Throughout the ages every new generation has had their own slang. More than any other language on Earth, slang is the one that is constantly shifting, constantly changing, to keep up with the times. Gen Z is no different, but this makes it nearly impossible for someone who is not Gen Z to figure out what’s going on.
To test our theory, we put several of our editors to the test to see if they could decipher Gen Z slang. The results were…. not good.
So to help you (and them) out, we’ve compiled a list of Gen Z slang so you can finally understand what the kids are saying without going crazy. Behold, our Gen Z dictionary.
Gen Z dictionary
Cap/no cap: If you’ve ever heard someone go, “No, that’s so cap!” then you now know that it means that whatever they heard was a lie or something really unbelievable. Conversely, if they say no cap, it means that whatever they’re talking about is not a lie.
Hits different: When something hits different it means that it’s special in some way or unique in a positive manner.
Slaps: When something slaps, you’ll know it means that it’s really good.
Sus: This shortened form of ‘suspicious’ is used to describe shady or strange things.
Fam: Fam is a shortened form of ‘family’ but it is also used in reference to a group of friends, similar to the term homies.
iykyk: Obviously you don’t know which is why you’re reading this. This acronym stands for “if you know, you know” and is mainly used to reference an inside joke.
Wack: This term is used to describe something crazy.
Boujee: An adjective used to describe someone or something that is over-the-top. It’s an abbreviation of sorts of the French word bourgeois and can also describe people with over-the-top taste in luxury items.
Cheugy: You really don’t want to be cheugy. Cheugy is the opposite of cool and describes someone or something really behind the trends.
Salty: Used to describe jealousy.
Woke: This term describes politically aware people but is often used in a negative light as woke people are believed to nitpick every little thing to find racism, sexism or discrimination everywhere.
Periodt: TBH, the ‘t’ is only added to give the word more emphasis and is not actually pronounced. It’s often used like this: “And that’s on periodt!” The word is used to signify the end of a sentence or statement.
Extra: A shortened form of ‘extravagant,’ this adjective is used to describe someone or something that is very lavish.
Down-low: As millennials used the term ‘low-down,’ Gen Z uses the term down-low, or more accurately, “Keeping it on the DL,” which means to keep something quiet.
Low-key: This can be used to describe many things, from a relationship to a party, but the main idea is to keep something quiet and to not advertise it. It can also be used in this sentence: “I low-key think this shirt is cute,” to mean kind of.
High-key: The opposite of low-key
Bet: Used the same way as “OK” or “Yes”.
Vibing: The Gen Z version of “chilling” or “hanging”. You can also vibe to music.
Spill the tea: Spilling the tea does not mean to actually spill your chai. It means to tell you all about the drama and gossip, or spill the gossip.
Understood the assignment: For all the Boomers out there, here’s a little secret: this term is not about homework. Instead it’s used to demonstrate how a person or a thing is on point and understood what they were supposed to do.
The girls who know, know. The girls who don’t, don’t: This definition is for all you girlies out there who don’t know. This is used to express how a specific community has issues others won’t understand, and thus those girls just don’t know.
Banger/bop: Both terms mean the same thing — a song that hits different.
Stan: A mix of the word ‘stalker’ and ‘fan’, this isn’t actually something Gen Z can take credit for as it originated with Eminem’s 2002 album Stan. However, this term is still used today.
W: The word ‘win’ is shortened down to just W, which in turn is shortened down to the sound “dub”.
L: In the same way, the word ‘loser’ is shortened down to just the letter L. For example, “He took an L,” meaning he’s a loser.
Yeet: This term means to throw something i.e. “He yeeted that ball across the stadium.”
WDYM: What do you mean
TBH: To be honest
RN: Right now
DW: Don’t worry
Basic: Basic is a word used to describe someone who likes mainstream things way too, much which often results in them being considered unoriginal or someone who tries too hard.
FR: For real.
Simp: Simp is a word that is most often used to describe young men who show interest in going to certain lengths to get a girl’s attention.
GOAT: This term does not refer to the animal we’re sacrificing on Eid, but instead stands for Greatest Of All Time, something that started in the world of football, but has migrated to slang.
Flex: Similar to how the word flexing means to flex a muscle, which is often seen as showing off, Gen Z flexing also means to show off your things or talents
Bussin: Usually used for food, bussin means something is really good.
ICYMI: In case you missed it.
TITF: Take/ing it too far.
IK: This acronym does not mean someone is talking about Imran Khan — it means I know.
SMH: Shaking my head.
Boomer: Traditionally, this means people born between 1946-1964, however, recently even millennials who have an old-fashioned mentality or are not too up to date with the times are called Boomers.
Ok Boomer: This is a derisive term to say to a person when they make a comment that can be considered old-fashioned or outdated.
Beef: Not our favourite type of burger, this beef actually means to have issues with someone or to bear a grudge against a person.
istg/s2g: I swear to God/ swear to God.
Main character: Used to describe a popular person. It can also be used to describe someone making a scene. Additionally, you can have main character energy, which means you are like the protagonist in the story.
Purr: This word is used to express excitement or agreement.
Finna: This has the same meaning as ‘going to.’
Ghosting: No, this has no connection to death or the paranormal. This word means to abruptly stop contact with a person, or to “ghost” them.
A snack: A compliment given to someone who looks nice. Eg: “You’re looking like a snack today.”
Living rent free: Something you think about frequently, thus it lives in your head “rent free”.
JOMO: Joy of missing out
Sending: This is a way of saying something is funny i.e. “You’re sending me!”
And from our office Boomers — IFA: I feel attacked.