Both music and the industry surrounding it have enriched the English language with countless words and expressions, many of which we use on a daily basis without even noticing.
Don’t believe me?
Here are a few examples of the many options out there.
The word “diss” comes from the early years of hip hop. Rappers are known for making diss tracks and diss songs.
The word “diss” itself is short for disrespect and has proven quite useful over the years. Hell, I use it a lot when writing.
Everybody knows a “mullet” when they see one. It’s that unique hairstyle where the hair is short on top while being long at the back.
But, did you know that the word would have never been as popular as it is today if it hadn’t been for the Beastie Boys?
In 1994, they released a song called “Mullet Head” where they made fun of anyone who dared sport the mullet, and ever since then, the name of that hairstyle has been part of our lexicon.
Let me give you some more examples.
To pull out all the stops
To preach to the choir
To change your tune
To play it by ear
To strike the right note
To catch someone on the flipside
Now, each one of those words and expressions merits their own article where we explore their meanings and where they came from.
However, I know that you don’t have all day. I’m sure you have places to be and things to do.
So, let’s just take a closer look at that last one for the moment.
What does it mean when you say “catch you on the flipside”?
It is a way of saying goodbye or see you later. However, the implication here is that the two of you will meet again, but neither of you is sure exactly when that will happen. And, if someone says it as they are about to do something dangerous, then they are saying that if they die, they’ll see you in the afterlife.
Usage of the expression “catch you on the flipside”
This is a very informal expression. Ergo, it has no place in the workplace. You should never use it in formal writing.
And, if you were to ever say it to your boss, even as a joke, I can’t guarantee that you’ll have a job in the morning.
That said, because it is so informal, you can use it with your friends and close acquaintances.
Also, since it is a form of slang, it will probably be more common among the younger generation than with older individuals.
So, try not to use it with your grandma unless you mean to intentionally confuse her.
With that out of the way, let’s see the expression in action.
If you’ve seen the Boondock saints, you’ll know that there’s a scene where Rocco is talking to Murphy on the phone.
And, right before Rocco hangs up the phone, he says, “I’ll catch you on the flipside.”
Interestingly, after the phone call, Rocco strolled into a cafe, drew a gun from his coat pocket, and killed three guys.
So, in a way, Rocco was telling Murphy that if he didn’t survive his little rage out, he would see him in the afterlife.
The origin of the expression catch you on the flipside
The expression comes from disc jockeys, but before we delve into that, let’s take a step back.
“I’ll catch you on the flipside” consists of two parts.
Saying “I’ll catch you later”
Another way to tell someone goodbye is to say, “I’ll catch you later.” This is an old idiom, one that started with farmers bidding farewell to each other after a night at the pub filled with good chatter and delicious drinks.
Anyway, the expression quickly caught on and made it into the mainstream.
And, it wasn’t long before every frat boy was telling his friends that he would catch them later.
What’s the “flipside”?
The other part of our expression comes from the time when disc jockeys, or DJs for short, would play vinyl records on the radio.
Now, the disks that were played had two sides, side A and side B.
What would happen is that the record company would ask the DJ to play a particular song on one of the disk’s sides.
This was usually the song the company wanted to promote, and it was often on side A.
Hence, the flipside of that disk was side B.
So, the DJ would occasionally say, “And, now on the flipside…” before playing the less popular track on side B.
Interestingly, when Djs would let the A side play through from beginning to end without any interruptions, they would tell the audience that they would “catch them on the flipside.”
This meant that the track would play uninterrupted and that the Dj wouldn’t talk again until they had to flip the record and play side B, the flipside.
And, that’s where we got the expression from.
Another interpretation for the flipside part
Interestingly, there is another explanation of where the term flipside comes from.
When spaceflight was still in its infancy, NASA would have spaceships slingshot around the moon before returning back to earth.
Not only did this save on fuel, but it also helped the spaceship accelerate home faster.
However, while the spacecraft was slingshotting around the moon, there was a period when it would be hidden completely from the earth. It would be on the moon’s backside.
During this period, all radio communications between the spaceship and ground control were severed.
It was only when the spaceship returned to earth’s line of sight that radio communications were back on.
By that time, the spaceship would have arrived at the other side of the moon, the flipside.
Therefore, it became customary that ground control would tell the crew on the space ship, “We’ll catch you on the flipside” right as they were about to pass behind the moon and lose radio communications.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.