Because so many adults died, the subsequent society grew largely out of teen and child cultures. Some place names carried over, but many of those lost syllables and/or changed spelling. Some words have shifted meaning, a little or a lot. Much of the English language simplified into After English ("Afta"), and in some areas took on large portions from Spanish or from indigenous languages. Only the few surviving elders carried over the full knowledge of Before English ("Fora"). Those who were teens when the Grunge hit tend to be mostly literate, but many of the child survivors have only partial literacy. Few of those born after the Grunge have learned to read, for lack of resources. The younger someone is, the less likely they are to be literate.
These words refer to the events or times that shaped the world as it is now.
A.E. -- After the End. Everyone, regardless of what calendar they used, seems to have reset it around the same time.
Afta -- the After English name for itself.
After -- as an adjective or adverb, referring to the post-apocalyptic world.
After English -- the form of English that is developing in the Aftermath. Because so many adults died, teens raised many of the surviving children, so the language took strong influence from youth culture. This greatly increased the rate of evolution. Most people who were teen or younger at the End have some After English features in their speech; the younger they are, the stronger it tends to be. Child survivors raised by teens have the strongest imprint. Its self-name is "Afta."
Afterborn -- someone born after the End.
Aftermath -- the time period following the apocalypse; the world in its current shape. Most often, it starts about a year after the Grunge hit, when people begin to make what they can out of the remnants, because the initial period of death and despair is part of the End.
B.E. -- Before the End. Everyone, regardless of what calendar they used, seems to have reset it around the same time.
Before -- as an adjective or adverb, referring to the pre-apocalyptic world.
Before English -- the form of English that existed prior to the apocalypse. It was already in a state of rapid change, which occurs periodically in languages, and the End greatly increased the speed and magnitude of its evolution. Most speakers of Before English were teens or adults at the End, although some child survivors raised by adults or older teens sound more Before than After. The After English name for Before English is "Fora."
(The) End -- a brief intensification of warfare culminating in the deployment of the chemical weapon GR#63 (aka the Grunge). This quickly put an end to large-scale civilization. While the details given in the notes pertain to North America, similar devastation covers most or all of the Earth.
Fora -- the After English name for Before English.
Foreborn -- someone born prior to the End.
(The) Grunge -- the chemical weapon GR#63, which targeted muscle mass and sex hormones (variously with reprotoxic and imbalancing effects), thus preferentially killing adults while leaving most youth and some elders alive. Almost all military-capable adults were wiped out. It killed far more men than women, and somewhat more white people than other races, based on its design and testing parameters. Fertility, viability, and gender balance continue to show some effects at least as far as 15 A.E.
(The) Old World -- not Europe, but life before the apocalypse. While it is widely considered good -- almost paradisiacal -- parts of it were downright awful. This starts arguments between people old enough to remember the bad parts and the younger generations who do not.
Following the Grunge, the calendar shifted. B.E. means Before the End and A.E. means After the End. As new territories formed from the remnants of the old nations, people began to favor the older indigenous "moon" names rather than "month" names, but often made a jumble of terms borrowed from several local tribes. (Tribal people have a much stronger presence in the Aftermath, since nobody bothered to bomb them. They lost members to the military, but had few casualties on the reservations.) Most people stopped tracking days of the week, and instead would simply say "half-moon" (about two weeks) or "quarter-moon" (about one week) for periods of time less than a moon (or month). After all, few people had calendars anymore -- and some who tried to keep time without any got out of synch with each other -- but everyone could see the Moon. So far, they're sticking with the 12-month count rather than a 13-moon count, but that may well shift.
January -- Cold Moon (Wishram)
February -- No Food Moon (Kalapuya)
March -- Longer Days Moon (Wishram)
April -- Budding Moon (Tlingit)
May -- Blooming Moon (Kalapuya)
June -- Ripe Moon (Kalapuya)
July -- Salmon Moon (Tlingit and Wishram)
August -- Berry Moon (Tlingit and Wishram)
September -- Acorn Moon (Wishram)
October -- Root Moon (Kalapuya)
November -- Scraping Moon (Tlingit)
December -- Winter Moon (Wishram)
January -- Freezing Moon
February -- Coyote Moon
March -- Warming Moon
April -- Melting Moon
May -- Budding Moon
June -- Early Summer Moon
July -- Midsummer Moon
August -- Hot Moon
September -- Fall Moon
October -- Rutting Moon
November -- Cold Moon
December -- Winter Moon
January -- Broken Limb Moon (Zuni)
February -- Cedar Moon (Pueblo)
March -- Leafing Moon (Pueblo)
April -- Sandstorm Moon (Zuni)
May -- Warming Moon
June -- Green Moon (Pueblo)
July -- Fruit Moon (Zuni)
August -- Hot Moon (Shoshone)
September -- Corn Moon (Pueblo, Zuni)
October -- Wind Moon (Zuni)
November -- Gather Moon (Pueblo)
December -- Sun Home Moon (Zuni)
A whole set of words for people have clustered around the "-ey" suffix.
Andey -- a polite term for an androgynous person. From "androgynous." The term "soso" is less polite, and "whatsit" is rude.
Armey -- a person or band of land-based military origin. They may serve as guards or mercenaries, or patrol for their own reasons. From "army."
Bumey -- a person who neither has a place to stay nor deserves one. They are deadweight, unwilling to work and/or lacking in skills. This is more often used of older people. From "bum."
Carney -- a person or band preferring to travel from place to place, typically in a caravan. From "carnival."
Crumey -- a strong, experienced worker capable of rural or wilderness tasks such as cutting wood, planting trees, or digging ditches. From "crummie," Before slang for a rural work truck; the After version for an off-road truck is "crum."
Donney -- a brawler, a fighter who relies on fists instead of weapons. They are valued because their prowess doesn't rely on expensive equipment, but they tend to be hot-tempered and make trouble from scratch. It is short for "donnybrook," an older term for a brawl.
Enbey -- a polite term for a nonbinary person. From the initials "N.B." for "nonbinary." The term "soso" is less polite, and "whatsit" is rude.
Indey -- a person who lives alone, whether traveling or staying put. From "independent."
Jankey -- a person unable to function, often due to physical disability, but sometimes mental breakdown. From "janky," previous slang for "broken" or "inferior." It is unwise to assume that anyone disabled is also nonfunctional, since survival is so difficult that hardships tend to kill all but the toughest.
Jickey -- a muscular person, like a bodybuilder or soldier Before. Because the Grunge targeted this type most of all, almost none of them survived. So now the connotation is very nearly "redshirt," someone vulnerable and likely to die. From "jick."
Mountey -- a guard who works on horseback. From "Mountie," the Royal Canadian Mounted Police before the End.
Muney -- a member of a stationary community. From "commune."
Navey -- a person or band of water-based military origin, although the actual roots span the navy, coast guard, and private sailors. From "navy."
Pinney -- someone small, thin, and wirey. It used to be negative but has become positive, after the Grunge killed off the most muscular people. A pinney can get the job done without becoming a target. From "pins."
Sketchey -- a person of questionable intent, such as a spy or a con artist. From the earlier adjective "sketchy," meaning dubious or dishonest.
Stinkey -- someone who comes into a commune or trading post for entertainment and often trouble. From "stinker."
Tobey -- a person or band given to marauding, particularly highway robbery. From "high toby."
Yappey -- a liar, or someone who tells a lot of questionable stories that can't be verified. From the older term "yaps," with similar meaning.
* * *
Aight -- alright.
Angeleno -- a person who died (or was lost and presumed dead) in the End or shortly afterwards. It has effectively become a synonym for "angel" as in a departed soul. It came from the term "Angeleno" for a native or inhabitant of Los Angeles, a heavily bombed area with almost no survivors.
Ass -- This has two meanings.
2) A contraction of "that is," as in "ass why." This use appears in After English.
Bail (on) -- to leave, to abandon. In the Aftermath, it consistently has a negative connotation, and has lost the earlier casual or neutral use.
Beaver tail -- a large, flat piece of deep-fried dough. These used to be topped with cinnamon sugar, but in the Aftermath, the sweetest thing people have to put on it is usually fruit, or more rarely honey. "Beaver tail" is the preferred term inland; closer to the coast, "whale tail" is more common. "Elephant ear" is used almost entirely by survivors who were adults at the End.
Brew -- any alcoholic beverage, often but not always beer. High-proof types can be called "brew," but are more often called "shine," short for "moonshine."
Bro / brah / bruh -- short for "brother," it can be a term of affection, or challenge, or simply a reference to a male person. Typically it is used among males of the same generation, rather than across generations. "Bro" is the Before version. It shifted to "brah," and then to "bruh" in the After version.
Bum -- to beg, or to take something without giving fair return. Someone who makes a habit of this is likely to be called "bumey," a freeloader.
Bunk -- a noun or adjective referring to something unreliable or low quality. It also appears as "bunkass."
Bush -- wilderness, typically forest and/or mountains, but can refer to any area far from the few remaining settlements.
Bushed -- uncivilized, as said of a person who has stayed in the wilderness ("bush") so long they have forgotten how to get along with other people. It has largely lost the earlier meaning of "tired."
Bustup -- injury, or trauma in general, as contrasted with illness.
Caterpillar -- a modular vehicle that usually has a short, stubby body on tank treads. Occasionally longer ones appear. Mounting points on the front and back allow the attachment of snowplows, brush guards, cargo wagons, other caterpillar modules, etc. They can travel over snow, mud, sand, and other off-road terrain. However, they cannot navigate deep ditches or dense forest.
Cheechako -- a newcomer; someone unfamiliar with the land, wildlife, weather, and culture of Cadia in general, Coover and Cariboo in particular. This term appears most often in Coover and Cariboo, the former British Columbia. It's the Chinook word for "newcomer." Equivalent to "tenderfoot" or "greenhorn," but particular to its locale.
Chillin' -- relaxing, doing nothing. In the Aftermath, it can also mean "getting comfortable," since air conditioning has become rarer.
Clutch -- extremely helpful; to provide something at the perfect moment.
Coming in hot -- arriving at speed. In the Aftermath, this has alarming connotations, usually that a threat is chasing them, or else someone is sick or injured and needs immediate care.
Coo -- means "great," or a term of agreement. It is short for "cool," and used almost exclusively by child survivors of the End or those born after it.
Cougar -- an older woman interested in much younger men, and has lost its pejorative because it's so common After. A large predatory cat is a "puma."
Cream -- This noun has several related meanings. The adjective is "creamy."
1) Fat that rises to the top of fresh milk when left to sit undisturbed.
2) Land with soft soil that is easy to work.
3) A job that is easy and pays off well for little effort.
4) Anything rich, rewarding, or otherwise desirable especially if it doesn't take much work to get.
Crum -- a work truck for rural or wilderness areas, capable of going off the road. It is short for the earlier slang term "crummie" for a rural work truck.
Cutty -- bad, dangerous, or questionable. This most often refers to people or places, but can apply to other things, such as a deal.
Dafuck -- an expression of shock, surprise, or outrage. This After English term is short for "What the fuck?" or occasionally any other question word in place of "what."
Dah -- short for "father," it can be a term of affection or simply a reference to a male parent. It is also used as a title for the senior man in a community. Typically it is used across generations, rather than among people of the same generation.
Dank -- potent, excellent, high quality. Originally referring to cannabis, this has generalized to a positive descriptor of almost anything.
Down -- This has various meanings.
1) Below, lower.
2) In agreement with. "I'm down with that."
3) Signed up for. "I put you down for the dishwashing."
Dowry -- a price paid by one group to another group for accepting someone as a member, often someone who may not be self-supporting. It no longer applies specifically to marriage, and more often refers to obtaining a place in a commune or caravan. Armeys rarely accept someone by dowry, except occasionally for young people expected to grow into their strength; but they often dower out members who get too sick or injured to keep up.
Draft -- the right to live in an armey, which is not all that easy to earn. In a commune, it's a "parking place" or "parker." In a caravan, it's a "hitch." Each person has to raise the community's resources enough to support at least their own needs, and preferably contribute extra.
Druther -- a contraction of "I would rather" in After English.
Dude -- This has various meanings.
1) A male person.
2) A useful linguistic noise that can mean such things as "wow," "hey," "wait," "woah" "hold on," "no way," etc.
Dusty -- old, dirty, unwanted, or otherwise undesirable. By 15 A.E. there isn't much new material left, so most things are worn -- or worn out.
Eddy -- short for "already." It often combines with "aight" as in "aight, eddy" (alright, already). This is After English.
Fawk -- a northern variation of "fuck," mostly heard north of the former American border.
Finna -- a future marker used in After English, likely derived from "fixing to" and serving a similar purpose as "going to."
Flapjack -- any thin, flat breadstuff cooked in a pan. Various ethnic versions have survived, along with the "pancake" type.
Fosho -- a term of agreement, or occasionally a casual way to dismiss something without really paying attention to it (similar to "sure, whatever"). This is a contraction of "for sure" used in After English.
Frisco -- short for San Fransisco. As it was among the most heavily bombed areas, few of its residents survived, and it is still unsafe to go there. It has effectively become a synonym for "hell."
Fuckya -- means "fuck you" (with the accent on the first syllable), not "fuck yes." This appears in After English.
Guesso -- short for "I guess so" in After English.
Grom -- a young survivor of the End who has adapted well to the Aftermath. Customarily this applies to people who were 17 or younger when the Grunge hit, as almost nobody in the ages 18-24 survived, leaving a sharp gap between the younger and older survivors.
Gromless -- unfit, inept, poorly suited to surviving in the Aftermath. Customarily this applies to people who were 17 or younger when the Grunge hit, as almost nobody in the ages 18-24 survived, leaving a sharp gap between the younger and older survivors. It implies that the person only survived because someone else shouldered the weight for them. This most often happened with those in the 5-11 age range at the End: old enough to remember Before and miss it, young enough to have minimal survival or coping skills.
Grub -- food, whether a meal or a snack. Many more things are considered edible After than Before. While "grub" is a generic term for food, it is less often applied to things particular to Before, even if they are available After.
Hell A -- the ruins of Los Angeles, from "hell" and the former city's initials "L.A."
Hella -- an intensifier; it means "a lot," "very," or "really." From "hell of a lot."
Heavy -- This adjective has several related meanings.
1) Having dense mass that is difficult to move.
2) Feeling emotionally weighed down.
3) Pertaining to a topic which is serious, difficult, or ominous.
Hitch -- the right to travel with a caravan, which is not all that easy to earn. In an armey, it's a "draft." In a commune, it's a "parking place" or "parker." Each person has to raise the community's resources enough to support at least their own needs, and preferably contribute extra.
Housetruck -- a truck modified to serve as living space. It usually includes a bathroom, kitchenette, dinette, sometimes a sitting area, and one or more sleeping spaces. Often the dinette and/or sitting area convert to beds, although small children can simply sleep on a couch as it is. There are usually storage compartments accessible from the outside for things like fuel, bicycles, spare tires, or trade goods.
Joog -- this has several related meanings:
1) to get something at a discount.
2) to offer a good deal on something.
3) to connect someone with such a discount or deal.
4) as a noun, "(for) very little."
Kook -- a fool, an inexperienced person. Based on statistical skill distribution, it is also effectively a synonym for cityfolk. It has largely lost the Before connotation of someone with questionable beliefs or habits; an After kook is trying and failing miserably to do practical things.
Latez -- a synonym for "goodbye" mainly used in After English. It's short for "See you later."
Legit -- the real thing, good.
Lift -- typically carrying someone, or being carried. If a vehicle or horse is involved, it's more often called a "ride."
Mah -- short for "mother," it can be a term of affection or simply a reference to a female parent. It is also used as a title for the senior woman in a community. Typically it is used across generations, rather than among people of the same generation.
Mirror pole -- a whirligig or static sculpture made of reflective material such as chrome and fixed to the tallest available structure, such as a grain elevator or a flagpole, to assist traders in locating a commune. It has a lot of different names including town pole, totem pole, or signal pole.
Muckamuck -- a person important for their resources and generosity. This isn't necessarily the leader or elder -- it can be a supply manager, crafter, or hunter -- but they always get complete respect. Also the muckamuck in a group usually gets the deciding vote on whether to accept a new member, based on their belief about the newcomer's ability to give more than they take.
Offsale -- goods, or the selling of goods, outside of official circumstances. It is similar to "under the table" or "black market."
Pah -- short for "parent," it can be a term of affection or simply a reference to a nonbinary parent. It is also used as a title for a senior nonbinary person in a community. Typically it is used across generations, rather than among people of the same generation.
Parking place -- the right to live in a commune, which is not all that easy to earn. This is sometimes shortened to "parker." In an armey, it's a "draft." In a caravan, it's a "hitch." Each person has to raise the community's resources enough to support at least their own needs, and preferably contribute extra.
Polly -- an After term for polyester in particular, but also any other synthetic fabric in general. It is unpopular for most purposes because it doesn't last as long as natural fabrics like cotton or wool. However, it can still be used for some things like curtains or room dividers.
Puma -- a large predatory cat. "Cougar" means an older woman interested in much younger men, and has lost its pejorative because it's so common After.
Ride -- any conveyance that requires no effort from the user. Most often it means a vehicle like a car or housetruck, occasionally horseback or in a wagon. It can refer to carrying someone, but that is more often called a "lift."
Runners -- shoes light enough to run or climb in, as opposed to heavier hiking shoes or combat boots. Before, this term used to mean specifically running shoes or sneakers.
Saltchuck -- a body of saline water, such as an ocean or the bays and straits attached to it. From the English word "salt" and the Chinook word "chuck" for water.
Santana -- trouble, or something that brings or empowers trouble. It is short for "Santa Ana winds," which bring heat waves, headaches, and often wildfires.
School -- this now has several meanings.
1) a group of fish moving together.
2) a place of learning.
3) a group of elders.
Shine -- any high-proof alcoholic beverage. It's short for "moonshine." Low-proof drinks are called "brew."
Shiny -- new, unused, or close enough to pass for it; and therefore highly desirable in a world where almost everything is worn, often worn out.
Sib -- short for "sibling," it can be a term of affection, or simply a reference to a person of unknown or nonbinary gender. Typically it is used among people of the same generation, rather than across generations.
Signal tower -- some communes have towers where people can send messages with mirrors, flags, smoke, or other methods. In a few areas with communes close together, such as the Pueblo Alliance, people have created chains of towers to relay messages over longer distances. In the Aftermath, these are more reliable than the fading remnants of Before technology. The mirrors in particular are almost as fast as the old telephones, if a little less convenient, and they work with any reflective material. Most towers favor chrome or stainless steel as more durable than glass. This has made Morse code increasingly popular.
Sis -- short for "sister," it can be a term of affection, or simply a reference to a female person. Typically it is used among females of the same generation, rather than across generations.
Skookum -- a Chinook term meaning variously "large," "strong," or occasionally "monstrous," usually in a positive way. It's also the prefix equivalent of "-zilla." As a noun it is Chinook for "Bigfoot."
Skookumchuck -- fast, strong, often turbulent water. It can mean whitewater rapids in a river, or tidal rapids in the narrows, and so on.
Sluff -- to avoid work or school, a habit largely condemned in the Aftermath when survival relies on diligence. Used primarily in Nevah (most of former Nevada and Utah).
Soso -- a less-polite term for a nonbinary or androgynous person. From "so-so" meaning not strongly one way or the other. The polite term is "enbey" for nonbinary or "andey" for androgynous, "whatsit" is rude.
Spendy -- pricey, expensive.
Stellar -- great, desirable. In the Aftermath, it often adds the connotation of "rare."
Stoked -- eager, excited. It derives from the powerful thrust of an engine freshly stoked with fuel.
Stress -- junk, a bad product. Originally, this referred to low-quality cannabis, but it has generalized to shabby goods of any kind.
Sun-cured -- referring to the process of exposing loot to sunlight and fresh air to break down any Grunge it might have on it. This is typically expressed with a timeframe, like "three days" or "two weeks."
Swag -- items looted, scavenged, or otherwise found for free instead of made, traded, or actively stolen. It has largely lost the Before meaning of things given away to advertise a product or event.
Swoop -- to pick up a person or thing.
Wartruck -- a vehicle modified for combat. They often have rams, spikes, prows, or brush bars fitted on the front and/or guns. Tobeys use wartrucks to disable or destroy other vehicles.
Whale tail -- a large, flat piece of deep-fried dough. These used to be topped with cinnamon sugar, but in the Aftermath, the sweetest thing people have to put on it is usually fruit, or more rarely honey. "Whale tail" is the preferred term near the coast; farther inland, "beaver tail" is more common. "Elephant ear" is used almost entirely by survivors who were adults at the End.
Whatsit -- a rude term for a nonbinary or androgynous person. From the Before term "whatsit" for an unknown or random object. The polite term is "enbey" for nonbinary or "andey" for androgynous, and a less-polite one is "soso."
Whyja -- from Before English "Why do you?" or "Why did you?"
Yanno -- short for "You know what I mean?" in After English.
Yee -- a variation of "yes."