The (Never-ending) Guide to Gen Z Slang

Part II: Because who can keep up?

If you checked out our first piece on Gen Z slang, then you know the first rule (à la Fight Club) of Gen Z slang:

You do not talk in Gen Z slang.

Especially if you’re a brand. 

Or do – I mean it’s your funeral. This headline should be enough for your brand to shy away: “Teens cringe when they hear brands use these 11 outdated words.” – Business Insider.

The youths are inventing new words faster than you can finish an episode of Euphoria, and is there even a way to keep up? That’s where Knit’s here to help. We’ve pulled together part 2 of Gen Z slang to keep you in the know. Enjoy.

Fam

/fam/

Noun

This shortened form of family isn’t just the people you live with, it’s anyone close to you, anyone who’s got your back. Your friends, your peers, or pretty much anyone millennials called peeps or bros. Your fam’s there for you.

Example: “You got me, fam.”

 

Cap/ No Cap

/kap/ and /noh kap/

Verb or Adjective

Cap is a lie. If you cap, you’re saying something false, and something false can be Cap in general. On the other hand, No Cap essentially means no lie, or true. This term is used mostly on social media to emphasizes lies and truths.

Origin: The term to cap as a lie traces back to Black culture in the early 1900s, and the slang evolves through Black slang and Hip Hop.

Cheugy

/tju-gi/ or /CHOOG-ee/

Adjective

Trying to hard. This term is not something you want to hear. Gen-Z uses Cheugy to describe an effort, usually by older generations, to be trendy, but failing. Cheugy is outdated or basic. It’s not in. If someone is being Cheugy, they are a Cheug. 

Origin: Invented in 2013 by a student at Beverly Hills High, this neologism has been a term used for intergenerational conflict, particularly gen-Z criticizing millennials.  

Weird Flex but OK

/weerd fleks but okay/

Reaction

This snarky term is used on social media when someone tries to brag about something questionable. To flex is to brag, especially on socially media. And if you’re bragging about something you shouldn’t be, especially something that shows off your money or status, it’s weird. Picture eyerolls every time you hear this phrase.

Example: “I saw that thousand dollar haircut you posted. Weird flex, but okay.”

 

Humblebrag

/hum-bal bragg/

Noun or Verb

Often disguised as modesty or an apology, this is a boast. Social media is filled with humblebrags of people who want to share something they’re proud of, but don’t want to flaunt it. The feigned humility can be genuine or unintentional, but the results are the same. 

Example: “So sorry I missed your party, I’m just too tired, having just got back from my six month hike up the Andes Mountains.”

 

@ Me Next Time

/at me nekst taim/

Reaction

Based on Twitter, where an @ can start a subthread this simply means “talk directly to me.” It’s especially tied to avoiding being shady or vague. While used primarily on social media, it can be used in everyday speech as well.

Example:  “Don’t beat around the bush, talk at me next time.”

 

Main Character

/meyn kar-ik-ter/

Adjective

This trend from TikTok, typically shared with the tag #maincharacter, allows the user to imagine themselves as the main character in an exciting movie. Posters will often post montages of movie scenes with videos of themselves edited in. The term has a secondary meaning, of whatever person or topic is trending on social media such as TikTok or Twitter.  

Example: “Ukraine is the main character of Twitter again.”

 

Skrrt

/skurt/

Onomatopoeia

This sound emerges from trap and hip hop music to describe tires making a sudden acceleration. Gen-Z uses the term to describe wanting to make a quick getaway.

Example: “If someone dumps feeling for me there, imma skrrt.”

 

W or L

/dubbel ewe/  /ell/

Abbreviation

These abbreviations are straightforward: W means win, L means loss. Used in almost any situation to show it’s either a positive or negative outcome.This abbreviation emerges from texting and trying to respond as quickly as possible.

Example: “After the job interview, I knew it was an L.”

 

Glow up

/gloh up/

Noun

Any makeover or transformation where the person or product went from bad to good. A new haircut or outfit might cause a glow up. Glow up has sparked its own viral trends on YouTube and TikTok.

Origin: In Aug, 2013, rapper Chief Keef released the song “Gotta Glo Up One Day.”

Hits Different

/hitz diff-runt/

Adjective

This term is used when something impacts Gen-Z in a way that goes far beyond the norm. It could be a song, book, show, product,, style, or message that connects on a deeper, more meaningful level, completely inspiring you. Emerging from the LGBTQAI+ community on YouTube, through users Daniel Howell and Phil Lester, the term now is used in many situations to describe something that creates a marked difference in people.

Example: “That song hits different. We have to save the environment.”  

 

Sip Tea

/sip tee/

Phrase

An evolution of the older term spilling tea, to sip tea is to sit back and let something play out without getting involved. Often involved if there’s a confrontation or social media fight or uproar, those who choose to sip tea are just watching.

Example: “You see that new Kanye twitterstorm? Imma sip tea.”

 

Imma

/Eym uh/

Phrase and Abbreviation

Imma get you this definition now. It’s an abbreviation for I’m going to. Used frequently in both social media and speech, Imma or IMMA has become a short form way of saying I’m going to.

Origin: This term actually credits itself to a specific meme, which depicts an image of a weary Spongebob Squarepant rising from his chair. The caption of the wildly popular meme reads: “IGHT IMMA HEAD OUT” which means “All right, I’m going to head out.” The meme itself is often used as a response to social media threads, meaning “I’ll bounce” or “I’m out of here.” 

 

Lit

/lit/

Adjective

Amazing, cool, or fun. If something’s fantastic, it’s lit. This term can also be used to describe being drunk or high. If a situation or object is lit it means they’re great, but if a person is described as lit, they’re usually drunk or high.

Example: “That trip to New York was lit. We had the best time.”

 

Bussin’

/bussen/

Adjective

Similar to lit, if something’s bussin’ it’s great. Bussin’ things are the best. Derived from African American Vernacular English or AAVE, some have complained that Gen-Z has taken the term and altered its original meaning. In AAVE, bussin’ refers to amazing, delicious food. Now, the term can be applied to anything or any situation that’s going really well.

Example: “That party was beyond lit, it was bussin’.”

 

Ok Boomer

/oh-kay boomur/

Reaction

This comeback phrase is used by Gen-Z to dismiss ideas they think are out of touch. It emerged in 2019, with Gen-Z musician @peterkuli uploading a song “Ok, Boomer” to TikTok. The term was originally used to snarkily target the Baby Boomer generation and blame them for political issues, climate problems and more. Ok, Boomer is a dismissive way of saying “I don’t have energy to describe why you’re wrong.” It is now used by Gen-Z both as an attack on any older generation, and to encourage solidarity with other Zoomers. The phrase has been appropriated to sell merchandise and more, but continues to find widespread usage. 

Example:
“I understand that term, because I read it on a Gen-Z slang list.”

“Ok, Boomer.”

We know, we know. That’s a lot to digest and what even did you just read. We did our best to be your personal translator. But honestly? Who needs a linguist when you can go direct to the source? Knit gives you direct access to Gen Z to hear their exact thoughts and opinions on your biggest questions or ideas (and yes the occasional slang). So how bout it? Want to add Gen Z to your decision making process?

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