For a mercifully brief period of the 80's, tubular was suburban-american slang for... "good". Just as "cool", "hot", "rad", "keen" and all that other rot is/was. I actually had the distinct displeasure of hearing this word used in a sentence (more than once) by people wearing perfectly straight faces. I thought it was stupid then. Damn... a trend setting poster child for negativity at the tender age of 7. Dope.

"Tubular" as a synonym for "good" originated in surfing talk, where a wave that had the form of a tube was terribly impressive to surf down the inside of. I believe the usage spread as a part of the fad for "Valley Girl" speech; at least this word was on a poster of supposed Valley Girl vocabulary I had on my wall for a time when I was in elemetary school in South Carolina (where it's nearly impossible to surf).

Tu"bu*lar (?), a. [L. tubulus, dim. of tubus a tube, or pipe. See Tube.]

Having the form of a tube, or pipe; consisting of a pipe; fistular; as, a tubular snout; a tubular calyx. Also, containing, or provided with, tubes.

Tubular boiler. See under Boiler. -- Tubular breathing Med., a variety of respiratory sound, heard on auscultation over the lungs in certain cases of disease, resembling that produced by the air passing through the trachea. -- Tubular bridge, a bridge in the form of a hollow trunk or tube, made of iron plates riveted together, as the Victoria bridge over the St. Lawrence, at Montreal, Canada, and the Britannia bridge over the Menai Straits. -- Tubular girder, a plate girder having two or more vertical webs with a space between them.

 

© Webster 1913.

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