40 Gen Z Slang and Phrases You Need To Know

Last Updated on November 24, 2021

Since the dawn of time, every generation has left its mark on this ever-evolving world we call home. The Lost Generation (born 1883-1900) came with the first world war, the Silent Generation (born 1901-1924) were famous for their quick acceptance of government policies and little or no protests, and the “iGen” or Gen Z (born 1997-2012) have been characterized by immense technological advancements and online presence. The point remains the same: each generation has brought unique spices and traits to our wonderful planet.

In our daily lives, we are sure to encounter and relate with individuals from different generations. However, there might be cases where they might use slang unique to their age group, and you can’t keep up. What then do you do? You learn!

Before I progress further, some conceptual clarification is required. What exactly do I mean when I refer to slang?

Slang refers to unorthodox words or phrases utilized to express a new idea or occurrence or express an old idea in a new, refreshing manner. Slang is characterized by its unique humor while addressing current issues or socio-economic circumstances in that current generation.

Contrary to popular opinion, slang wasn’t primarily intended for information exchange. It serves various social purposes, such as identifying members of a clique or group and opposition of authority. Think of slang as the grammatical equal of fashion! We can use slang to support a movement or oppose a proposition.

The topic of slang is one with various nuances. It is utterly Intriguing. However, that is not our topic for today. We’d be dealing with something a bit more specific. Some call it the gift of Gen Z; others call it a confusing curse. This article shall cover the most popular Gen Z slang and its meanings. Ultimately, you would be able to understand the lingua of one of the bubbliest generations to date. Without further dallying, let us begin!

Gen Z Slang and Phrases

  1. Cancelled (Cancel Culture): This expression is used when a famous figure or corporation has been caught doing something unethical or socially unacceptable. In essence, this leads to that person or company losing public support. This could range from unfollowing the person, boycotting an artiste’s music or a company’s products.
  2. Girlboss: This term refers to an individual who takes care of their work or personal business in an extravagant manner, usually at the expense of others. It has been majorly used as a sarcastic response to people overly enthusiastic about pyramid schemes.
  3. Cap: This term is often used to confirm the validity of a statement or situation. In simple terms:

No Cap = I’m serious.

Cap = I don’t believe you.

  1. Hits Different: This phrase is commonly used when someone has an epiphany or a changed perspective on a situation due to new information they acquired.
  2. Stan: This means that you respect and approve of someone or their choices.

Example: “Did you watch Nathan’s concert? He’s so talented. I stan!”

  1. Vibe: This phrase refers to a mood or energy you feel associated with a place, person, or thing.

Example: “I saw Hannah at the concert yesterday. She has such an upbeat vibe!”

  1. They Had us in The First Half: This expression refers to a moment of realization in which initially deceiving circumstances have now been brought to light. This phrase is based on the concept of a team making a comeback against outstanding odds.

Example: “I really thought James was going to stage dive. He had me in the first half.”

  1. Cringe: This usually expresses a moment of awkwardness and embarrassment.

Example: “Have you seen Paul’s throwbacks? They’re so cringe.”

  1. Bruh Moment: This expression describes a moment when things don’t go as planned or a moment of failure. It can be used when someone falls off a skateboard or trips on their shoelaces.
  2. To Roast Someone: This means to make fun of a person. It is commonly used in a friendly manner.
  3. -n’t: This is a funny way to connote negation by adding “n’t” to the end of words, especially if it isn’t grammatically correct. For example, “Your apartment is organizedn’t.”
  4. Sus: This is essentially the short form of the word “suspicious.” It is used to describe an untrustworthy person or thing.
  5. Cursed: This expression is used to express situations or things that invoke feelings of unease and anxiety. For example, “Those images are totally cursed.”
  6. Shipping: An expression used when you think two people are great together and should be in a relationship. For example, “Did you see the way he looked at Kierra? I ship them!”
  7. Woke: Initially used to describe someone aware of situations and occurrences, it is now used sarcastically to describe the reverse. For example, “Jonah came for the protest without even knowing what it was about. He’s so woke.”
  8. Speedrun: This phrase is one for the gamers out there. It means completing a game as quickly as possible.
  9. Lit: This adjective is used to depict something cool or exciting. For example, “Travis Scott is so lit.”
  10. Ghosted: This expression means to ignore and abandon someone without any warning whatsoever. For example, “He hasn’t answered my calls in weeks. Why does he keep ghosting me?”
  11. Problematic: As the name implies, this expression describes someone or something that brings unnecessary drama and problems.
  12. Vlogging: This phrase means video blogging. It’s used to describe the act of recording your daily activities for others to see.
  13. Peng: This is commonly used to describe beautiful women. For example, “Did you see Hailey at the party? She looked so peng! “
  14. Slay: This is a phrase of encouragement used when a person is crushing the opposition or doing something worthy of praise.
  15. Oof: This expression is used to show sympathy for a problematic situation someone is going through. Example: -Andy lost his cat.                                                                                        -Oof, that must be tough.
  16. Snapped: This phrase is used to describe somebody going through a significant dramatic change. This change might be positive or negative.
  17. Tea: This expression is a synonym for gossip. For example, “Did Hannah come to the party yesterday? Give me all the tea.”
  18. Flex: This is the act of bragging or showing off someone’s wealth and accolades.
  19. Slaps: This expression is used to describe your connection with something you like. For example, “This new Donda album slaps!”
  20. Balling: This expression describes someone having fun or partying. It is usually associated with spending a lot of money.
  21. Chef’s Kiss: This phrase is used to describe something of high quality. It is also used to describe something tasty. For example, “Have you tried Judith’s brownies? Chef’s kiss!”
  22. Simp: A classic. This phrase refers to someone is who immensely desperate for the approval of someone else. This is usually characterized by doing extravagant and unnecessary things for someone else, even to your detriment. For example, “Dude, Jessie has not returned any of your calls for weeks. You don’t need to text her. Stop being a simp and move on.”
  23. Smurf: I’m not talking about the adorable blue creatures. In gaming, a smurf is a high-level player who uses a lower-level account to dominate against lower-ranked players.
  24. Alt: This is the short form of the word “alternative.” It is used to describe someone who believes and partakes in the alternative cultural movement. For example, “I love alt artists like Billie.”
  25. Pick Me: This is similar to a simp. It is used to refer to someone who agrees with another person’s views (regardless of the detriment) to gain their approval. For example, “I can’t believe Hannah said a woman’s place is in the kitchen just so James would like her. She’s such a pick me.”
  26. Swipe Left/Right: This expression is used to show a like or dislike for something. It is commonly used on online dating apps and sites. You swipe left to approve of someone, and you swipe right to disapprove of a person.
  27. Bestie: This phrase is used to refer to your best friend.
  28. Yeet: This is the Gen Z way of saying “throw.” For example, “I yeeted the ball over the rim.”
  29. Drip: Stylish and attractive. This phrase refers to an outfit or a piece of apparel that is fashionable and appears expensive. For example: Have you seen Ethan’s new shoes? His drip is fire!
  30. Fire: This phrase is similar to “lit.” It refers to something stylish, fashionable, and elegant.
  31. Bop: This expression is used to describe a song that you can’t get out of your head.
  32. Glow Up: This is used to describe a positive change in someone’s character or appearance. For example, “Laura had a glow up over the holiday. She looks fantastic!”

Final Word

While generational association shouldn’t form the basis of how we identify ourselves, it is impossible to dispute that the technological advancements and happenings we have witnessed have shaped the way we view and experience things. Undoubtedly, these experiences vary from generation to generation. To this end, understanding these subtleties would help us communicate and connect with people across various age groups.

Ultimately, these slangs serve as a form of connection between your peers and even between generations and age groups. It’s a way you can speak that other people may not understand at first. It’s your slice of this earth. That proposition, in its entirety, is utterly thrilling.

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