Understanding the Gen Z Vocabulary

First, I want you to know it's totally lit to be writing this. Hope nothing that follows feels cringey. Sometimes I can get a little extra. And when we're not F2F, it's hard to tell. I'm just hoping it reads fleeky. But trust me, what follows is high-key. TBH, I just hope you don't throw any shade my way but, instead, will read and wig.

Need a dictionary or, better yet, a translator? You're not alone. Learning to "talk teen" is a constantly moving target, to be updated (at least) annually. Throw in the increasing use of gifs and memes instead of words, and the challenge only grows.

So here's a cheat sheet of the latest teen slang and acronyms:

Beef = a disagreement or hostility

BRB = be right back

Bruh = another way of saying "bro" or "brother"

Canceled = done, deleted, finished, blocked on social media

Clout Chaser = someone who tries to latch on to other, more popular people

Clout Demon = a wannabe

Cringey = awkward, uncomfortable, cringe-worthy

Curve = reject someone's advances

Dead A— = to be completely and honestly serious

Dead = overwhelmed or exhausted

Dime = rating of attractiveness, 10/10

Down in the DM = direct messaging someone privately, usually to hook up

Drip/Drippin = flashy, ostentatious

Extra = over the top

F2F = face to face, meeting in person

Fam = the friends you are closest with

Finna = going to/about to, short for "fixing to"

Finsta = a fake Instagram account

Fleeky = amazing or great

Glow-up = an incredible transformation

Goals = a lifestyle to strive for

GOAT = greatest of all time, mainly used in sports

Gucci = good, cool

High-key = a lot, wanting everyone to know something

Hit a lick = to steal something

Hundo P = 100 percent, confirming something

It's lit = cool, awesome, great

I'm weak = something so funny it made you weak

Juice = credibility, respect, can also mean booze or drugs

Juul = a popular brand of vaporizer used by teens

Kickback = a casual get-together

KMS/KYS = kill myself, kill yourself, used sarcastically

Lean = an intoxicating drink made using soda and cough syrup

Meme = a joke or reference to something

OP = out of pocket, used when something is extreme or offensive

Pods = disposable cartridge for a nicotine vaporizer

Ratchet = loud, obnoxious, trashy

Saucy = feisty or sassy

Savage = wild or harsh

Shade = trash talk

Shook = shocked, upset

Sips tea = minding your own business

Smash = to hook up, have sex

Squad = your closest group of friends

Stan = have an intense fandom for a particular object, such as a singer, athlete or company

Straight fire = popular, trendy or awesome

Sus = short for suspect, when something is suspicious or sketchy

TBH = to be honest

Tea = gossip

Thicc = voluptuous, curvy body (usually a compliment)

Thirsty = wants attention, usually from a specific person

Throw shade = talking badly about a person or thing

Tweaking = high, usually on amphetamines

V = very

Wig = when something crazy or unexpected (good) happens

Woke = enlightened about social issues, originally to describe being aware about racism and police violence

I know. This blog was the GOAT.

James Emery White


Jennifer Jolly, "'It's lit': The Ultimate Guide to Decoding Your Teen's Text and Speak," USA Today, August 10, 2018, read online.