If you’re a regular at DTC, you may have come across the word “rad” accompanied by clues that define it as “pretty cool” or “a word used by millennials to describe something as cool or hip.” Well, there’s more to it.

Rad is short for “radical.” The dictionary defines radical as “departure from tradition.” Radical’s inception was in fact in the form of an adjective, derived in the 14th century from the Latin word “radicalis,” meaning “root.” Therefore, giving birth to the radical (√) sign in Mathematics.

The use of “radical” in the world of politics was first recorded during the late 18th century to call for  “radical reform” by the British Liberal Party. These supporters of parliamentary reform a.k.a “radicals,” worked to extend suffrage to the working class and women.

Retaining the word’s essence, the surfers added “radical” to their vocabulary during the ’60s and gradually the word started to be associated with new ideas and fresh perspectives, in short things considered “cool.” Of course, we have the Ninja Turtles to thank for popularizing the word by using it one too many times. 

Now that rad’s covered, next time you spot the sneaky three-letter word on a grid, tackle it head-on. In case you find a clue that’s a departure from cool or hip which we just talked about, remember that “rad” is also the shortened version of both “radius” and “radiation.” With some clues, you just need a little more patience.

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