Yo, Charles … You see them?
He nodded in the direction of the corner where there were a couple of young ladies waiting to cross. Charles looked quickly at them, then away, hoping they didn’t notice him. Jonah smoothly turned the dial on his car radio and found a station he liked. Suddenly a loud song with deep bass and a quick rhythm started to burst out of his speakers. The ladies got kind of nervous and secured their purses. The light turned green and Jonah pressed on the gas again.
—What was that all about? Charles asked his friend.
—I was trying to impress those girls, man. Didn’t you see them?
—Yeah. But I don’t think it worked.
—Well, you don’t know.
They rode for a little while longer, enjoying the music. Well, Jonah was loving it, but Charles’s ears were starting to hurt, if I’m being honest.
—Oh! This is my song. The beat is so sick! You’ve heard this one, right?
No answer. Charles was quite confused.
—You haven’t heard this? It’s too dope.
—Bro. What in the world are you talking about?
—You know what I mean by “dope?“
Charles gave a look like he needed a bit more explanation. Jonah turned the volume down.
—Dope, man. It means really cool, like, “That song is dope!” I love that song. And it’s the same with sick. I don’t mean sick with the flu, with corona, you know. I mean it’s really cool.
—Hmm, I guess it makes sense.
—I could say the same with ill. Ill means sick in bed anyway, but I can use it to talk about something that’s really cool, real good, like that song. Raw is the same. Not raw, like uncooked food. But raw like, “Bro, the beat on this song is raw!”
—I don’t know why being sick and raw turned into being cool, but that’s language, huh?
Another car passed them by. It had a red body, spinner rims, and bottom lights; it must have been brand new.
—Woah, that is a sweet car, my dude.
—I don’t know how you can taste a car. Does it have candy in the exhaust pipe?
Jonah smiled and tapped his friend on the back of the neck.
—Not that kind of sweet! Sweet is the same as dope. It means I want about five of those awesome cars for myself.
—I never knew there were so many ways to say something is cool.
—There’s probably many more, my friend. Just learn as you go.
Charles nodded and agreed.
—Hey, who’s that girl you met that one time? She tell you her name yet?
—Oh, uh … You mean Sheila. Why? You feel like taking me to her place?
Jonah thought for a minute.
—Eh, why not. But when you get your license you’ll have to drive her around in your dope new ride.
—If you could give me a loan, that would be sweet!
Jonah rolled his eyes and revved his engine again.
—So, funny man, what’s her address?
Charles paused and realized something.
- Like in many other languages, there are lots of ways to express that something is cool, interesting, or that you really like it. You don’t have to use all of these expressions above to express that idea, but use one that you feel comfortable with. Saying “dope” and “sweet” usually feels more relaxed, while saying “sick,” “ill,” or “raw” feel more excited or enthusiastic. So, it depends on the personality of the speaker. Do you now understand how to use these words? Give me some example sentences in the comments!
*The language used in this dialogue is meant to reflect how different Americans might express themselves. Significant incorrect grammar or sensitive words will be underlined for reference. Did you recognize the mistakes in this story?