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From “Lit” to “Yeet”: A Parent’s Handbook to Teen Slang

My tween started speaking in a language that I could not understand. Her conversation was filled with phrases such as “salty” and “lit.” I felt I was missing something, so I started to explore the world of teen slang. I realized that learning the latest slang was more than just curiosity. It was also a way to stay connected with my daughter in an age where communication is evolving faster.

Every generation of teens has a unique way of expressing themselves. The lexicon used by adolescents is constantly changing. From “outta site” to “phat”, “sick” and more, parents are left confused and unable. You’ll understand if you have a tween child like I do.

Teen slang is evolving at an alarming rate in the digital age. With social media, memes, and constant texting, teen slang has exploded. As soon as you learn a phrase, it becomes outdated. Adults would all benefit from taking a crash course in the latest teen language. Let’s look at teens’ newest slang, including acronyms, shorthand, code words, and expressions likely to raise eyebrows.

Understanding the Importance 

Understanding teen slang goes beyond deciphering the words. It’s also a great way to bridge generation gaps. These words help our children assert independence, define their identity, and fit in. Slang is a way for them to differentiate themselves from their parents and bond with their friends. We can better understand the world of our children by embracing their language.

The following are common teen slang terms you may hear

  • AF – Stands for “as f**k,” used to emphasize a statement (i.e. “she’s cool AF”)
  • Cheugy – Something that is out of date or a person who is trying too hard
  • Dead – Something is so funny that the speaker has “died” of laughter
  • Dope – Cool or awesome
  • Extra – Over-the-top, extreme
  • Fit – Short for outfit
  • Fire – Hot, trendy, amasing, or on point (formerly “straight fire”)
  • GOAT – “Greatest of All Time”
  • Go Off – A phrase said to encourage someone to continue, usually when they’re ranting about something (can also be sarcastic, as in, “but go off, I guess”)
  • Gucci – Good, cool, or going well
  • Hits Different – Something that “hits different” is a lot better than normal
  • IYKYK – Stands for “if you know, you know”
  • Lit – Amazing, cool, or exciting
  • Low-Key – Added to a feeling or desire to downplay it (i.e. “I’m low-key freaking out”)
  • Mood – A word to signify agreement
  • OMG – An abbreviation for “Oh my gosh” or “Oh my God”
  • ONG – Basically the equivalent of “I swear to God”
  • Salty – Bitter, angry, agitated
  • Sic/Sick – Cool or sweet
  • Slay – To be extremely stylish or successful
  • Sleep On – To be ignorant of something or someone’s value (i.e. “Don’t sleep on the new Ariana single”)
  • Snatched – Looks good, perfect, or fashionable; the new “on fleek”
  • TBH – To be honest
  • Tea – Gossip, situation, story, or news
  • Thirsty – Trying to get attention
  • Yassify – To apply several beauty filters to a picture until the person is totally unrecognizable
  • Yeet – To throw something
  • YOLO – “You Only Live Once” (often used ironically)

People or Relationships 

  • Bae – “Before anyone else,” babe, or baby, is used to describe a romantic partner or good friend
  • Basic – Boring, average, or unoriginal
  • BF/GF – Boyfriend or girlfriend (used when texting, not in conversation)
  • BFF – “Best friends forever”
  • Bruh – Bro or dude (all three terms are gender-neutral)
  • Cap – Fake or a lie
  • CEO – To be the “CEO of” something is to excel at it
  • Curve – To reject someone romantically (related to “ghosting”)
  • Emo – Someone who is emotional or a drama queen
  • Fam – Group of friends
  • Flex – To show off
  • Ghosted – To end a relationship by cutting off communication
  • A Karen – A disparaging way to describe a petty middle-aged woman who is rude, especially to people who work in the service industry. (For example, saying, “What a Karen,” about someone who returns their drink at a restaurant for not having enough ice.)
  • No cap – Totally true or no lie
  • Noob/n00b – A person who doesn’t know what they’re doing or who is bad at something; in other words, a newbie
  • OK, Boomer – Usually said in response to a person or idea that seems outdated
  • Periodt – End of statement emphasizer. For example: “That’s the best ice cream, periodt.” (And YES, that is how they spell it)
  • Ship – You might “ship” two people together, as in you think they should be a couple, derived from the word relationship
  • Shook – To be incredibly shocked or shaken up
  • Simp – Someone who does way too much for the person they like; to have a huge crush on someone
  • Spill the Tea – Asking someone to spill gossip
  • Squad  Group of friends that hang out together regularly, used ironically
  • Stan – An overzealous fan of a particular group or celebrity
  • Sus – Suspicious, shady, not to be trusted
  • Throw shade – To give someone a dirty look
  • Tight – In a close relationship or friendship
  • Tool – Someone who is stupid, obnoxious, rude, and/or embarrasses themselves, often a jock type

Compound Slang 

Teens often create shortcuts by combining two words. To understand what they mean, you need to know the definition of each word. 

Here are some examples of compound teen slang:

  • 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 a question, or to question again
  • Tope – Tight and dope

Good luck with that. 

Parties, Drugs, and Sex 

While this list can be disturbing for most parents, it is important to know what your teen’s friend is trying to say if they are ever kind enough to call you and let you know your child is SLOSHED at a party and needs rescue. 

  • 53X – Sex
  • Body count – The number of people someone has slept with
  • CU46 – See you for sex
  • Dayger – Party during the day
  • Function/Func – Party
  • Kick back – Small party
  • Molly – Ecstasy (MDMA), a dangerous party drug
  • Netflix and chill – Used as a front for inviting someone over to make out (or maybe more)
  • Plug – Someone who can hook you up with drugs
  • Rager – Big party
  • Smash – To 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 (formerly “turnt up”)
  • X – Ecstasy
  • WTTP – Want to trade photos?
  • LMIRL – Let’s meet in real life
  • NSFW – Not Safe For Work – used when sharing internet material that should only be looked at in private because it contains some things, for example pictures of naked people, that could be offensive

While your child might not know or use all or any of these slang terms, it is good to be ahead of the game. I’ve got you covered; you can thank me later, Sis.

Balancing your teen’s independence and privacy with their safety is crucial. Open conversation with your teen regarding your concerns, family rules, and expectations about social media usage and acceptable behaviour is vital. You can’t watch every interaction, but you should be aware of online and offline communication to ensure your teen is safe.

Understanding teen slang goes beyond knowing the words. It’s also about connecting with your child and being aware of their world. It’s essential to strengthen your relationship with tweens by learning their language.


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