If you think knowing these meanings will make you “cooler”, then you’re wrong, buddy. It might make you seem more up to date and relatable though! In fact, most Gen Zs use these terms in sort of a cringe way that also can be endearing but ultimately proves the fact that there are many alternative ways a new generation can describe things.
Gen Z slang is much more than just internet lingo that was popularized through social media sites like Twitter and TikTok. Much of the Gen Z slang we use today actually originates from African American and LGBTQ American cultures. In many cases, Gen Z slang is derived from African-American Vernacular English (AAVE).
So the terms you’ll come across like “Wig”, “Period” and “Slay” all were used by these communities even before we Gen Zs could talk or use the internet.
So remember this fact when you’re using these terms on the daily, people! Now, without further ado let’s dive into the list, shall we?
First up on the list is “bop”. This is a phrase used to describe a song you like, you just can’t help but bop your head or tap your foot to the beat!
2. Boujee/ Bougie
Boujee, also spelt bougie, is a shortened word of the French word – bourgeois, which is used to indicate someone or something of high social status.
While boujee is often used to describe someone who is rich, it can also be used to either mock someone who is attempting to project a luxurious lifestyle or an endearing way to tease someone who is spending “big”.
An adjective used to describe a situation that makes you feel secondhand embarrassment.
4. I’m Dead
The Gen Z way of saying something is hilarious. Instead of typing out the whole sentence, just use a skull or casket emoji to express your amusement.
Usually referred to a period or phase in someone’s life. You just started working out? It means you’re in your fitness era.
A way to agree to someone who you think is speaking the truth.
To brag or show off.
To “ghost” someone is to stop replying to their texts or calls, often without explanation.
9. Glow Up
This slang is used to describe someone or something that transformed in a better way.
Something someone does that is an instant turn-off to you, usually used in a dating context. But this term can also be used to describe something that is annoying or a pet-peeve.
An acronym for “if you know you know”, meaning that only people who’ve been through an experience you’re talking about, will understand.
Mood or Big Mood is said in reference to something that’s relatable, often used as a way to say that you get their situation.
Used to describe something that is not impressive or boring.
An acronym for the term “Not Gonna Lie” meaning.. you’re telling the brutal honest truth.
Using this at the end of a statement adds emphasis or intensity to the point made. After you said what you said, there’s really nothing much else you can add to the statement so you just end it with, period (or periodt).
16. Red flag
Red flag is a term used to refer to warning signs that indicate unhealthy or manipulative behavior.
17. Rent free
This slang is often used to describe a situation where someone or something is occupying a significant amount of space in someone’s mind or thoughts, without paying any “rent” or cost for doing so. Essentially, it means that the person or thing is having a significant impact on the person’s thoughts and emotions.
When someone has “rizz”, it means that they’re charming or a smooth-talker, especially while flirting.
Salty is an adjective used to describe someone who is bitter or jealous.
“Slay” can be a noun or a term of admiration and refers to anything outstanding or just something positive. But “slay” is a very versatile word, Gen Z also uses it in a more dark humour sort of way. For example, they might have just twisted their ankle and have to use their foot very minimally… “Still slaying though!”
Simp is used to describe someone who goes out of their way to please the person they like. Depending on the context, it can either be a compliment or an insult.
Something that’s awesome, can be used when describing a nice song or good food.
Short form for the word suspicious.
A term for someone who is a huge fan and perhaps overly enthusiastic about a celebrity’s work. The phrase was popularized through Eminem’s song “Stan”.
“I’m shook” is the same as “I’m shaken” or shocked.
A word meaning gossip, often represented by the cup of tea emoji or GIF of Kermit the Frog drinking tea.
This is another acronym that stands for “the feeling when..”
Sometimes spelled as “werk,” to work means to do something with attitude or style. You’re not just doing it, you’re working it! It is also typically used to cheer someone as they perform (in any setting).
Used to describe someone who is politically aware or correct.
Congrats to you big brain! You now know some of the most commonly used one word Gen Z slangs. Let’s move on to uncover some of the more slightly layered (yet versatile) terms.
30. Highkey, Lowkey
Highkey is a word meaning something meant to be secret that’s been made obvious, while lowkey describes something that’s on the down-low.
31. It’s giving
“It’s giving” is often used to draw comparisons between someone or something with another person or object. It’s mostly a way to express a portrayal of the overall atmosphere or impression conveyed by a person or thing.
32. Not you/me
“Not you/me” is a way of teasing others or yourself for an embarrassing behaviour. For example, if you said, “not me watching Twilight alone for the third night in a row,”
So, in other words, whatever you say you’re not doing, thinking, or feeling, you are in fact doing. This highly addictive phrase also comes in different variations such as, “not you”, “not us: and “not them”.
33. Sending me
A term to describe how funny, amused or effected you are by something.
34. Vibing, Vibe Check
Gen Z is big on vibes. Vibing describes a generic okay or positive feelings that someone has about a certain situation.
“Vibe check” is usually used spontaneously to check in on someone to see how they’re doing.
Wig basically means you’re shocked. As if something exciting or crazy just happened that made you so shocked that your wig flew off.
And that’s a wrap, folks. We’ve reached the end of our Gen Z slang extravaganza. Hope you learned a thing or two from our quick glossary.
So, vibe check? What do you think of this list? Share with us your thoughts in the comments!