In my introductory “Sunday Slanguage” post, I received a comment from a fellow blogger who wanted to know a bit more about the glitzy slang word, “bling.” I have encountered “bling” in celebrity magazines, pop music lyrics, and other pop culture realms and know that it references jewelry. However, I did not think that this piece of slanguage would be in a legitimate dictionary, but I was wrong. Merriam-Webster notes that “bling,” “flashy jewelry worn especially as an indication of wealth; broadly: expensive and ostentatious possessions,” can be dated back to 1999. Before making its way into the American pop world, “bling” was being tossed around in Jamaican slanguage. “Bling” in fact refers to the act of light being reflected from a piece of jewelry, usually a diamond.
I am fascinated by the thought that a new word was created based on the effect that light had on an object. Language is forever being shaped and molded by experiences in our world. Each word that I type is a vibrant object on the screen, rooted in history but slightly malleable for future use. Even slanguage is malleable, as “bling” has now been molded into the new word “eco-bling” (the more specific piece of slanguage that my fellow blogger wanted me to address). According to the user generated Urban Dictionary, “eco-bling” is an object that is eco-friendly while maintaining a certain sense of “bling,” such as fabulous packaging or trendy exterior design. I assume that this term defines eco-related products far removed from yellowish brown hemp skirts, and instead refers to jewelry made with recycled materials.
I have to wonder if “eco-bling” represents products that those use to merely indicate that they are eco-friendly, just as “bling” makes reference to those that are ostentatious. I would love to think that those sporting “eco-bling” in the form of jewelry, t-shirt, car, etc., truly live an eco-friendly life and are not using this object to follow a brief green trend. Hopefully “eco-bling” becomes a staple in slanguage and does experience a one-hit wonder word moment. Happy “Eco-blinging”
image courtesy of EverJean