Do you ever hear teenagers talk and think, “are they speaking English?” Did you feel relevant and “in-the- know” only to wake up one day and realize that you, in fact, are getting old and do not know the hip, new lingo? Yeah, me too. So today, I am going to teach you twenty words that have surfaced in our culture as this group of teenagers has taken over high schools, Twitter, Snapchat, and apparently, the English language.

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20 Words Teens Can’t Stop Saying and You Need to Know

#1: Lit


This word is slang for exciting or fun. For example, at your next book club, you might say, “this chapter was totally lit.” However, you must be careful because lit can also be a slang term for drunk. So, if after your book club, you are going to hit the club, you could tell the bartender that you are “hoping to get really lit tonight.”

#2: GOAT

Last year at the school where I teach, one of the teachers was awarded “The GOAT award” and I was TOTALLY confused. Was he a farmer in his past life? Do the kids think he looks like a goat? Then one of the students explained that the GOAT is an acronym for “greatest of all time.” The teacher immediately felt cooler than cool because the kids thought he was the greatest. I have been trying to be the GOAT since.

#3: Woke

When I first heard this word, I had flashbacks to my childhood days of being “woke” by my mom and dad so that I would make it the bus stop on time. However, if you are being described as “woke,” you are being complimented, my friend. Like being the GOAT, being woke means you are knowledgeable and thoughtful about the things you say. Perhaps you are spitting some truths at a family reunion and one of the teenage third cousins says, “that cuz is woke.” You should feel honored because she is describing you as a person who is aware of and understanding about the conditions or experiences of other people.

#4: Extra

Generation Z decided that if someone is trying too hard to impress a potential employer, a friend, a love interest, then they are in fact being “extra.” For instance, when I think of Sharpay from High School Musical, I instantly think of something who is “extra” as in extra flashy, extra dramatic, extra annoying (sorry kids, I know you love you some HSM).

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#5: Thicc

You might be thinking that I misspelled that, but this “thicc” is apparently a tad different from the original “thick” we all know and use when referring to our juicy bacon. When a boy says that a girl is “thicc,” he is specifically referring to the amount of curves or voluptuousness in her thigh and buttocks region. This is a term of endearment in some cultures, but you have to be careful here because some people do not want to be “thicc” and therefore may be highly offended.

#6: Slumped

Slumped is a slang word to describe someone who is in a deep sleep. Tonight if you go home to find that your toddler is passed out amongst his Thomas the Train toys, you could tell your wife, “Honey, our baby is so slumped.” Another meaning for slumped is when someone is physically beaten up or knocked out. If you do come upon this connotation of the word, I advise to dial 9-1-1 and move to a safe area.

#7: Faded

Teenagers use faded as a slang word to mean that you are “high off your heels.” If that did not really clear it up for you, think about it like this. You have an old candle and the wick slowly begins to fade. Now imagine that you are smoking a joint, and you are slowly fading into the wax of the candle, just like the wick. Does that help? If not, try grabbing some marijuana, smoke a few puffs (or a thousand), and then you will surely understand this cool, new word.

#8: Dead

This phrase seems to be pretty straightforward: your blood is no longer flowing through your veins, your heart has stopped pumping, and your lungs are not pushing air to your brain or toes. But our Generation Z’ers have come up with another meaning for this simple sentence. If you say that you are dead, then you are explaining that you are laughing so hard that you feel as if you are physically going to stop breathing. Though there have been no deaths by laughter reported, it is clear that our newest teenage friends are full of spunk and laughter.

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#9: Weak

If I yelled out “I’m weak” to my friends, I would be ushered to a chair, force fed a peanut butter cracker, and told to rest my eyes. But, teenagers who claim weakness are actually saying that they cannot use any more energy because they are exerting it all in the form of laughter. So, when you are watching the latest episode of Impractical Jokers with your hubby, you might get particularly tickled at Sully’s shenanigans and blurt out “I’m weak.” Your teenage kids will be uber impressed, and if you’re lucky, your husband will still bring you a peanut butter treat.

#10: Pressed

This is another common phrase teenagers say when referring to being angry about a certain situation or feeling angry with someone else. It seems to derive from the idea that someone is “pressing” their nerves, aka: their anger buttons. When I think of pressed, I think of starch white shirts and homemade juice, but now when a student is driving me crazy in class, I will reply with “I’m pressed.” The student will immediately be aware that I am down with the lingo and do his work… I hope.

#11: Bet

Often a bet is what you make while at the horse track of the local casino. However, bet, in 2017, is a slang term for acknowledging that you will do something, perhaps even something that you didn’t think you would want to or could do. If a coworker asks you to eat that entire pizza, you respond with “bet” followed by a ravenous and successful attempt at indeed, eating an entire pizza. I would recommend thin crust.

#12: Bruh(s)

This could be equated to “brother” as my dad might say or “bro” as my younger brother might call his friend. Lucky for us, Generation Z left this one alone. Bruh is a slang word for a friend or pal. But I do have one caveat here because like any good English word, there is always an exception on usage. Bruh, when grunted out, may mean that your homie is disappointed in what you have said or done. For example, if you walk up to your bestie and grab the last French fry off his plate, he might respond with “Bbrruuhhh.” You will instantly know that you have let him down, and stalk off to buy another tray of fries from Mickey D’s.


I grew up in TN, but recently moved to Denver, CO to pursue a Masters in Literature. I love reading, writing, playing outside, hanging out with friends and family, and watching great movies.