21 Slang Terms That Leave Gen X Asking ‘What?’

The widespread use of social media means that slang terms quickly gain traction and popularity among younger generations. Often originating from old-fashioned terms or having roots in certain communities, these terms develop and change meaning as more and more people begin to use them.


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The word ‘lit’ describes something that’s exceptionally good, exciting, or energetic. According to Merriam-Webster, this meaning of the word has developed due to its use in rap music, “In the last ten or so years, lit has transitioned from being applied to the act of intoxicating (‘gonna get lit’) to the environment of those who are lit (‘party’s lit’).”


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If someone is being ‘salty,’ it means they are upset, resentful, or bitter, often in a petty or grudging manner. The term has evolved from its literal taste description and is most often used if someone is upset over a minor competitive loss and isn’t able to let go of the bitterness.

No Cap

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The phrase ‘no cap’ means no lie, or no exaggeration, and is used to assure others you are truthful or serious in your expression. Experts think this kind of succinct, direct communication comes from the increase in digital conversations.


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Used to describe something being thrown with vigor or to show approval, this word originates from social media and dance culture. Urban Dictionary cites the following sentence as an example of the word: “Alex finishes his soda and proceeds to yeet his empty can into a trash bin.”


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A term of affirmation or acknowledgment, ‘bet’ is often used to confirm plans or express agreement with someone. It’s a casual response and reflects a shift toward more concise forms of verbal agreement aligned with digital communication norms.


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The modern version of ‘lowkey’ is used to show a subtle quality to your expression or a desire to keep something discreet. According to Time Magazine, “Some people say they use lowkey to mean kinda or to verbally mark something that should be kept private, while they might use highkey to suggest that they’re trying to be relaxed about something and failing.”


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A “stan” is an extremely enthusiastic and devoted fan, often to the point of obsession. It can also be used to describe your own obsession, for example, “I stan this artist.” The term originates from the Eminem song, and shows how language evolves through media and popular culture.

Vibe Check

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If someone does a ‘vibe check,’ they assess the emotions of a person or the atmosphere and energy of a place or event. It is often used to see if everyone in a social setting is comfortable and enjoying themselves.


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Shorthand for suspicious or suspect, ‘sus’ indicates that something or someone is questionable or untrustworthy. Describing someone’s behavior as ‘sus’ suggests you’re doubting their intentions or honesty. The term gained widespread popularity with the game Among Us, which showcases how digital culture significantly influences language.


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According to Later, “‘Extra’ is a slang term used to describe someone or something that is over-the-top, excessive, or dramatic.” It can be used to describe the way someone looks or behaves, and it can also be used to describe objects—for example, if a party has over-the-top décor.


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Used to compliment someone’s appearance, the term ‘snatched’ indicates they look exceptionally attractive or well-dressed. If used to compliment someone’s outfit, it suggests it’s not only good but perfectly on point. The term has roots in drag culture but is now widely used.


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An acronym standing for ‘greatest of all time,’ the term ‘GOAT’ is used to describe someone or something that is the best in their field. For example, calling an athlete the GOAT suggests they are the best that there has ever been in their sport.


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‘Clout’ refers to someone’s influence or social status, and Gen Z often uses it to describe someone’s standing in the world of social media. For example, if someone is seeking ‘clout’ on social media, they might be pursuing popularity or influence through their posts.


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Flex has a couple of meanings, and according to Bustle, “It can mean to show off, to gloat, or to boast, which is the most popular definition of the word; however, it can also mean to put on a fake front, to fake it, or force it.”


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Typically used in the context of dating, ‘ghosting’ is the act of suddenly stopping communicating with someone. Popularized by the increase in dating apps and instant messaging services, if someone ‘ghosts’ you, they will generally stop replying to your messages and avoid contact with you.


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The term ‘tea’ is slang for gossip, scandal, or juicy information, often shared between friends or on social media. It can be used in sentences such as ‘I’ve got some tea to tell you,’ or ‘You need to give me the tea on the party.’


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If someone is ‘thirsty’ they are desperately seeking attention, approval, or validation, particularly in a romantic or social context. Calling someone ‘thirsty’ is usually a negative description, and suggests their actions are driven by a need for validation.


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Originating as a term for awareness within African American communities, the term ‘woke’ has broadened in its usage and signifies a high level of awareness surrounding social injustices, inequality, and cultural issues. Describing yourself or someone else as ‘woke’ suggests they understand these issues and advocate for change.


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Skillfully achieving something or handling a situation smoothly can be described as ‘finesse.’ For example, someone could ‘finesse’ their way into an exclusive event that they weren’t invited to, showing they’ve cleverly and resourcefully navigated obstacles.

On Fleek

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To describe something as ‘on fleek’ means that it is perfectly executed or looks flawless, and the term typically refers to something or someone’s appearance or style. For example, describing someone’s makeup as ‘on fleek’ suggests it’s perfectly applied and looks great.


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This term is used to describe something that is exceptionally good, impressive, or desirable, often in terms of fashion, music, or overall appeal. For example, it could be used to describe a new music release by saying, “Your new song is fire.”

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