I think since time began parents have been trying to figure out what their preteens and older kids are talking about at least a third of the time. Language is constantly evolving and changing, and part of that includes the addition of new words and new slang terms.
Social media and texting add to the need for ways to shortcut ways and speed of expression. When I was in high school everybody took a typing class to learn how to type with 2 hands, the ‘correct’ way. My typing teacher, Mrs. Edelman, was the enemy of hunt and peck style selecting of keys. I shudder to think what she would have said about typing with just thumbs, and totally ignoring punctuation.
The purpose of teen slang words is the same as it has always been – to have a voice separate from ‘adults’, enhance communication with peers, and basically sound cool. There are also slang and styles of speech that can define a place and time.
Last year I wrote a post about slang and was encouraged to update it. Since the subject matter I’ve shared has been rather serious the last few weeks, I thought this might be a good time to put out there something more lighthearted.
Basic slang terms
Below are some common teen slang words you might hear:
- Dope – Cool or Awesome
- GOAT – “Greatest of All Time”
- Gucci – Good or Going well
- Lit – Amazing, Exciting
- OMG – “Oh My Gosh” or “Oh My God”
- On fleek – Style on point or Looking very good
- Salty – Bitter, Angry, Snarky
- Sic/Sick – Cool, Sweet
- Snack or Snacc – An attractive or sexy person
- Snatched – Looks perfect, Fashionable
- Sus – Suspicious, Suspect
- Fire – Hot, Trendy, Amazing
- TBH – To be honest
- Tea – Gossip, Story, News
- Thirsty – Trying to get attention
- YOLO – “You Only Live Once”
Regarding people and relationships
Relationships are a vital part of life at all ages, and take up a lot of our time. During the teen years, kids are developing their own identities. They’re figuring out who they are and how to express it. These are some slang words about all that.
- Bae– “Before anyone else,” described a boyfriend, girlfriend, or good friend
- Basic – Boring, Average
- BF/GF – Boyfriend or girlfriend
- BFF – “Best friends forever”
- Bruh – Bro or Dude (totally gender-neutral)
- Cap – Fake, A lie
- Curve – Reject someone romantically
- Emo – Emotional, Overly dramatic
- Fam – Group of friends
- Flex – To show off
- A Karen – A disparaging way to describe a petty, rude woman, especially disrespecting somebody in public.
- No cap – Totally true, No lie
- Noob – Someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. A newbie.
- Periodt – Emphasizer. “That’s the best type, periodt.”
- Ship – Two people you could see being together in a relationship
- Shook – Shocked, Shaken up
- Squad – Group of friends that hang out together
- Sus – Suspicious, Shady, Not to be trusted
- Throw shade – To insult somebody
- Tight – In a close relationship, Friendship
- Tool – Stupid, Obnoxious, Rude.
Teens often create shortcuts by combining two words together. To understand what they mean, you need to know the definition of each word. Here are some compound slang words:
- Crashy – Crazy and trashy, like a trainwreck
- Crunk – Getting high and drunk at the same time, or crazy and drunk
- Hangry – Hungry and angry
- Requestion – Request and question, or to question again
- Tope – Tight and dope
References to drugs, booze, parties, sex
Sometimes these words are used in joking or boasting. But, here are some social slang spoken and text phrases to be aware of:
- 53X– Sex
- CU46– See you for sex
- Dayger– Party during the day
- Function/Func– Party
- Kick back– Small party
- Molly– Ecstasy (MDMA), a dangerous drug
- Netflix and Chill – Getting together over to make out or have
- Rager– A big party
- Smash– Have casual sex
- Sloshed– To be drunk
- The plug– Someone that supplies alcohol/drugs
- Throw down– To throw a party
- Turnt– To be high or drunk
- X– Ecstasy
- WTTP– Want to trade photos?
- LMIRL– Let’s meet in real life
Bridgerton Regency slang
The hit Netflix series has brought some Regency era slang into focus. Readers of historical novels would recognize these terms, but other people may not. As the video clip shows, even some of the actors were unfamiliar with a few of them they were asked about:
- Abigail: A lady’s maid.
- Ace of Spades: A widow.
- Banns: a notice read out on three successive Sundays in a parish church, announcing an intended marriage and giving the opportunity for objections
- Bluestocking: an intellectual or literary woman.
- Bucks: A popular, fashionable man who pursued pleasure, blood or sporting type
- Cast up one’s accounts: To vomit
- Chemise: a shirt like under dress, usually falling above the knees
- Chit: saucy or impertinent young girl
- Cock up. one’s toes: To die
- Courses: A woman’s menses or period.
- Cravat: a short, wide strip of fabric worn by men around the neck and tucked inside an open-necked shirt. These could be tied in a variety of styles.
- Diamond of the first water: A woman who is the ideal of perfect beauty.
- Dowager: a widow with a title or property derived from her late husband
- Foxed: Drunk
- High in the instep: Someone who is conceited, Full of themselves
- Ladybird: A mistress
- Leading strings: Harness adults used to help toddlers learn to walk.
- Leg Shackled: Married
- Planted a facer: Punched
- Promenade : Walk in public with a special someone.
- Rake: Shortened version of ‘Rakehell’. Men who wasted inherited money on a life of gambling, drinking, wild and reckless behavior, and women. A playboy.
- Snuff: Tobacco that was snorted
- Special license: permission granted by an Archbishop to allow a couple to skip posting the usual banns in order to get married quickly.
- Swoon: To faint, with style.
- The Ton: British high society.
Slang has a wonderful place in language, and it’s usually pretty harmless. But it’s good to be aware of some of the more concerning terms in case you hear your kids using them, because they may alert you to the fact that you need to pay closer attention to something. Some of it fades away from year to year, and some goes on to become a part of regular everyday language.
Please feel free to share with me any slang terms you’ve heard lately, or which one memorable enough to stay with you over the years.