It Was a Gas: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
December 23, 2023

"it was a gas" is a fun, informal way to say something was enjoyable or exciting. Originally rooted in 1960s slang, the expression gives off a sense of enthusiasm and delight. It's often heard when talking about parties, social events, or any particularly fun experience. The phrase can be used in various settings, but it's most common in casual conversations.

In short:

  • It means something was a lot of fun or very exciting.
  • It's mostly used in casual talk and is rooted in 1960s slang.

What Does "It Was a Gas" Mean?

When someone says, "it was a gas," it means they had a great time. They found the experience thrilling or extremely enjoyable. You might hear this phrase after someone goes to a great party or concert. For instance, someone might say, "The concert last night? Man, it was a gas!"

Let's look at its main meanings and how people use it:

  • The phrase indicates that something was fun or exciting.
  • It's a way to express enthusiasm about an experience.
  • People often use this phrase to recap memorable events where everyone had a good time.
  • While its usage has decreased since its 1960s heyday, it's still understood and used for its vintage charm.
  • Similar expressions include "it was a blast" or "it was awesome."

Where Does "It Was a Gas" Come From?

The informal idiom "it was a gas" emerged in the 20th century to express that something was extremely enjoyable. The term "gas" likely refers to nitrous oxide, commonly known as "laughing gas," which induces euphoria when inhaled in low concentrations. The expression "it's a gas," meaning fun, first appeared in Irish English, with its earliest recorded use in James Joyce's 1914 story collection "Dubliners." However, the phrase "it was a gas," denoting a highly enjoyable experience, didn't surface in print until the mid-20th century.

10 Examples of "It Was a Gas" in Sentences

To help you better understand when and how to use "it was a gas," let's look at some examples from different situations:

  • Send across my gratitude. The party last night was a gas.
  • Just feel at home and join the party; trust me, it's going to be a gas.
  • When they finally reached the mountaintop, he looked around and said, "This hike was a gas."
  • After the movie night, she texted her friends to tell them it was a gas.
  • He tried surfing for the first time and told everyone it was a gas.
  • Fret not about the details; the main thing is that it was a gas last time.
  • Love ya! And thanks for making my birthday party so memorable—truly, it was a gas.
  • He went to his first live football game and said, "Man, that was a gas."
  • After the family reunion, they all agreed it was a gas.
  • How time flies when you're having fun; it was just yesterday when we were all saying it was a gas at the reunion.

Examples of "It Was a Gas" in Pop Culture

This phrase also shows up in pop culture, mostly to describe fun or thrilling experiences.

Let's check out some examples:

  • Debbie Harry, in her memoir "Face It," reflects on her experiences with Blondie, including their hit song "Heart Of Glass," which features the lyrics "Once I had a love, and it was a gas."
  • The Guardian's archive article from 26 September 1965 discusses the pop sensations of the time, quoting a band member saying, "We thought it was a gas."
  • In an interview with Rolling Stone, Pete Townshend, discussing "Tommy," the rock opera by The Who, remarked, "it was a gas." He reflects on the creative process and the success of this groundbreaking work.

Synonyms: Other Ways to Say "It Was a Gas"

If you're looking for different ways to express that something was a blast, here are some alternatives:

  • It was awesome
  • Had a blast
  • It was epic
  • It was wild
  • Had a great time
  • It was a hoot
  • It was thrilling
  • It was fantastic
  • It rocked
  • It was super fun

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "It Was a Gas":

  • What does "it was a gas" mean?

"It was a gas" is a phrase used to describe an experience that was extremely enjoyable or fun. The term is often used to convey that a good time was had by all involved.

  • How can I use "it was a gas" in a sentence?

You can use it to talk about past events that were entertaining or fulfilling. For example: "The party last night? Oh, it was a gas!" or "Going skydiving was a gas, you should try it."

  • Is the phrase more common in specific age groups or eras?

The phrase is often associated with the 1960s and '70s, so it might be more commonly used by people who lived during those times. However, it's understood by many age groups.

  • Does it have a literal meaning?

While "gas" can literally refer to a state of matter, in this phrase, it doesn't have a literal meaning. It's just a way to say that something was a lot of fun.

  • Can "it was a gas" be used in written form?

Yes, you can use "it was a gas" in writing, such as in text messages or social media posts, to share that you had a great experience.

  • Is it ever used in professional settings?

The phrase is generally more casual, so you're less likely to hear it in a professional setting. It's more common in social or informal conversations.

  • Can the phrase be used to describe experiences other than events?

Yes, the phrase can describe anything that was enjoyable, not just events. For example, you can say "Reading that book was a gas" or "Trying out that new game was a gas.

  • Is it commonly used in certain regions?

The phrase is mainly associated with American English and is more commonly heard in the United States.

  • How is it different from "it was awesome"?

"It was a gas" and "it was awesome" both convey that something was enjoyable, but "it was a gas" has a retro or nostalgic flavor to it.

  • Is it considered outdated?

While the phrase is somewhat dated, it's still understood and can add a touch of retro flair to a conversation.

Final Thoughts About "It Was a Gas"

"It was a gas" is a great way to say that you had a fantastic time, especially if you want to add vintage or nostalgia to the conversation.

Here's a quick recap:

  • The phrase is mainly used to describe fun experiences.
  • It's more common in casual settings and conversations.
  • It can be used to talk about events, activities, or even books or movies.
  • Though somewhat dated, it's still widely understood and can make your language more colorful.

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