A term of common usage and one that is very grammatically accurate as well going on to do a flip and take over the world in an almost similar but completely dramatic rendition of what it now is- how ‘lit’ is that?!
Well, one would sure have taken the cue as to what exactly is this term that today is so popular a slang evoking any reference of the most exemplary degree. Basic revealing of its identity in terms of formal language would be a past tensical assertion of the verb light but lit stands at present for the whole nature of something and anything excellent in general and exciting in particular. That might not be quite a far cry from the literal meaning of it since lit does carry in most of its cases that notion of being ‘on fire’, another expression that again dwells on that same extended ground of doing or being in excellence and enthusiasm and excitement and just about every thing lit indeed! And while back to square one might not have been the idiom we intended to arrive at in our exploration of the lit list but one thing led to another and before we knew it, here we are handling with gusto indeed the casual character of the lit nomenclature led again by one thing to the other.
The origin of lit itself might be one going back to centuries ago in the literal- and in that essentially derived perceiving of it. But its usage as a slang term is one of only a century long prominence and not also always in the currentness of it. Lit though has also been an abbreviation at times, most commonly in reference to literature, specifically the study of some particular section of the literary. As a slang though in which it has found an usage independent of its relying upon the powerpacked potential of light, of being the present itself instead of being a prelude to it, the dimensions that lit has come to define for itself has been yet again a case of individualistic wholesomeness. Whether or not that makes some sense to any depends on the very assertion of the lit mention as well, albeit in ideas more arousing of it in terms of the flourishes of the literary.
As a slang, lit has seen unfurling in the English language since at least the 1910s. Then however and for close to a century or at least till the closing years of the 20th century, lit found mention for its incorporating of an interesting indeed meaning within its less formal framework. The premise that this element in nativity touched upon was somehow the fore of intoxication which however does not prove to be illogical in the thorough exploration of basis. The allusion was perhaps to the behavior and appearance of folks under the effect of alcohol or even drugs, perceived as lighted up maybe in the upbeat nature of what these substances of high is known to lead mere mortals to. This association might not be rather well established but the fact that lit meant then indeed the intoxicated state of existence is a truth of history not any ambiguous.
Rather popular had been this connotation of the lit kind that started out as an Americanism of the word but proved to be a global encounter upon pages of novels and depictions in popular culture and thereby in ordinary life as well. There prevailed also a lesser known usage of it, as originally if not exclusively an Australian derivation that has been recorded since at least the time of the First World War with a meaning that referred to being infected with a venerable disease. This (unpopular) opinion of lit being something somehow linked to diseases as opposed to the exuberant notion of it in inducing the intoxication high failed to catch on which led the term to dominate in the ‘original’ slang reiteration of it.
The exact moment of transition for lit from the specific ’emotion’ in intoxication to imbibing the whole vibe of parties and events and going on to capture the excitement and euphoria of them in a broader sense is not one of definite pinpointing as is more often than not the case with many a similar other phenomena of the world. The evolution in this aspect though was more than complete by the 2000s even when mainstream usage of it took some time to further. There exists definite evidence of lit bearing the exciting feel by 2004 even making entry into dictionary compilations by 2009 even as it would gain worldwide tempo by 2014 as prominently established by analysis of the Google trends data of the year.
The growth of lit in this capacity might have been spurred by its contemporary advocation by American rapper Travis Scott and propelled to heights indeed on the back of his celebrity status in entertaining but the term’s esteemed holding within hip hop and rap forms of musical expression rests perhaps in its initial emergence as early as the year of 1996. Attributable to another American rapper, this time by the name of Nas whose sophomore album of It Was Written had a soundtrack called The Message making definite waves with the lyrical incorporation of the lit reference, this favorite of a couple certain genres of the music world perhaps was what ushered in its contemporary popularity in cultural evocation.
Mistaking the popularity of lit as one of only favourable basis would be a natural entailing out of its generally favourable vibe in energetic assertion. But lit has, even in the peak years of its being in trending mannerisms, been a whole world of contrasts rolled into one. Manifesting simultaneously as one among the most loved as well as most hated words of 2015, lit has acquired for itself a distinction that is well, lit indeed. But for all distinction of its present prevalence as slang, lit would mostly be a breakthrough emergence from within the realms of music surely. Travis Scott might be the most audible name on this spectrum of lit advocacy but the reality is that pretty much every artist from Drake to Rihanna have made a case for lit by evoking its exciting vibe in their chartbusters.
The lit popularity deriving from music and thriving also on it corresponds exactly to the real world usage of the term in as much vouching for everything described by what is very definitely an adjectival assertion now. In fact so tremendously trendy is the whole ‘lit’ awareness that has even led to associated enhancing of its form. What emerges from this stretch of the semantics in very much the slang reputation of it is the extension of lit to litty. A playful iteration of lit and that which basically means something that is extremely lit, going thus even over and above the already high lit reference to compound up therefore the whole buzz of what is being characterised as such, litty too has been as much prominent an encounter in musical melody much like the parent upon which it draws.
And yet the lit projection along such lanes of additional embellishes does not end here. For litty specifically has found equally popular even if not so generic an expression as a musical again arising of the not so approved sounding of ‘dumb litty’. Arising from the globally fantasised identity of K- Pop, with co-ed band KARD rapper Big Mathew often speaking it out whether in or out of the context it bears as being also the title of one of their songs, Dumb Litty takes even further the already litty meaning of lit as something that is dope and exciting and amazing to intense levels of it. The dumb prefixing might very well be misleading but to the extent that it still ends up as an expression favourable much only establishes more the lit indeed status of lit!
Why lit does not fail to make a much global and relevant impression even in being largely a Gen Z compilation in slang has to be the all there apparentness of it. As something quite interpretable in what it is expected to mean, even if just in guessing, because of the more obvious referential strands of what ‘setting the stage on fire’ for instance is commonly known to be, lit resides in an advantage that makes it more or less comprehensible in its intention to all. In presenting an exciting visage of things and events in excellence and in evoking thus the generally fancied nature of such happenings, lit assumes also an even more dynamic essence in persuasion. Anything lit is cool therefore and much like the charm that resides in the cool description, lit too is an indulgent dwelling in things enjoyable. What makes something lit might depend on what excites and interests someone and is thus less universal an idea in exact interpretation of its experience. But to the extent that it endorses indeed the most supreme experience of any particular kind, lit sure is the cool chant to converse in.
So does possessing this piece on lit in our database of not always so lit compilations make us any more lit than we already are? For sure as hel’
l it‘ does!