Do you wonder what your teen is saying to his or her friends? Do you ever feel like they are speaking in a foreign language?
I do. All the time … and I imagine I’m not the only one.
To help translate some of the modern teen talk, I collaborated with my two teens – Abbey, 14, and Jaiden, 12. They let me in on the most commonly used words and phrases – along with their not-so-obvious meanings.
One thing I’ve noticed is that much of the language is really just shortened variations of much longer words. It’s as if they are too lazy to say the entire word. Then there are others, such as “bae,” that are slang for something different. Finally, there are, of course, just some made-up words.
Below is a compilation of the most common terms floating around middle and high school. Hopefully it will help you navigate the often confusing world that is teen language.
1. “On fleek.” Simply put, this phrase means on point. As in, “My eyebrows are on fleek today.” This is most commonly used when your teen wants to express how amazing he or she looks while sounding cool, too.
2. “Catfish.” Originating from an MTV reality series of the same name, this term is used for a person who creates a fake profile on social media to get closer to another person – usually for romantic purposes. It is also used in the past tense when someone realizes they’ve been tricked. For example, “I got catfished.”
3. “Ship.” This is simply an abbreviated version of the word “relationship,” and is used to describe two people who are currently dating or who you would like to see get together – especially in the celebrity world. It also generally involves mashing the two names into one. Some examples include: “Jelena” – for Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez when they were together, or “Brangelina” – for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Here’s how the word might be used among teens today: “I ship Jelena so hard … like, oh my gosh.”
4. “Bae.” This is one that’s been around for a while – and most of us are already familiar with it. If you’re not, however, it’s the acronym teens use meaning “before anyone else.” Meant as a term of endearment, it is the word used to replace the word baby or babe, and usually refers to the steady guy or gal in your teen’s life. An example: “He’s my bae.” Bae is also the Danish word for “poop.”
5. “Squad/Squad goals.” The word “squad” refers to your teen’s group of friends, while “squad goals” is the term used to describe who you want your group to be or what you want your group to accomplish. This has been made popular by Taylor Swift and her fleet of Twitter followers. “Oh my gosh, they are seriously squad goals!”
6. “Literally me/That’s my life.” From my experience, these phrases are reserved for the more dramatic teen in your life, and share very similar meanings. Whether it’s referring to memes posted to social media or scenes depicted on a popular television series, these phrases are used to compare your teen’s life to a specific situation or theme that are often also dramatic in nature. My 14-year-old, on the other hand, likes to mash them together: “FOOD! LITERALLY, MY LIFE!”
7. “Netflix and Chill.” Thankfully, this isn’t a phrase I have heard either of my children use in context of their own plans, and hopefully this isn’t a phrase you hear either. If it is, it could be time for a chat. This phrase is certainly NOT meant to be taken in the literal sense. In today’s world, it’s slang for having intimate relations with another person while Netflix is on in the background. It can sound innocent enough when spoken: “We’re just gonna watch Netflix and chill.” But it most certainly is not innocent.
8. “YOLO.” This term – made famous by Canadian rapper, Drake, in 2011 – is still popular among teens today. An acronym meaning “you only live once,” YOLO suggests you should enjoy life – even when risks are involved. Many parents may relate this to the more old-fashioned phrase, “carpe diem.” YOLO is usually included at the end of a sentence or statement. “Hey guys, watch this. YOLO!”
What are some of the slang terms or phrases your teen has been using lately? Feel free to share them in the comments below.
Shout out to the World Herald for getting out there and breaking down the teenagers “gang slang” as it was really lost on me. Always out at the mall or arcade and hear them yippin and yappin about yolo, bae and their squads and was totally lost. Hopefully this helps you guys out as well. Just a couple more I’d like to add to the list.
9. “WAT.” aka “what” Made famous by dumb people from Trailer parks from Maine to Washington state. “Wat” is best used in sheer disbelief at someones Facebook comment. One key feature to “Wat” is that you save roughly .000001 seconds not typing out the “h” everytime you use “Wat” team “Wat” for life, Facebook, Twitter, Resumes, Tombstone all “Wat” everything.
ex- “wow wat a fucking dummy I am thinking that I was gonna get my family back but guess I was totally wrong”
10. “POON TANG” an oldie but a goodie that I have recently decided to bring back to the vernacular. When referring to “Poon Tang” you’re talking about some of that ‘tang you’re looking to get. Or perhaps you’re speaking of that poon you just snatched up. Nothing is cooler than gettin some ‘tang, let me tell it teens.
Those are free Teens and World Herald, the next ones are gonna cost ya.