Do you know what inspired the name of the 1990s mega-hit sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? Being a 90s kid and a fan of the show growing up—and today being the 30th anniversary of its premier on tv—AND the news that the show is being rebooted with Will Smith as a producer, I felt curious about finding out the history of this 1990s African American English Venacular term.

According to the Fresh Prince Blog:

The Definition of Fresh

FRESH: a crisp, new-in-the-box fashion look/ tidy appearance.

An example of how it was used in the 1990s: “Funky fresh”: excellent (usually in the context of style).

The Definition of Prince

“THE PRINCE”: the best talker in a group or gang.

Explanation Of The Term “Fresh Prince”

What it meant to be a “FRESH PRINCE” the 1990s: Being a “fresh prince” meant that you are the best dresser; you wear the the dopiest and the coolest clothes of the moment; you always know what’s up, what’s new, what’s IN.

The reason why Will’s character is nicknamed The Fresh Prince is only referred to once in the show; in episode 14 of the first season Day Damn One. Here’s the part of the dialogue from the scene:

Carlton: There has been a tragedy at school! Somebody scratched the word “Fresh” on the alumni desk. They already have a lead on who did it.
Will: [nervously] They do?
Carlton: They think it was a freshmen who lost his cool.
Ashley: Lost his cool, that’s funny. “Fresh” means cool, right Will?
Will: I can’t keep up with this new hip lingo.
Ashley: But I thought that’s why they called you the Fresh Prince?
Will buries his head in his hands
Phillip: Day damn one, Vivian! Day damn one!

Wanna Learn How To Make Your Own Fresh Logo?

Shameless plug but, since my business Geoffresh, the company my husband Geoff founded in 2007 has the word fresh in it, and he’s a Tinley Park hometown boy, I couldn’t resist creating this riff off the famous “Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air” title for the 30th anniversary of the TV show’s 1990 premiere. If you like, let me know in the comments below or e-mail me, and depending on interest I’ll do a video tutorial/webinar.

That’s all folks. Stay fresh!


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