any English word
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a) it's great!
it's a gas = super! toll! geil!
it's a gas: approximately 500,000 Google hits
I was born in a cross-fire hurricane
And I howled at my ma in the driving rain,
But it's all right now, in fact, IT'S A GAS!
But it's all right. I'm jumpin' Jack flash,
It's a gas! gas! gas!
(Jumpin' Jack Flash, from the Rolling Stones)
IT'S A GAS: dinosaur flatulence may have warmed Earth.
(Reuters news service)
Did you know?
it's a gas
- exciting or entertaining
In the 19th century, British scientist Humphrey Davy noticed that nitrous oxide caused a state of euphoria in people, sometimes including giggling and laughter. Believing this was harmless entertainment, he introduced the gas to the British upper class as a recreational drug and it wasn't long before people were having "laughing parties." On the surface this would seem to be a logical origin of the expression "it's a gas," but there is no evidence that it was ever used in this context by British high society.
Gas, as in the sense of enjoyment, is first recorded in print in 1839 when Charles Dickens coined the expression "everything is gas and goiters." James Joyce then used it as slang at the turn of the 20th century for something that was funny or frivolous. This usage appears to have been adopted by African Americans during the Jazz Age (20s and 30s) through the word "gasser," which meant sensational or brilliant.
The phrase "it's a gas" then appeared in print for the first time in 1957 in writings from James Baldwin. The expression was quickly picked up by the hippie movement in the 1960s and can be heard spoken by this generation from time to time. Younger generations meanwhile use words like cool, awesome, tight, excellent, wicked, out of sight and real to describe things they find exciting or entertaining.
Trivia: According to Mick Jagger, he and Keith Richards wrote the lyrics to Jumpin' Jack Flash while staying at Richards' country house, where they were woken one morning by the sound of gardener Jack Dyer walking past the window. When Jagger asked what the noise was, Richards responded: "Oh, that's Jack – that's jumpin' Jack. The rest of the lyrics evolved from there.
cool, awesome, super, terrific, great.
SMUGGLE OWAD into today's conversation
"The party last night was a real gas!"
Thanks to Sabine for suggesting today's word!
Today's Learning Tip (11):
Many words have natural opposites (antonyms) - rich/poor, heaven/hell, boom/bust,... by also checking opposites you are completing your understanding of the concept and filling-in gaps in your personal wordpool.
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