Keeping Up with the Kids: 10 Slang Terms from Gen Z that You’ll Want to Know

Gen Z is like most young people – they’re creating a world and language all their own. The teen-and-20-somethings are

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Gen Z is like most young people – they’re creating a world and language all their own.

The teen-and-20-somethings are some of history’s most diverse, most inclusive, and most connected – and they’re rewriting the way they interact with each other.

If you spend any time at all on TikTok or social media, you’ve probably come across more than a few head-scratcher slang terms from Gen Z, and you may want to know exactly what they mean.

@melissakristintv When it comes to slang, which generation has the most cringe: Millennials, Gen Z or both??? I’ve seen fellow Millennials making fun of Gen Z phrases like “it’s giving” lately, and while we all deserve a good roast every now and then, we really aren’t much different! We have a hefty collection of cringy slang, ranging from the 90s & early 2000s to today, so that’s a pretty large catalog to pull from. “I did a thing” anyone? “Da bomb dot com” perhaps? 😂 We’re all the same. #millennial #genz #slang #itsgiving #millennialsvsgenz #fyp ♬ Buttercup – Jack Stauber

While a huge majority of the generation’s slang comes from AAVE (African American Vernacular English), they’re turning some of the phrases into their very own way of communicating.

Here are 10 slang terms you definitely want to know if you plan to communicate with Gen Z:

  1. Ate: In the 1980’s, saying someone “ate it” usually meant that they fell. In a skateboard and rollerblade-heavy environment, it was apropos. Now, however, “ate” means something entirely different. In fact, it means that someone did something really well. It’s often used to refer to celebrities – outfits, performances, you name it. For instance, if you really liked Bella Ramsey in “Last of Us,” you might say that the actor “ate this up and left no crumbs.” Or just, “Bella ATE in LoU.”
  2. No cap: The older generations seem to be catching onto this one pretty quickly. But if you’re confused, when you say something is “No cap,” you mean it’s true – the person is not lying. For instance, if someone said, “Taylor Swift stopped her performance to look after a fan who was being roughed up by security, no cap” you mean that’s exactly what happened. On the flip side, if you say “cap” then it’s not true, or the person is exaggerating.
  3. Sus: This one is pretty simple. It’s short for “sus” or “suspicious.” If someone is “sus,” you definitely shouldn’t trust them.
  4. Fit: Another simple one. This one is short for “outfit.” So if you want to say someone is wearing a cute outfit you might say, “nice fit.” or “That fit slays.” (as a side note, here you could say, “she ATE that fit.”) Which leads us to…
  5. Slay: Like “ate,” slay means that someone is doing something very well. If you say someone is “slaying”, or tell them “slay girl,” what you mean is that they deserve two thumbs up. When watching someone dance on TikTok, you might comment, “She slayed that.”
  6. Real: If something is very relatable, they’ll simply respond, “real.” It’s similar how millennials comment, “legit,” when they find something relatable. Gen Z might watch a video about someone opening up about their mental health and simply comment, “real,” or, “You’re so real for that.”
  7. Bro: While the term, “bro,” isn’t new, the way that it’s used is new. In Gen Z slang, it’s often used as a pronoun. For instance, if you’re talking about something your friend did at school (this applies to all genders), you might say, “Bro asked the teacher if he could skip class.”
  8. Hits different: When Gen Z says something “hits different,” they’re talking about the way something makes them feel. For instance, they might listen to a sad song and say, “this hits different after a breakup.”
  9. It’s giving: This is a way of relating something to something else. They might see someone with wavy blonde hair and bangs and say, “it’s giving Taylor Swift.” Sometimes, though, it’s just giving.
  10. L: Similar to how millennials say, “Take the L,” if someone says, “L,” it’s a playful insult suggesting that the other person lost at whatever they were doing. For instance, if someone flubs up a video on TikTok, commenters might jokingly respond, “L.”

The list of words they’ve borrowed from AAVE to create their own language goes on – but these should get you through a basic conversation with a Gen Z’er.