Teen Slang – What You Need To Know To Understand Your Teen

Got any ‘rizz’? Did you ‘slay’ that dinner? Is the ‘cozzie livs’ stressing you out? 

If you do not comprehendo, then you wouldn’t be alone. As a mum of 4, I can attest that understanding teenage slang can be quite the feat – as soon as you finally understand a few terms, there’s more! And while you don’t want to seem too intrusive (or uncool) and constantly ask your kids to translate, you probably want to keep a handle on what’s going on – in case you need to get involved!! 

Where Does Slang Come From and Why Do We Use It? 

Nothing ever stays the same and that includes language. Slang happens when we shorten words. Think fab instead of fabulous; or when we combine words think chill and relax = chillax. It can also ‘evolve’ when we give words new, unexpected meanings eg cheugy – a term to often describe older generations when they make an effort but fail – harsh!! 

And more often than not, words that end up becoming slang will become part of our everyday language. Did you know that the word ‘mad’ was in fact a slang word for angry that became popular around 100 years ago?  

Emily Brewster, senior editor at Merriam Webster Dictionary believes that ‘slang can be used to have a special form of communication with a subset of people.’ And ‘by using words that are only understood by the small group of people there’s an intimacy that can develop.’ So, really it’s a type of bonding tool!! 

What Slang Do You Need To Know Now 

While slang can sometimes be geographic based, the rise of platforms like TikTok have meant that its far more universal than it was in pre-social media days. So, if you’re keen to know the top words your kids are using so you ensure all is well, then here’s your go-to guide with the top 20 slang words. Apologies in advance for the potentially lewd references!! 

1. Addy – address
‘Can you send me your addy? I’ll be there soon.’

2. Based – when you agree with something; or when you want to recognize someone for being themselves
‘You’re going to that party? Based.’

3. Ate that – to successfully achieve something
‘I love that dress. You totally ate that look’ (the dress looked great on you)

4. Basic – average
A word to describe someone who is predictable or bland. It’s an insult.

5. Cappin – lying
‘He’s so cappin’ (he is so not telling the truth) 

6. Cheugy – basic, out of date or trying too hard
‘My older brother still wears his uggs, that’s so cheugy!’ 

7. Cozzie Livs – the cost of living crises
An Australian slang expression that was nominated as Macquarie Dictionary’s word of the year in 2023.
‘I can’t go out tonight. Especially with the cozzie livs and all that jazz.’ 

8. Ded – so funny or embarrassing!
‘OMG. That pic has me ded’ 

9. Delulu – a short-hand term for delusional. It’s often used to describe someone in a humorous way who chooses to reject reality in favour of a more interesting interpretation of events.
‘She’s so delulu. She thinks she’s going to marry the lead actor in her favourite movie.’

10. Gas Up – to encourage or hype someone up.
‘My sister was feeling down so I gassed her up and reminded her just how great she is.’ 

11. Low key – The opposite of high key, it can mean slightly, occasionally, or even secretly.
‘I low key want a Poke bowl right now!’  

12. High key – the opposite of ‘low key’. The term is used to when you really like something like something or want to emphasise it.
‘I high key love that brand’ (you’re a fan!) 

13. IFKKYK – if you know you know.
It means if you weren’t there, you wouldn’t know. It could also refer to an inside joke.
‘Last night’s concert was amazing! IFKKYK’

14. No Cap – a term to emphasise that you’re not lying. A modern way of saying ‘I swear’
‘I saw him take the last biscuit. No cap’ 

15. Pop Off – when someone is doing well – often used in gaming.
‘Look at Ninja (streamer). He’s popping off on Fortnight’

16. Rizz – charisma. It can also describe one’s ability to attract a partner.
‘She’s got rizz!’ 

17. Roman Empire – something you love and think about all the time. 
‘Visiting Paris is my Roman Empire’ or ‘America Ferrera’s Barbie monologue is my Roman Empire.’  

18. Salty – annoyed or upset.
‘I don’t know why he is so salty’. 

19. Simp – someone who tries too hard or goes above and beyond to impress the person they like.
‘He got her a ring after four dates. He’s such a simp!’ 

20. Slay – to do something exceedingly well.
‘He slayed that performance’. 

So, next time your teen drops a phrase or acronym they think you can’t decipher, you will have NP (no problem) understanding what’s happening in your kids’ lives and absolutely no FOMO (fear of missing out)! 

Good luck!! 

Alex x 

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