Over at Drift, Nash is pondering quirky, antiquated, everyday phrases.
My younger brother used to get into trouble in the late 60s/early 70s for saying "Fab!" all the time - and it took me years to realise that Mum was assuming he was using "Ffffffab!" as a swear word, ie. as an alternative to a certain four-letter word. (And I guess he was, but it was all quite innocent, in that he was just repeating his friends' schoolyard catchcry. As soon as she banned "Fab!", he substituted "Fit!" instead, and still got into trouble. (The two girls who lived next door used to say "Sssssugar!" and "Schweppes!" as their secret swear words.)
I can recall "The Brady Bunch" repeats on TV keeping "Groovy!" in vogue long beyond its "Use By" date.
In the 70s, "gay" was definitely not yet in vogue as an alternative for the term "homosexual". More often, someone was said to be "camp". There was a fascinating article in an old "TV Week" or "TV Times" that talked about Joe Hasham (who played Aussie homosexual lawyer, Don Finlayson in "Number 96") having a gay time at a party. ;)
"Neato!" I first heard during a one-night stopover in Hawaii in December 1983. I was able to meet up with an art class fellow student, who happened to be there to run in the annual Hawaii Marathon, and he explained it was the current "in" word. I started using it myself all 'round the USA - complete with phony American accent, and I was surprised that it did end up in use in Sydney a few years later - but usually just as "Neat".
And "Neat!" was totally overshadowed by "Sad!" (meaning "Good") in the 80s, "Cool!" (or indeed "Kewl") in the 2000s, and "Sick!" and "Fully sick!" in 2006.