Radnorite Word of the Year: Triggered

Radnorite Editorial Board

Are you “triggered” by the Radnorite’s word of the year? As the year of 2017 has come to a close and 2018 has begun, the Radnorite Editorial Board has noticed an increase, in the use of the term. Urban Dictionary’s top definition of the word “triggered” is “getting filled with hate after seeing, hearing, or experiencing something you can’t stand.” However, the usage of triggered has expanded beyond the traditional definition in today’s generation. People seem to frequently throw the word around in conversations with satirical and sarcastic connotations, some even poking fun at its overuse. Although triggered originally alluded to a psychological stimulus that evokes unpleasant memories of a truly traumatizing time period or event, in the halls of Radnor High School, step into any conversation amongst students, and you may in fact come across the quite different usage of “triggered,” one lacking a strict definition and instead describing a particular situation.

Say you’re a senior waiting for college decisions to come out and fearing the possibility of a rejection. You watched Lady Bird yesterday, and your friend comes up to ask you how it was. Your response? “Oh, it was so triggering.”

Or maybe you’re sitting in physics with Doc for a second year in a row, and he alludes to a concept from last year–you know, the one you could barely understand the first time around. You feel your heart start racing again at the memory. “Triggered,” you whisper emphatically to the person beside you.

RHS sophomore Abby Lehnard seems to represent the modern usage accurately through her stance on grunge “wannabee” girls:

Everyday in these hallways I see a girl in a Brandy Melville tee shirt that has a AC/DC logo, Iron Maiden cover, or Pink Floyd’s rainbow (don’t get me started on the Nirvana ones). Sure, they might like these bands, BUT THEY MIGHT ALSO JUST THINK IT’S A CUTE “like totally retro” SHIRT THAT MAKES THEM LOOK ALL COOL AND CULTURED. Not to point fingers, but I know a lot of these girls, and they don’t even know the difference between Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix. I’m not saying they need to in general, but if I were to ask you what your favorite Stones album is, you better be able to tell me. If you can’t, feel free to ask — I might let you borrow my Keith Richards biography.

Wow, this chick is triggered. I mean does she even want to be started on the Nirvana shirts? Do these girls even know who Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix are? If you do happen to be one of these girls, perhaps reconsider your wardrobe choices before Abby sees you in the hallway and is even started again.

Or maybe being triggered means spotting a RHS junior paging through that massive blue CollegeBoard SAT book or noticing your old track and field teammates during your once beloved indoor workout before you book it to the opposite entrance of the school in order to get to your car because you want to avoid your old coach (who probably doesn’t even remember your name, to be honest) at all costs. Or maybe it’s identifying you-know-who with his new gal at prom or how you carry the weight for the “co-president” of a club. It could even entail all the attempts Ben Chanenson makes to trash talk Philly sports, evoking quite the response amongst homeroom fellows in room 126. The possibilities are endless and unique to each and every student at Radnor High.

In essence, triggered within the new generation can really be loosely defined as anything that may cause a person to remember something “rough” or unpleasant. Being “salty” or “bitter” often accompanies triggering episodes. (Why flavors? We have no clue.) In contrast to the original and nearly extinct definition, “triggered” today is often used arbitrarily–and thus ironically. Perhaps the younger generation is indeed becoming overly sensitive and whiny; it seems that it has only been recently when “politically correct” established itself. As a matter of fact, the usage of “triggered” may indeed offend some triggered individuals through its original relevance to psychological ramifications. Nonetheless, “triggered” is still a term the modern generation fails to leave out in casual dialogue. What was once a word used with great care has crossed a threshold in the past few years, coming to be tossed around left and right in everyday speech. (I bet now you’ll be triggered just hearing how many times people throw around the word “triggered” over the course of a day.) As RHS sophomore Will Dawson says, “The internet memes of overzealous feminists and over sheltered ‘special snowflakes’ found their way into our hearts, and we fell in love with the new phenomena of being ‘triggered’. It’s a fun new way to express your dissatisfaction while riffing on the silliness of the millennials.”

So the next time you’re panicking about your upcoming math test and awaiting failure, simply say, “triggered,” and all your worries will disappear.