Words at Play : Top 10 Words of the '90s

#4: Grunge 

Punk rock mixed with heavy metal: a defining sound of the decade.

With the Seattle band Nirvana (and its 1991 album Nevermind) leading the way, grunge bands filled the 90s with distorted guitars and angst-filled lyrics.

The word comes from grungy, meaning "dirty," but the outsider look – flannel shirts, knit caps, ripped jeans – was adopted by high-end designers and mainstream retailers.

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February 27, 2015
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