How to Tell if You’re Turnt Up or Turned Down

by Amelia Diamond
May 16, 2014
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A helpful resource for 2014′s most perplexing conundrum

shotbyhedislimaneWhen Kanye West first used “turnt” in a sentence I made it my business to understand the word. I was later introduced to the concept of “turning up,” which I grasped rather quickly because I’m a fast learner.

Then along came the business of turning down. This, I assumed, was a synonym for being turnt up. Apparently it’s not.

And I wasn’t the only one in the dark.

My confusion stemmed from DJ Snake & Lil Jon’s electronic anthem, “Turn Down for What.” The song is one of the catchiest, jazziest, and most annoying tracks of recent months. It’s hyper and fast-paced. It’s like the “Harlem Shake” on sizzurp. It makes me dance like a drunk baby at an EDM concert, so if “turnt” means crunk and “turnt up” equals wild, then isn’t “turning down” just the same thing in a new dress?

No. But to my credit, even Lil’ Jon seemed confused. (Hi, he didn’t even know what he was turning down for.)

So in the name of education, investigative journalism and weekend parties on the horizon, I did my research and came up with a guide.

How to Tell if You’re Turnt, Turnt Up or Turned Down:

Turnt was first added to the Urban Dictionary on August 2, 2005 by Erica Peters. It’s her only entry, and seeing as the first time I heard the word was in February via a Kanye West remix, I’m going to go ahead and assume “Erica Peters” is Kanye West’s screen name.

According to Kanye/Erica, Turnt means:

“Horny, Drunk, f*cked up!! Crunk!!
Damn, I am all turnt on! or I am getting Turnt to night at the club!”

Turnt Up is similar. User KayBee{LD} — who must be some sort of pilgrim from the year 1621 due to her repeated use of the use of the word “thee” — defined Turnt Up as:

“- Thee act of getting drunk and high to thee highest degree 
- Getting loose {whether that be just being wild or engaging in sexual activity}
- Shanay got supper turnt up at thee party last night.”

evonundonotdisturb

So if you’re still with me we can acknowledge that turnt and turnt up are essentially the same thing. Both mean you’re partying excessively hard.

Turn Down is, according to Urban Dictionary, what “irritated” people say to those who claim they are “turned up.” It means “to not get rowdy, remain calm.” Used in a sentence, the slang-site provides this: “Man, turn down already and stfu.”

And here’s where I had my moment of clarity: Lil’ Jon must have been turnt way, way up. Super up. And someone, perhaps his neighbor, asked him to “turn down.” His response: a proper rebuttal in the form of feigned ignorance. “Turn down for what,” he asked defiantly. “Turn down for what?”

So being turned down is the opposite of being turnt up. Confusion only happens because the word turn double-dips! If you have trouble remembering this, focus instead on the preposition that follows:

Up = hyper. Down = calm.

Still with me?

timwlkerdisco

The woman in the photo above, for example, is turned down. (However, judging by her party attire and sparkly decor, it’s possible she had been turned up, and is now reaching descent.)

Let’s pause for a quiz:

Are you smiling? (Yes) (No)

Are you drinking? (Yes) (No)

Are you grinding on something? (Yes) (No)

Have you broken any house plants? (Yes) (No)

Are you loudly shouting and wooing and flailing your arms like a maniac? (Yes) (No)

Are you refusing to sit down quietly and think about what you’ve done? (Yes) (No)

Are you starting fights? (Yes) (No)

Are you braiding a stranger’s hair? (Yes) (No)

If you said mostly yes: Congratulations! You’re turnt and turnt up. They are the same thing, remember!

If you said mostly no: That’s okay! You’re turned down. Maybe it’s nap time. Going home is probably the better move, just don’t try and drag Lil’ Jon down with you. It only makes him turn up higher.

And if your answers were somewhere in between…

turn-upstudio54the.playfools_1346024390_47

I’ll let you make the call. You’ve got the official guide at your fingertips, after all.

REPLIES
  • saraha

    hahahaha AMAZINGLY funny write-up, Amelia!!! I was laughing all the way through. It’s only 9am, but you already win the internet today :-)

    “How to Tell if You’re Turnt Up or Turned Down”…. #whitepeopleproblems

    • Sam

      Cracking up at #whitepeopleproblems, mad because you said it first

  • http://adeliberateimagination.wordpress.com/ CJKEYS2

    Thank you so much for this guide. I now know what all my younger cousins are tweeting and snap chatting me. I feel like I should also tell their parents…? What if the stranger’s hair has lice?

    • Amelia Diamond

      The real question is, are the lice turnt too?

      • http://adeliberateimagination.wordpress.com/ CJKEYS2

        do you have any gifs of lice dancing and chugging Rid in your vault?

        • Amelia Diamond

          You’re asking a lot of me on this Friday CJ.

          • Amelia Diamond

            BUT HERE. FINE. DON’T SAY I NEVER DID ANYTHING FOR YOU:

            http://37.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m7c7tiShMI1r4gei2o1_400.gif

          • http://adeliberateimagination.wordpress.com/ CJKEYS2

            I’m not sure I can find a way to repay you for this, but just know I am forever grateful. I wish I could send you a bag full of turnt lice for your birthday. I’ll do some research….

          • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

            Hmmmm…. once the lice turn down it would be a menace! How about we just send Amelia the items with which she could get turnt, and IF she wishes to have the lice follow her lead, that is always an option.

          • http://adeliberateimagination.wordpress.com/ CJKEYS2

            Soooo like male strippers dressed as lice?

  • GapToothedGirl

    Always useful your guide to the modern world!
    xox, Gap.
    http://www.gaptoothedgirl.com

  • ee_by_cc

    This is a very important post when heading into the weekend. I wouldn’t want to get caught turnt up if I was really turnt down. Thank you for setting me straight! ;)

    http://www.enduringethereal.com

    • Amelia Diamond

      any time!

  • Quinn Halman

    Hahahahha, as someone who is always around these words this take was honestly hysterical. You know I am available to be your teen/new-lingo correspondent, I bet there’s just a whole world of saying you don’t even know you wanted to know

    • Amelia Diamond

      GIVE ME YOUR KNOWLEDGE

    • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

      It’s like there’s a unique dialect that infiltrates high schools across North America, wouldn’t you say?

    • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

      Hey uh Quinn I heard you were turnt up at a Haim concert last night is that correct?

      • http://adeliberateimagination.wordpress.com/ CJKEYS2

        @quinn yeah did you make out with strangers like your horoscope said?

        • Quinn Halman

          Ok we don’t need to pluralize “stranger”

      • Quinn Halman

        Your source is correct

  • therealdp

    i really like the last graphic, but as i pointed out in my email, you have heard turnt before kanye’s 2014 DIL remix back in 2013 when it lost a lot of credibility by being abused by miley cyrus in her summer smash hit (which i still personally love) “we can’t stop”

    • Charlotte Fassler

      We’re all so turnt up here, getting turnt up yea yea

      • Charlotte Fassler

        la da di da di, we LyKe 2 ParTy

        • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

          Aight, Charlotte, imma hav 2 ask u to turn down rite bout nowwwwwww

          (fuck the commas totally ruined the character ^^)

    • Amelia Diamond

      I feel terrible for not considering it prior to 2014. I think I was distracted by the disgustingly catchy nature of the song. And now, for everyone’s viewing pleasure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrUvu1mlWco&feature=kp

      • http://www.anativeblonde.com/ Jess H.

        Wait wait wait WHAT about Roscoe Dash circa 2010?
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMwi8vFXUpo

        • Jada

          Exactly! Roscoe Dash isn’t mainstream so don’t expect the masses to know about him.

          • http://www.anativeblonde.com/ Jess H.

            My anthem sophomore year of college!

  • JT16

    Don’t forget the Turn Down For What button haha! http://www.td4wbutton.com/

    • Amelia Diamond

      hahhah my friend posted this on my FB wall and I annoyed EVERYONE with it at dinner one night

  • ashton

    this is funny. thanks for the laugh!
    !!!
    !

    • Amelia Diamond

      Thank you for laughing!

  • Sam

    Truly hilarious post. I hope you get all the way turnt up this weekend.

  • http://rightternes.com/ RightTernes

    As today is my birthday, I assume I’ll be answering “yes” to many of these questions.

    • Amelia Diamond

      HAPPY BIRTHDAYYY!!!!!

    • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

      happy birthday — get hyphy!

  • http://patternedposies.blogspot.com Grace Mattei

    Pilgrims, a girly s/n alias making fun of Kanye West…I am 100 percent in favor of this post. Also, it was basically the funniest shit I’ve ever read in my life, so there’s THAT. #TD4W

    xo, grace (patternedposies.blogspot.com)

  • Elena

    This is perfect! The last picture is gold!! (:
    xo

  • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

    Luckily we’ve seen the worst of the “turn down” “turnt up” phenomenon at my school….we are through the worst part of the storm, thank god.

    Now the buzzword is “rage,” and while I think it has been around for a while, it’s definitely making a comeback. Like the other day in class for example in U.S. Government:

    Guy 1: “Dude, fuck this, let’s fuckin’ rage!!!!”

    Guy 2: “bruh, where would we rage right now?”
    Girl 1: ‘Wait, did I hear ‘rage,’ where are you guys raging this weekend, I wanna RAGE!!”

    and the daytime equivalent of a “rager” is a “dayger.” Not sure what one would do midday but hey, more power to ‘em.

    • Amelia Diamond

      I use rage half-ironically, half because I spend too much time at fratty bars

      • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

        Haha Amelia Diamond would spend time at fratty bars….I’ve seen the ‘grams with Niners gear!

    • Kari

      This word is back already?! I’m 31 and we were using the term “rager” for parties when I was in high school, however, we only ever used it as a noun, we didn’t “rage” just attended ragers haha. I’m also from a super small rural community in Saskatchewan, Canada so the sentence had a bit of a country hick twang to it “oh she’s going to be a real rager tonight eh!!” Cheers! :)

  • Vinny Wore What

    One of your best, to date

  • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

    Oh and also Amelia you’re hilarious.

  • Joeri Evers

    This blog is so great! Always been a inspiration for me. I love this post :)

    http://www.hardwearing.be

  • http://twitter.com/robosalt Robosalt

    Thank you for this. So, Lil’ jons Turn Down for What is asking “Why should I turn down? For what reason is there to turn down? I’m more interesting in being turnt up at the moment”

    • Amelia Diamond

      Exactly!

  • roxanabanana

    ummm. <3
    thats all.
    but also….Sway (to Kanye): Okay, so you don't have money to do it. That's yo answer. You ain't gotta turn up, man. This ain't no f*cking show, man.

  • yvespink

    Another awesome post
    http://yvespink.blogspot.com

  • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

    My net friend Quinn just informed me that her flight was delayed because the crew turned up late due to Turning Up last night.

    So Quinn was experiencing #SecondHandTurnt

    • Quinn Halman

      AHAHAHAH guys, never fly air canada, it is literally the worst representation of Canada

  • Julie Skywalker

    I laughed so hard at the Mean Girls reference – thank you for that!

  • Guest

    Toad knows.

  • clarklab

    Not to be a knob, but how did you mistake terms with “up” and “down” to mean the same thing? Wouldn’t any reasonable person assume those were opposites?

  • Kelly M

    Hilarious. Thanks for further spreading the good word of the, “Turn Up!” Some individuals are still somewhat confused on the meaning. As a previous boss thought I was saying “turnip, turnip, turnip,” why I was using this ideology at work, no idea. Great none the less!

  • Emily R

    this made me laugh excessively alone in my casa. ha. good work, Man Repeller.

  • Cynthia

    Oh my goodness..honestly you’re doing the most right now. It’s just a saying. Ask someone who knows what it means to break it down for you and then move on. No need to overanalyze things. Also lil Jon knows what it means. What he’s saying is why would he be calm? For what reason? A step by step guide on the art of turning up or down is not necessary.

  • http://www.profliagtes.com kaylabarnespr.com

    HILARIOUS!!

  • Kaleigh Fasanella

    This is hilarious!

  • http://cityhabit.wordpress.com Modupe Oloruntoba

    Excellent. I am now well & fully versed in Turn Theory.
    Also, thank you for using a mean girls reference. Yes, I will thank you EVERY TIME.

  • http://www.alexiskletjian.com ALEXIS KLETJIAN

    I’m not really sure if this turnt me up or down, I loved it either way. Very clever.
    http://www.alexiskletjian.com

  • Three Girls One Apple

    lmfaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggggggggggggggggggggg omg I died of laughter. awesome post!!! Honestly, turn down for what?

  • http://korisma.blogspot.com Kori G

    This has to be one of my all time favorite MR articles! Absolutely hilarious. Thank you for giving us all insight on such an important issue.

    http://korisma.blogspot.com/

  • Greta

    THIS IS THE BEST THANG I EVER READ .. Seriously !!
    hahhaahaah
    It blows my mind and right now i´m laughing like a damn crazy
    You made my day !
    thnks a lot >.< :D

  • TurntupallDaWay

    It makes sense; we want to stay turnt up all the time,
    so why would we turn down – for what?
    For nothing…there is never a reason to turn down.
    Stay turnt

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