The Rise and Fall of “OK Boomer”

By Dinh Duong, Staff Writer

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“OK Boomer” is a term that’s recently become popular, mocking the Baby Boomer generation and their old-fashioned thinking. Although its origins are unknown, it dates back to as early as 2009 from a Reddit comment. The phrase started becoming a thing around the end of 2018 and really began picking up this year. 

Now, it’s being said by everyone, from teenagers at school to politicians in the courtroom. You’ve probably even used it yourself. One of its notable uses is by New Zealand lawmaker Chlöe Swarbrick. While giving a speech regarding climate change only forty seconds in, an older member of the Parliament interrupted her by shouting something incoherent. Shutting him down immediately, Swarbrick swiftly used the term then continued her statement. 

So, why is it that anywhere you go, you can hear the younger generation using the phrase? It’s just comical and catchy, silencing a boomer with only two words whenever they make a statement from their outdated point of view. Their most prominent ignorant thinking is usually in the denial of climate change and the declining financial state. Unable to accept the mounds of climate change evidence, most still continue to believe that global warming is a hoax. Also leaving the economy completely ruined, especially with students these days buried in college debt, none of them really acknowledge that they’ll die from old age while their children and grandchildren die from the dying state of the world they’ve left. Using “OK Boomer” as a response sends a signal that we’ve tried so hard to convince these people of important points backed by solid evidence, but they’ve denied it so much that it’s not even worth it to try anymore.

Unsurprisingly, the Boomers found the phrase offensive and ageist. Radio talk show host Bob Lonsbery recently went as far as comparing “OK Boomer” to be the equivalent to the n-word, igniting mounds of negative attention. Even Dictionary.com stepped up and slammed Lonsberry with a tweet saying “Boomer is an informal noun referring to a person born during a baby boom, especially one born in the U.S. between 1946 and 1965. The n-word is one of the most offensive words in the English language.” “OK Boomer” is now pretty dead from both criticism and overuse, as most memes and phrases eventually become, but next time you think about the dying world, thank a Boomer.