There’s a way that young people talk these days, and it’s totes hilars. You see it on Twitter a lot, people exclaiming about their totes delish spags or their totes redic boyfs. Linguists Lauren Spradlin and Taylor Jones call this practice “totesing” — the systematic abbreviation (“abbreviash”) of words to effect a certain tone. The fad might have started with “totally” becoming totes, but at this point, no entry in the English lexicon is safe.
The following are some real words produced by real human beings on Twitter:
totes tradge (tragic): David Bowie dying is totes tradge.
bluebs (blueberries): Bluebs in yog are my favorite snack.
totes emosh (emotional): When Cookie hugged Jamal it made me totes emosh.
iPh (iPhone): OMG I dropped my iPh!
If you’re not a millennial — and even if you are — you might think totesing is atrosh and unprofesh. But get used to it. Though no one is quite sure where it came from, this way of speaking has been around for well over a decade. The linguists point out that “totes” was on Urban Dictionary as early as 2003. Since then, totesing has shown up in Hollywood blockbusters, major newspapers have devoted time to decoding it, and expressions like “totes presh” had to be included in a recent FBI guide to Twitter slang.