What Your Kids are REALLY Saying: 36 Popular Expressions

We live with them. We take care of them. We love them to distraction, but we are often completely in the dark about what exactly they are saying, especially when they use popular slang terms.

36 popular expressions
Parents are sometimes in the dark about the popular expressions their teens and college students use. (Photo Credit: Daytripper University)


Parents Guide to Their Kids’ Favorite Expressions

Here are thirty-six teen slang words that you’ve definitely heard, but haven’t quite figured out yet.


1. THICC(QQ) Looking good in your skin no matter your size or shape; fat but in a good way

Parent: Looks like Jane packed on a few pounds freshman year.
Child: Mom, that girl looks great, she is thicc.

2. WOKE Although an incorrect tense of awake, it is a reference to how people should be aware of current affairs (especially associated with social justice movements)

Parent: I saw Oprah Winfrey speak at the Golden Globes and now I’m woke.
Child: Excellent usage of the word woke, dad. I’m proud that you’re woke.

3. HEARD Heard is a confirmation that someone is aware of what has been asked of them; a deep understanding of the topic being discussed

Parent: Take out the garbage, please.
Child: Heard (this should be in no way understood as child will take out the garbage, only that he understands that you want him to.)

4. GUCCI Good, cool or awesome

Parent: I am going to spend my day cooking, cleaning and doing all the other errands that make your life easier, you want to help?
Child: Nah, I’m Gucci.

5. RIP Acronym for rest in peace-an acknowledgement that something bad has happened or an acknowledgement of anything at all

Child: Mom, can you stay home and wait for my new iPhone to be delivered?
Parent: No, I’ve got to run out for a bit.
Child: Oh, RIP (or major RIP).

6. FINNA Another way of saying that you’re getting ready, planning or trying to do something

Parent: Can you pick up some things for me at the grocery store?
Child: I’m finna go to the store soon (which by no means should be taken as confirmation that said child will actually go the store and get what you need).

7. FIRE Great or awesome; hot but not temperature wise

Parent: Can you put on some music for me?
Child: That mixtape is straight fire.

8. LOW KEY Use it like you would use “sort of”

Parent: Movie first or dinner first?
Child: Tough question, I low key want to see that movie but I also low key want to eat right now.

9. BOUJEE Acting fancy, affected or like you have a lot of money

Parent: Puts on a fancy outfit, with jewelry and makeup.
Child: Why are you acting all boujee?

10. SALTY Angry or upset

Parent: For the love of God, TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE.
Child: Mom’s getting all salty.

11. AF Acronym for As F–k, which means, “very much”

Parent: Wear a coat, it’s cold out.
Child: Goes out without a coat, comes in 2 seconds later, “I need a coat. It’s cold AF out there.”

12. SAVAGE Seems to mean anything you want it to

Parent: Did you like dinner?
Child: Mom, that meal was savage.
Parent: Look how talented those figure skaters are?
Child: These skating routines are straight up savage.

13. OG Acronym for original gansta which means the first or original version of something

Parent: We should take pictures when everyone is over for Thanksgiving.
Child: Yup, it would be great to have some pics of the OG fam.

14. EXTRA Over the top

Parent: Overreacting to some exciting news.
Child: Oh my God mom and dad-you guys are so extra.

15. BASIC Refers to stereotypical actions like drinking Starbucks, wearing leggings and makeup. It’s not a compliment.

Parent: What does basic mean?
Child: You see that girl in the leggings, who just ordered a Pumpkin Spice latte, she’s definitely basic.

16. YEET A very strong yes

Parent: Are you seriously going out for lunch again today?
Child: Yeet, Yeet, Yeet

17. DANK Something really great or high quality

Parent: Why are you ALWAYS on your computer?
Child: Get a load of these dank memes, mom.

18. SNACK An attractive female or male who looks yummy enough to eat

Parent: Are the kids in your dorm nice?
Child: To be honest, the girls in the room next to me are real snacks.

19. SKRT SKRT The sound of car tires screeching on road

Parent: Do you have a minute?
Child: Nope, gotta skrt skrt.

20. SWOLE Buff or well-built

Parent: All that time that David is spending in the gym seems to be paying off.
Child: Yeet, he’s straight up swole.

21. GHOST  To avoid someone until they realize you don’t want to speak to them

Parent: What happened to that guy you were dating?
Child: Oh, that jerk, he ghosted me.

22. HAM Hard as a Mother F…….?

Parent: Can you come up for dinner?
Child: I’m going ham on some fools in COD

23. SHIP Either an abbreviation for a romantic relationship or to support a romantic relationship

Parent: Any of your friends in long term relationships?
Child: Nah, but I ship Bieber and Gomez.

24. TURNT Inebriated

Parent: Will there be something to drink at this party?
Child: Yeet, but I’m not going there to get turnt.

25. THROW SHADE To say something ugly or talk trash about someone

Parent: So and so is all bad.
Child: I’m not going to sit here while you throw shade at my friends.

26. FINESSE Manipulating or trying to arrange something

Friend 1: Are you okay to go out tonight?
Friend 2: As long as I can finesse some money outta my dad.

27. GROUTFIT An outfit marked by it’s monochromatic grayness

Child: Are you really leaving the house in that groutfit?
Parent: What did he say? Did he mean outfit?

28. STAY IN YOUR LANE Mind your own business or stick with people like yourself.

Parent: When are you going to do all the work you have due?
Child: Chill dad, stay in your lane.

29. Bruh Bro or dude-gender neutral

Parent: That kid you just said hi to is not your brother. 
Child: They may not be my brother, but they are my bro.

30. GOTCHOO A way of saying I’ve got your back or I’ll help you out.

Parent: I need some help this afternoon.
Child: I Gotchoo!

31. SHOOK Shocked, surprised astounded by some event

Parent: Why do you look so surprised by your math grade.
Child: I’m still low key shook that I did so well.

32. DAY ONE A person who has been there since the beginning, through the good and the bad

Parent: It’s nice that you and Pam still get together so often.
Child: Yup, she’s my day one.

33. LEFT ME ON READ Someone read your text or opened your Snapchat, but didn’t respond

Parent: What’s up with Jon?
Child: I’m not sure, kinda shock, he left me on read.

34. GOAT Acronym for the greatest of all time.

Parent: Who do you think was the best tennis player ever?
Child: Federer is the GOAT

35. 10 OUT OF 10 RECOMMEND Comes highly recommended

Parent: What did you think of the movie?
Child: 10 out of 10 would recommend.

36. OC An acronym for Open Crib, meaning parents won’t be there. Referring to a party/gathering where parents will not be present

Parent: No parties at the house while we’re gone.
Child: Texting everyone they know that ”Open crib here tonight!!”

Just a final word of warning to my fellow parents, I do NOT encourage you to attempt to converse with your Millennial or Gen Z using the above lexicon, because in the immortal words of my 20-year-old that would, “just be weird.”

Photo credit: DaytripperUniversity 

You Might Also Want to Read: 

The 10 Things I Say to My Teens When They are Stressed Out 





About Helene Wingens

Helene Wingens has always been passionate about painting pictures with words. She graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in psychology and three years later from Boston University School of Law with a Juris Doctor. In a year long clerkship for an appellate judge Helene honed her writing skills by drafting weekly appellate memoranda. She practiced law until she practically perfected it and after taking a brief twenty year hiatus to raise her three children she began writing a personal blog Her essays have been published in: Scary Mommy, Kveller, The Forward, and Grown and Flown where she is Managing Editor. You can visit Helene's website here

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