Teen Slang

Deciphering what your teen is saying.

Posted Dec 31, 2017

Sabbra Cadabra/Deposit Photos
Source: Sabbra Cadabra/Deposit Photos

For decades teens have been notorious for having a unique vocabulary. Oftentimes, they cleverly create words, and other times they recycle words and give them a whole new meaning.

Take for example, the 80’s where teens were commonly saying words and phrases, such as gnarlygag me with a spoon, or the infamous words of Bart Simpson, “eat my shorts”. And the 90’s when there was bling bling if you had the cha-ching. Yes, those days were da bomb and if you didn't like it you could talk to the hand. Move to the early 2000’s when YOLO and things were a little cray-cray, LOL with the BFF. Today, youth are still using their creativity to mold and craft words into a unique language.

Language, including slang, is symbolic of what is occurring in society, and how youth are responding to their environment. It’s fascinating to see what new words youth will invent and whether or not it will sweep the nation or better yet, the world.

Edhar Yuralaits/Deposit Photos
Source: Edhar Yuralaits/Deposit Photos

The following are some common words and phrases trending with teens.

1. Lit – This word has been around for a while and is probably known by most parents as meaning intoxicated or high, but today’s youth have added a new twist to an existing word. Now, this word means amazing and awesome, or wild and exciting.

“That New Year’s party was lit!”

2. Roasted – This word has nothing to do with that holiday turkey, but is all about a quick tongue serving up a verbal smackdown (throwback to the early 2000's referring to a quick witted slam with words) on someone.

“Oooh, you just got roasted!”

3. Dope – Well, the word doesn’t just mean drugs. Nope, if something is dope it means it’s excellent or awesome. You may have heard a youth talking about how dope something is, and all that means is they really like a lot!

“That car is dope!”

4. Finna – This word is a replacement for going to or fixing to.  

“I’m finna get me something to eat.”

5. Throw Shade – This is another phrase that has been around a while and has nothing to do with sitting under a tree, but has everything to do with dissing (throwback to the 80’s, referring to disrespecting) someone.

"Politicians throw a lot of shade on Twitter."

6. Bruh –  This word is a slang variant of bro or brother.

"Bruh, get off the phone…"

7. Thirsty – This word means desperately wanting or needing something or someone.

"She gets thirsty looking at his pics."

8. OG – Although this word has other meanings associated with marijuana, today it's often used to refer to original gangsta - meaning someone who has been around. It's commonly used as a sign of respect.

"He was an OG back in the day."

9. Fam – This word is a variant of the word of family. When texting it’s a lot easier to talk about your fam, which means one's inner circle of friends, or it can even mean one close friend. It's a term of endearment that these people are like your “family”.

“Chillin with my  fam.”

10. Sus –  This is the short form version of the words suspicious or suspect, it means shady or sketchy.

“That guy is super sus, don’t hang with him.”

Elena Elisseeva/Deposit Photos
Source: Elena Elisseeva/Deposit Photos

Each generation has a knack for creating and using words that mark the time. Perhaps creating slang is a rite of passage, or perhaps it’s to drive clueless adults insane. Regardless, some of these trendy words and phrases stick and actually make it to the dictionary, like one hot mess and some fizzle out after a short-lived life, like twerk. Regardless, it's always fun to  decipher what today’s teens are saying, and how one day that saying will become old school.