We’ve all been around the social media block long enough to know what the terms extra, basic, lit, and flex mean. (Right? Right?) Still, there are a host of slang words popularised by Gen Z — people born between 1997 and 2012 — that, unless you have a teenager in your life, are addicted to TikTok, or are just a hip boomer (more on that later), you may not be aware of. We’re here to break it down for you, fam.
Behold: a curated list of some of Gen Z’s most-used slang terms (much of which is actually Black slang that white Gen-Zers are now co-opting).
Low-key: Adverb meaning secretly, slightly, or kinda. Something you don’t necessarily want to broadcast. I low-key wanna smash an entire bag of Doritos right now.
Cheugy: (Pronounced chew-gee.) Untrendy, out of date, overdone, or trying too hard. Example: “Live, laugh, love” signs. Total cheug.
Deadass: Seriously; for real. Deadass, I freaking love you.
No cap: No lie; for real. I’m so tired, I’m gonna sleep this whole weekend, no cap.
Bet: Gen Z’s equivalent of “word.” Meaning: I’m down, I agree, let’s do it. You going to the game? Bet.
Yeet: According to Urban Dictionary, “to discard an item at high velocity.” Basically, to throw. (She yeeted her phone across the room.) Also an exclamation of surprise, excitement, or approval. (It’s the aight or booyah of olden times.)
Skrt: A description of the sound tires make when you leave in a hurry. Used as either an expression of excitement, humour, or meaning to abruptly turn in another direction when not interested. She wanted to hang, I said skrt!
Simp: Also used as a noun and verb, describing someone who pays excessive attention to a person they’re interested in romantically. I am totally simping right now.
Stan: An amalgam of “stalker” and “fan” attributed to rapper Eminem, it’s used as a verb or a noun, meaning (to be) an overzealous or obsessive fan. Are you a Taylor Swift stan? We stan Bernie (Sanders).
Hits different: When something feels significantly better or worse than previously imagined or experienced. That sausage, egg, and cheese hits different when you’re hungover.
OK, boomer: A put-down used to negate or dismiss something done or said by anyone over the age of 35-40. (Even though actual Baby Boomers are between 57 and 75 years old).
Pressed: Upset, annoyed, or stressed. Yo, bro, why you pressed?
Sending me: Said when something is really funny, sometimes for no discernible reason. Equivalent to “I can’t” or “I’m screaming.” The fart noises are sending me.
Pass the vibe check: When someone or something new is deemed suitable or good (often said in reference to how people act on social media). This comment section did not pass the vibe check.
Understood the assignment: Used to describe someone who gets it, does a good job, or fulfils one’s wishes unintentionally. If you want a chill baby, and your baby is chill — that baby understood the assignment.
Slaps: The quality of being excellent or amazing. It started in reference to music (This beat slaps), but has extended to anything awesome. This apple pie slaps.
Say less: An expression that means: I get it; no further explanation needed, shut up, or I agree. Wanna go to the new Avengers movie with me, Tina, Dave…? Say less, I’m in.
I’m dead: Or just “dead.” Said when something is so funny, it (figuratively) killed you.
Pull up: You’re invited.
I’m triggered: Once used to convey genuine emotional and psychological upset, the phrase has been co-opted as sarcasm to mock people (often one’s self) who are easily offended. Basic fall bitch memes? I’m triggered.
Bruh: Gen Z’s iteration of “dude.” Non-gender specific. Anyone can be a bruh, even your parents (though they probably won’t like it).
Gatekeep: While not unique to Gen Z, they use it often, meaning: to limit access, exclude, or otherwise be a superior dick about something. Quit gatekeeping Nirvana just because you’re old.
It’s the ___ for me: Used to describe something that stands out about a person or thing, either positively or negatively. It’s the mansplaining for me.
Bestie: What used to mean best friend has widened in scope to include anyone you’d like to address, either endearingly (Love those jeans, bestie), or condescendingly (This attitude is not it, bestie). Don’t get it? OK, boomer.