OK Boomer! What Does It Mean?

Updated on February 4, 2020
raymondphilippe profile image

I have a soft spot for Europe. I love to travel and visit interesting places.

You might have noticed that a new expression has become popular. Mainly on social media: "OK, boomer."

When our son, who lives in Manchester, was over for Christmas and stayed with us for a week, he used this expression often. Every time I (his old man) said something, his standard response would be "OK Boomer." Even though I belong to the boomer age group, my son and I had several laughs about it. I even joined in whenever my wife said something.

His mother (my wife) didn't have a clue where OK boomer came from and what it meant. I'd guess that is because she doesn't spend as much time on the Internet as I do ;-). So this piece of writing is primarily written for her. But I do hope you find it useful too.

This expression "OK boomer" is used in countless memes, tweets, posts, jokes, and antics. The expression is loved and feared, and now it even has its own Wikipedia page.

The phrase "OK, Boomer" has been used on the internet for a long time. According to some "It's a swear word!". It was even called the "n-word of age discrimination." How did OK Boomer come to be? Anyone who is active on the internet has seen the term 'OK boomer' pass by several times. The slogan is synonymous with simply ignoring the older generation. Now it's the younger generation's turn to take the main stage. In fact, it is nothing more than a cynical joke by young people (generation Z and Y) towards rigid, conservative, know-it-all baby boomers.

It means as much as:

'Whatever, yeah, you are right.'

'Stop whining old man, we've had it with you.'

Or: 'I could explain it to you, but you don't get it anyway'.

Here are some examples:

  • "I turned the TV off because a woman wearing a headscarf was hosting that program"
    OK boomer.
  • "Global warming is of all ages."
    OK boomer.
  • "The #metoo movement has gone too far."
    OK boomer.
  • "Those snowflakes should get a life."
    OK boomer.

Boomers

A 'boomer' is a baby boomer, someone who was born between 1945 and 1955.
In Europe and the US, the joy of liberation after the Second World War was so great that many children were born. There was a birth wave, a baby boomer. The baby boom era is also sometimes extended to 1964.

It is said of baby boomers that they grew up in prosperity. That's why they would be responsible for today's climate crisis. The cliché is also that baby boomers think that everything used to be better.
They often claim that today's youth is spoiled, don't want to grow up (Peter Pan Syndrome), and take to the streets hysterically about issues like, for example, climate change, veganism, or equality.

Where did the slogan originate?

"Ok boomer" appeared in several TikTok videos in 2019:

Subsequently, more young people said they were tired of not being taken seriously about their concerns regarding the future. So Shannon O'Connor and Nina Kasman designed T-shirts, hoodies, water bottles, and posters with the statement on it.

"OK boomer" went viral after the New Zealand politician Chlöe Swarbrick (25) used the expression. In parliament she talked about climate change. She wanted to make clear how important it is for her generation to reduce CO2 emissions. When an older member of parliament interrupted her and said something about her age, she reacted briefly: "OK, boomer.

Even the wealthy Disney heir Abigail Disney (59) used the words in a tweet criticizing her own generation:

No one knows who first coined the phrase on the world wide web. According to Know Your Meme, it was first used on 4chan in September 2015, on Reddit in October 2017 and on Twitter in April 2018.

The cynical joke really went viral because of a video on TikTok, where an unknown white man with a cap and polo on is complaining about millennials and Gen Z and their 'Peter Pan Syndrome': "They don't ever want to grow up" and in a split-screen next to it a girl (Gen Z) is holding up a notepad with 'OK Boomer' on it.

Isn't it ironic?

There is a kind of irony in the reactions that the joke has received in the media and on social platforms. You always hear, "Today's youth feel insulted too quickly" or "They can't take a joke anymore," but the "Boomers" themselves explode when a joke is made about them. You could ask yourself; maybe the younger generations aren't the only ones who have become hypersensitive.

The "OK, Boomer" stands for the mentality of the younger generation right now: We're done with it. "Whatever you want. Take a hike. We've had to listen to you long enough." Or, in other words, "OK Boomer."

It seems ironic that a younger generation that boasts itself to be super strict not to 'dehumanize' anyone, seems to have no problem in labeling everyone above 65 a tiresome conservative has been".

How ‘OK Boomer’ Has Spurred Debate Among Millennials And Boomers

My two cents

The sentence "OK, Boomer" makes a mockery of the tunnel vision that older generations often have.

This does not only relate to the real Baby Boomers (born between1940-1955), but rather to everyone who has old-fashioned ideas. Someone who doesn't believe in climate change? OK, Boomer. Someone who thinks homosexuality is something unnatural? OK, Boomer. Think of the storm of angry reactions on social platforms when the term "gender neutral" came up. Other sensitive themes include sexuality, gender, climate change. So if you feel addressed with this sentence, it's actually meant as a kind of wake-up call. "Get rid of those old-fashioned ideas. We are living in 2020!"

Personally, I also think that 'OK Boomer' is not necessarily about age, but about a certain attitude: anti-change and equality and an unrelenting conviction you always know best, whether you're 20, 45 or 70.

Comments

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    • raymondphilippe profile imageAUTHOR

      Raymond Philippe 

      6 days ago from The Netherlands

      Thanks Peggy for dropping by.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 days ago from Houston, Texas

      Where have I been? Obviously, not hanging out on the social media platforms much, because I have not heard the expression "OK Boomer" until reading this...and I am from the baby boomer generation. Thanks for the education.

    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 

      2 weeks ago

      "OK Millennial"

      Enjoyed your article, by the way. Nicely done.

    • raymondphilippe profile imageAUTHOR

      Raymond Philippe 

      3 weeks ago from The Netherlands

      When I was in my twenties (a very long time ago) I thought 40 was old ;-)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Interesting and I get the point. My kids just use "whatever dad". Never heard of this or seen it. I figure if a child actually responds to what I say it means they are listening (mostly;-)

    • raymondphilippe profile imageAUTHOR

      Raymond Philippe 

      3 weeks ago from The Netherlands

      Lol. This sounds all to familiar;-)

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      3 weeks ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      ''Ok Boomer,'' hmm sounds old to me. You have explained it and now I have the detailed information.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 weeks ago from UK

      You have explained this term well. I thought it extended into the mid-sixties.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      3 weeks ago from New Delhi, India

      Interesting article and well thought out topic. Now I know more about the phrase, ‘OK Boomer.’

      I have come across this phrase, on various social media platforms, and I used to think, it’s related to negative thoughts. Your article made it more clear.

      Thank you for sharing.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      3 weeks ago from USA

      My daughter uses this every time she doesn’t like what I’m saying about responsibility or dependability and I am not a Boomer. She loves to get on a rant about how “you old people” have ruined the world. It’s all just to try to get a rise out of me. Not working.

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