Sayings and idioms are integral to understanding the English language and how native speakers use it. Some newer phrases like “props to you” are being popularized lately, so it’s good to understand what it means to start using it yourself.
What Does “Props To You” Mean?
Props to you means to show someone “proper” appreciation or respect. It is a slang word that came out in the 1980s and is used to show that you’re impressed with somebody, either by their skills, ability, behavior, or something similar.
What Is The Word “Props” Short For?
The word “props” is short for “proper” in this sense and is the slang form of saying “proper respect” or “proper appreciation.”
It’s most common to use when you’re trying to tell someone how impressed you are with them. To say that you are showing “proper respect” means you seriously respect the way they did something or carried themselves with a given task or situation.
Origin Of “Props To You”
The origin of “props to you” seems to originate sometime in the 1980s; however, the original word “propers,” which is closely linked to it, made its first appearance in the 1960s.
If you refer to the graph we’ve inserted, you can see how it wasn’t until the 1990s that the phrase took off. It’s gradually become a more mainstream word and has peaked sometime in the 2010s (and is on a downward trajectory since).
Even though the first iteration of the phrase was in 1967, it didn’t become prevalent until the 90s. In 1967, the Aretha Franklin song “Respect” included a line that sang, “give me my propers when you get home.” This idea of “propers” replacing “proper respect” or “proper appreciation” was the first real variation of the saying.
From there, people started to use “propers” as a way of showing people that they were impressed by what they’ve done. As many idioms do, it developed into more concise and more accessible words, like “props.”
The word “props” in itself is enough to say that you’re impressed with what somebody has done. It implies that “proper respect” is given to them. “Props to you” is just an extension of that word, which specifically tells the receiver that the respect is aimed at them.
What Does “Mad Props” Mean?
As time goes by, phrases evolve even further to keep up with the times and trends. “Mad props” was the next iteration of the saying and is the most commonly used one to say now.
“Mad props” means that someone is showing you “mad respect.” “Mad” in this sense means an extreme level of something or an overenthusiastic way to tell someone how impressive they are.
“Mad props” is used as an idiom with a meaning different from how it might be perceived throughout time. Both “mad” and “props” have their own individual meanings, but when used together in slang form, they’re used to show a serious level of respect in someone that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to give to them.
While there are plenty of other words out there that you can use to show praise to someone, “mad props” is an ideal choice in an informal or casual situation. It’s good if you’re close to the person you’re speaking to, or you’re at least on the same level with them.
What Does “Props Only” Mean?
“Props only” is a less well-known saying, but it still follows the same slang rules. “Props” is still used in the same light, where we’re showing somebody proper respect or appreciation.
However, saying “props only” means we’re happy to give someone only the props they deserve. It’s almost a more humbling way to say, “well done to you, but don’t let it get to your head.”
Again, this is an incredibly informal slang term, and you shouldn’t use it in more formal situations. Still, it’s a really good one to use with your friends.
What Is The Difference Between “Kudos” And “Props”?
There isn’t much difference in meaning between “kudos” and “props.” Both words are used to encourage someone for their achievements or to show them the respect that they deserve. The main difference between the word comes from their origin and their delivery.
“Kudos” is generally accepted as the more formal word. It comes from UK university slang and is widely recognized as an acceptable word – even in some formal circles. “Props” has a background in US hip hop and is less regarded as a formal alternative.
Even though “kudos” is the more formal of the two words, that still doesn’t mean you can use it in a formal letter. It’s great to use synonymously with “congratulations,” and even some teachers and bosses might use it to congratulate their students or employees, but that doesn’t make it more acceptable with a formal tone.
Still, if you’re wondering which of the two is more acceptable to use, then “kudos” is your answer.
Props To You – Synonyms
There’s always a way to say a phrase without saying a phrase. As confusing as that may sound if you’re worried about the delivery of “props to you” or think you’re in the wrong tone for it, then maybe one of these synonyms will be better suited to you!
You’ll still convey your general meaning, and you’ll often be better off using one of these – especially for more formal situations.
One of the oldest ways to say well done to somebody. Nobody has ever found a better word than “congratulations,” and it’s a great replacement for “props to you.”
- You did good
Another slang and informal alternative, but we thought we’d include it nonetheless. You can’t use this in formal settings, but it’s a well-known phrase to replace it.
Another old-fashioned slang word like “kudos.” It’s more widely accepted in more formal circles. However, it’s still not the best choice for the most formal situations.
- Well done
Perhaps one of the best choices for formal writing and a great alternative to use regardless of the context.
Martin is the founder of Grammarhow.com. With top grades in English and teaching experience at university level, he is on a mission to share all of his knowledge about the English language. Having written thousands of articles, he is an expert in communicating difficult topics in a clear and understandable language.
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