The word "Dude" is not just for surfers anymore. It has officially weaved its way into American culture and is here to stay. So says Scott Kiesling, a real-life linguist dude at the University of Pittsburgh who has published a paper on the word "Dude".
"Dude" can be used in many situations including:
- The Greeting: "Yo Dude, what's up?"
- The Exclamation: "Whoa Dude!"
- The Commiseration: "Sorry Dude."
- The Agreement: "Dude" (while nodding head slowly)
- The Surprise: "No way Dude!"
- The Disgust: "Dude, not cool!"
In his paper Mr. Kiesling explains "cool solidarity". Basically the hypothesis is that word "dude" lets young men communicate intimacy to other men without fear of being perceived as gay. "It's like man or buddy, there is often this male-male addressed term that says, I'm your friend but not much more than your friend," said Kiesling.
Although mostly men use "dude", some women also refer to each other as "dudes". This is turning the word into a gender-neutral expression that can be used in a multitude of contexts.
The history of the word is also interesting:
Pre to early 1800s: Dude meant "old rags"; a scarecrow was a "dudeman" or a man made of old rags.
Late 1800s: Dude was another word for "Dandy", what we would call a "metrosexual" today
1930s and 40s: Dude became synonymous with "cool"
1980s: Dude started its meteoric rise in teenage culture (especially surf culture) with the help of the popular film "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"
"Dude" continues to be part of teenage linguistics, but also has a place with middle aged men, who tend to have the ability to restrain the word's use to the proper social context. For example, use of the word "dude" during a job interview would most likely eliminate your chances of being hired.
Of course, since the word has evolved from the very underbelly of popular culture, it also has a place in Rock & Roll. It's been used in some of music's most memorable songs.
This playlist contains songs, which have used the word "dude" to great effect.
Rock on dudes!
12. There's No Fucking Rules, Dude - !!!
19. Dude - Owsley