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I have issues deciphering meaning of the following sentence:

We are the Atom Cats, a gang of the most with it way out cats in the Commonwealth.

This sentence is from Fallout 4 game (which is not that important). The part I am struggling with is "the most with it way out cats". Does that make sense to a native speaker?

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    I suppose that that way out is way-out, i.e., excellent, amazing, cool, and such. May 24, 2016 at 17:24
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    I feel like mentally adding the comma helped me understand this. "We are the Atom Cats, a gang of the most with it, way out cats in the Commonwealth." May 24, 2016 at 22:42
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    There should be two hyphens: with-it and way-out are slang terms. May 25, 2016 at 2:19
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    This is a great example of how some of those pesky punctuation rules help us. "Generally, hyphenate two or more words when they come before a noun they modify and act as a single idea. This is called a compound adjective." If the author had written it correctly it would be easier to understand (or at least you would know to look up with-it and way-out).
    – ColleenV
    May 25, 2016 at 18:26

1 Answer 1

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It's a sequence of a few fairly outdated slang phrases (I get a 1970s vibe from this statement, but I was not alive in that decade to know it that is really accurate).

"With it": Aware of or knowledgeable about the latest trends or developments.

"way out": Unconventional/excellent

"cat": Person, especially man (also potentially related to jazz musicians, if that is possibly relevant)

So the whole thing is just saying

We're the Atom Cats, a gang of the coolest people in the Commonwealth

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    It's actually late 50s-early 60s slang, heavily influenced by the 'beatnik' followers of New York jazz. It would be easier to grasp if written with-it way-out cats. May 24, 2016 at 19:15
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    The Atom Cats characters dress in a 1950s "greaser" style, so the slang is meant to fit in with their 50s image.
    – recognizer
    May 24, 2016 at 19:22
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    Thanks @StoneyB and recognizer - that makes sense. I don't have background knowledge of the game, and I though "cats" and "with it" seemed older than the 70s, but associated "way out" with "far out" and hippies (which I guess is 60s more than 70s, but as I said, all before my lifetime (: )
    – Sarah
    May 24, 2016 at 22:40
  • @Sarah 50s-60s was my youth; we're starting to die out. :} May 25, 2016 at 1:31
  • I would have put "coolest and craziest" to capture the full connotation of way-out. May 25, 2016 at 2:20

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