Do you ever overhear your child talking to their friends and wonder what language they’re speaking? It probably doesn’t feel like too long ago that you felt young, cool and down with all the latest lingo. But, as we all know, things change pretty quickly. Your child’s relationship with language and how they express themselves is totally different to how you did back in the day.
To help you demystify generation Z, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 terms used most often by kids today. While they might laugh at you for using them, at least you’ll be able to understand your kids when they use words like ‘ghosting’ and ‘yasss’. Good luck!
Boomers vs. Generation Z
The generation gap between boomers and Generation Z youth is very much apparent. You only have to look at the words your child uses on a daily basis as proof.
The terms and slang you used to use when you were younger now probably sound like Latin to your child. We hate to break it to you, but your old school way of speaking might as well be considered a dead language. Today's young people, so influenced by new technologies, globalization and social networks, hardly use any of the words you used to use in the 70’s or 80’s.
How old are Generation Z?
Generation Z is the name given to those born between the mid-90’s and the early 2010’s. In other words, Gen Z kids right now are between the ages of 11 and 25. And while their vocabulary will vary according to the stage of life they’re in, they all have a very particular way of expressing themselves.
The centennials (not millennials, who are born between 1980 and 1995) tend to use terms so new that not even the dictionary includes a definition yet.
Generation Z words that you need to know
Over the last few years, a number of centennial (as Generation Z is also known) slang words have spread worldwide and are now used by people almost everywhere. The term ‘selfie’ is a perfect example of this.
However, many terms from the Gen Z vocabulary are still unknown and quite frankly, strange to us adults. Keep on reading to discover the 10 most typical centennial terms so you can understand what on earth your child is saying once and for all.
1. Cringe 😖
Basically, this word is used to describe anything awkward or embarrassing. It can refer to both people and situations. Millennials and young people from Generation Z tend to use it to describe something that makes them feel uncomfortable or even repulsed.
Example: “The science teacher is so cringe.”
Simp is a term that’s used to describe what oldies would refer to as a ‘wet-blanket’. A simp is a person who does too much for the person they like or are romantically involved with. If someone ditches their friends to be with their girlfriend or boyfriend instead, that’s typical simp behaviour.
Example: “I can’t believe he ditched us to hang out with his girlfriend, he’s such a simp.”
3. Ghosting 👻
This term has become so popular we’re willing to bet you’ve heard it before. Ghosting refers to when someone completely stops talking to you with no explanation. It’s a term that is used often in online dating but can also refer to anyone that suddenly stops communicating with you for no reason. Ghosting is actually a pretty serious and upsetting thing to do. If your child experiences ghosting, try to teach them not to take it personally and that the person doing the ghosting is the one in the wrong.
Example: “The girl I was flirting with ghosted me.”
Boujee pretty much means fancy or extravagant. You might hear people using the word boujee to describe something very expensive. Boujee is also a feeling. If you’re wearing something pricey or have just had some sort of beauty treatment done, you could say you’re feeling boujee.
Example: “I just had a manicure and am feeling extra boujee.”
If your child is living for something that means that they are super passionate about it. This can refer to anything from a TV series to an outfit, a party to a hairstyle. To be living for something is basically to be in love with it.
Example: “I am living for her outfit.”
For centennials pretty much everything is random. Random can be used to talk about something that doesn't make sense or to refer to someone whose behaviour is a little unexpected and out of the ordinary.
Example: “How random. Ana just followed me on TikTok.”
Lewk refers to someone's style. It’s pretty much a different way of saying ‘look’. But not ‘look’ as in “look over there”. But rather “his white jeans and black jumper combo is a look!” If someone is wearing a cool outfit or has a cool new haircut, this can be described as a lewk.
Example: “My sister just got a fringe cut. It’s a lewk.”
To be salty is to be annoyed or jealous. Apparently it was first used back in the 1920s to describe aggressive sailors. Who knew?
Example: “I’m sorry I cancelled our plans but you don’t need to be salty about it.”
If someone stalks you, it means that they have been doing some serious digging on your social media profile. We’re talking about scrolling all the way back to 2016. They have read all your posts and have made sure not to leave a single photo unseen. The person who does this is called a stalker. If your child is experiencing stalking to an extent that's making them feel uncomfortable, check out our guide to online safety right here.
Example: “He liked my photo from 3 years ago. I think he was stalking my profile.”
Yasss is basically an overexaggerated way of saying yes. By shouting yasss it means you are in full agreement and support whatever’s going on.
Example: “You're coming to the party too? Yasss!” 🎉
Ta-da! So there you have it. The most important Gen Z terms and their definitions. Now it's your turn to go full throttle and study them. In the meantime, why not sign your child up for a free trial lesson with GoStudent? You can brush up on their centennial vocabulary while they brush up on the subjects they’re struggling with. Sounds like a fair deal to us! 🤞