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Everyday Words that Star Wars Gave Us

Celebrate #StarWarsDay by learning some words from these cult-classic films that have crept into everyday use...


1) Jedi /ˈdʒɛdaɪ/

The Jedi in Star Wars are the heroes of the story - an order of warrior monks that battle to serve the "light side" and maintain peace in the galaxy. They're also kind of awesome and have a whole bunch of skills (not least of which is the "jedi mind trick" - being able to lie very persuasively). As a result, some people use "jedi" as slang to say that they are extremely good at something in humorous way. e.g. "I'm totally a cooking jedi!"


2) Droid /drɔɪd/

Droid is short for "android", meaning a robot with a human-like shape and movements. Although this word wasn't coined by Star Wars, it was made popular by the films and people often use "droid" to talk about robots. e.g. "The droids are taking our jobs!"


3) The Force

"The force" is an energy field that binds all living things in the Star Wars universe. It also gives a Jedi their powers. The famous phrases in the film include: "Use the force, Luke." and "May the Force be with you" (the Star Wars equivalent of "God be with you" or "Good luck") and "the force is strong with this one". These phrases have crept into English as either jokey or sarcastic expressions.

For example:

  • "I was so comfy and couldn't be bothered to move, so I tried to use the force to pick up the remote."

  • (someone does something amazing on their first go) "The force is strong with this one!"

  • "Oh great! The car is stuck. How are we supposed to get it out? Use the Force?" (sarcasm)


4) The Dark Side

"The dark side" is the evil side of the Force in the Star Wars saga, marked by fear, anger, and violence. Nowadays we often use "the dark side" in a jokey way to refer to any opposite side or group. e.g. "Did you hear? Mark has transferred to the marketing department." "Oh no! He's gone over to the dark side!"

Note: For some strange reason, the dark side often has cookies...


5) Padawan

A padawan is a Jedi pupil or student. We sometimes use this as a jokey (occasionally demeaning) word for anyone that is learning something.

Key quotes and phrases from the films include: "You're learning well, padawan" and "very good, young padawan".

For example:

student/trainee: Hard drive? That's the thing with the spinning bit in the middle, right?

teacher/senior colleague: Very good, young padawan, but you still have much to learn.


6) Carbonite

Before Han Solo got frozen in carbonite, this word just meant some sort of carbon-based waste material. Now it means "to be frozen" or "cold" and "cool". e.g. "It's as cold as carbonite out there!"


Well done, my English padawans! You'll be a jedi yet. May the Force be with you!

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