A little over a year ago we did a story on how to understand what teens are saying when they actually talk to you (or perhaps more accurately, when they talk to each other) which you can read here. But language changes fast, so here is an update. Good luck
Gone are the days when our parents just didn’t understand. We’re the parents now and when our kids come home from school and tell us about their day, we may be having some trouble keeping up. Here’s the latest in teen slang so we can remain hip (and not have to ask “what?!” every other sentence).
Full disclosure: My 16-year-old daughter and her friends helped me write this one! This is an update to the version we had live in 2020. She laughed when I asked if any of the words were still in use. And laughed some more when I asked her about new ones, explaining they were things little kids say online. Here are the words she’s given me, admitting they aren’t things they would say in front of an adult.
We’ve all had our words for describing kids in different groups, such as Emo or Goth to mean someone into punk/emo-style music. Those kids are still around but the new term is an Egirl or an Eboy.
“Stella is such an Egirl, she has tickets to see Manchester Orchestra, Origami Angel and Adjy next month.”
The kids have to keep changing the words once adults start using the lingo. Gone is the word “basic” to describe someone who is too common, unoriginal or unexceptional. The new word is “cheugy” and it isn’t said with kindness.
“OMG, did you see what Cassandra was wearing? She’s so cheugy.”
Funny how words can come back around. When we were kids, we teased our folks for having used a word like “gas” to describe something cool but now our kids are saying it. Gas can also be used to mean to “hype someone up” as the word as a noun can also mean marijuana. Of course, when I asked my daughter she said “No, it just means something is good but teens wouldn’t say it in front of adults.”
“Have you seen the new ‘Suicide Squad?’ It’s gas!”
If you hear this word being dropped, listen carefully. A “plug” is a drug dealer who “connects you.” An exchange like below isn’t referring to having an extra charger.
Teen 1: “Do you have a plug for the weekend?”
Teen 2: “Yeah, we’re all set.”
Teens have to have new words for simple things like “yes” and “no” because why be boring? When someone wants to say “yes” these days, they say “bet,” as in a short form of “you bet!”
Teen 1: “Do you want to go to the game on Friday?”
Teen 2: “Bet. See you there.”
Another demeaning term is a “simp,” who is a person who is overly in love with someone or something.
“Robbie won’t stop texting me. He’s such a simp.”
This is another one that you may want to pay attention to if you hear your teen drop it. It means “an attractive person.” Akin to the old use of calling someone “tasty,” now they are known as a “snack.”
“That guy over there is such a snack.”
There are other words that are being tossed around but they are for the “preteen wannabes,” according to my 16-year-old. Just in case you have a 13-year-old trying to play it cool, here are a few terms the high schoolers have dropped but may still be in circulation
8. VSCO Girl
These are girls who are behind on the trends and wearing 90s-inspired clothing like Crocs and Scrunchies. The term comes from the photo editing app VSCO and makes fun of the kids who are a bit over the top on selfies and social media. (It’s pronounced “visco.”)
When someone is really excited while texting, they often have spelling errors from texting too fast. SKSKSK are purposeful keys hit to show you are really excited about something. According to my daughter, “Only VSCO girls still use that.”
Again, instead of saying “yes” the idea is to use a different version. It began as “YAS” or “YAAS” to indicate a very enthusiastic “yes.” Then it was switched over to “YEET.” But this is why the new word is “bet” – a little more chill after years of excitement.
Just as the CEO is the boss at work, the kids took the term to mean they are the boss or they “own” something. My 15-year-old son is still using this one to describe a great basketball player scoring the most points in a game, such as “Steph Curry is the CEO.”
BTW: No teen uses “OK boomer” or “Karen” anymore. Now that it’s used on TV and by adults, they cringe when they hear it so don’t try to drop the word because you will be “so yesterday.”