It’s safe to say that a communication gap has existed between older and younger generations since the dawn of time. But it’s also safe to say that that gap—what with the hyperdrive speed of Internet, the rise of smartphones and emojis, and the steady influx of new words on a daily (if not hourly) basis—has never been more profound. So if you’re over 40 years old and it feels like the younger people around you are speaking in foreign tongues, fear not. We’ve assembled here all of the words you need to know. And for more great coverage of our fast-paced culture, check out the 20 Biggest Viral Moments of 2017.
This word usually refers to eyebrows (“brows on fleek”) or nighttime outfits (“outfit on fleek”). It’s an adjective used to describe something that is so good it’s “on point.” As in, when your eyebrows are waxed to perfection, they’re on fleek. And for more ways the English language has expanded recently, check out the 20 New Words Introduced in 2017.
“Goals” can be attributed to almost anything to reflect a person’s ideal circumstance. “Couple goals” is used to describe ideal moments between a couple—like if a man buys his girlfriend 100 roses for Valentine’s Day, that might be considered “couple goals”—while “body goals” is used to describe a person’s ideal body, and “life goals” is used to describe someone tanning on a beach.
We’re no longer talking about a boat. The word “relationship” has been shortened to just “ship,” in order to work as a verb that basically means you support two people who are together. Maybe you ship (or “approve of”) two people dating because they’re your favorite celebrity couple. And for more ways the Internet is broadening our communication, take a look at 20 Memes That Perfectly Capture 2017.
No, not as in: “My pants are so tight, they no longer fit,” or “this cap is screwed on really tight.” In Millennial parlance, “tight” is used to describe a person who is upset, mad, frustrated, or irate—especially if the person holds a grudge. If a date stands you up, you might be considered tight about it. If your boss embarrassed you in the office, you might be tight about it. If your friends call you out in front of your new girlfriend, you might be tight at them. (Note: This is a break from Generation X, which used “tight” to describe something cool, such as, “These new Jordans are tight!“)
With two meanings, “pressed” can be a complex one to understand. It can mean both an adjective to describe someone who’s stressed out and to describe someone who is overly obsessive. A guy might be “pressed” for a girl’s attention if he’s really into her, but another guy can be pressed about his English final tomorrow. Sorry if you’re pressed while reading this.
FOMO is an acronym for the “fear of missing out.” It describes the fear that other people are having fun than you are—without you.
It’s the one you love “before anyone else.”
Yes, it’s the first syllable of Beyoncé.
Ghosting is the act of completely cutting off communication with someone without any rhyme, reason, or explanation. If he or she simply never answers your texts and phone calls after a date, congrats: You’ve been ghosted. Oh, and speaking of: Here are the 20 signs he’s going to ghost you.
Ghostlighting is a hybrid of two concepts: “gaslighting” and “ghosting.” It references the act of someone ghosting you—that is, ceasing all communication with you—and then coming back into your life, pretending that they never ghosted you and not giving an explanation.
Uttered only when someone speaks the truth. As in, I only speak facts. Or what’s that? Facts.
Slay often describes someone who’s been really successful at something. It’s synonymous with “killed it.” So if someone passes a test, you could say they slayed. If you’re “slaying” that outfit, you look really good and you’re working it.
It is an acronym that refers to a person whose natural facial expression would appear unfriendly.
The official name for a die-hard Justin Bieber fan.
Five words: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.
Derived from the movie Friday, “bye Felicia” has become a term people use to dismiss someone who’s annoying.
Often described to use makeup, “snatched” is synonymous with other phrases like “on fleek” or “on point.” When a nose is perfectly contoured—slimmed down by makeup—it’s “snatched.” It is also used heavily in the gay community to compliment a fierce person, outfit, or look.
It refers to anyone who is acting suspicious or suspect.
When something is especially awesome. Like: “This party is lit!”
You can thank rapper Eminem for this one. In 2000, he released The Marshall Mathers LP, on which “Stan,” a tune on which Eminem rapped about an extreme fan named Stan. Nowadays, Stan is used to describe an overly obsessed fan of a celebrity, or it can be even used as a verb as in: “You’re obsessed and you’re totally stanning Beyonce.”
Just like with extra toppings on your ice cream or hot dog, “extra” is used to signify a person who’s excessive, dramatic, or doing too much.
An acronym that stands for “one true pairing.”
As in, Can I slide into your DMs? The acronym stands for direct messages and refers either to Twitter or Instagram.
Yes, it’s the name of the popular dating app. But some mean-spirited youngsters use it to refer to someone who is essentially “un-dateable.”
It’s the least-creepy of dating apps. When two singles are connected on Bumble, it’s up to the female to make the first move.
Most often used as a verb, finessing implies that a person is doing really well or succeeding at what they do, at the best possible level. It’s usually synonymous with similar phrases like “grinding,” “on my grind,” or “flexing.”
In today’s world of constant promotion, plug has become a word with a slight tinge of annoyance. It means to self-promote oneself, one’s merchandise, one’s product, or one’s business.
Keep it 100
As in, one hundred percent. “Keep it 100” references telling the truth, not lying, and always “keeping it real.”
Suh has become the latest shortening of the phrase “what’s up?” Apparently some people find “sup?” too hard to say.
“Trill” is an amalgamation of the words “true” and “real,” and is most often used in the hip-hop community to describe a person who is widely respected, honest, and successful.
Why not break things down to solely a letter? “V” is an extremely lazy abbreviation of the word “very.” To say someone is very pretty or very smart via text message, you would write “v pretty” or “v smart.”
P is the ultimate shortening of “pretty.” To say you’re pretty tired or pretty hungry via text message, you’d write “p tired” or “p hungry.”
A playful response to the all-time favorite FOMO (or the “fear of missing out”), JOMO indicates the “joy of missing out.”
GOAT is an acronym for “the greatest of all time,” which is often used in the music industry, the hip-hop community, and the sports world.
You don’t want to be described as a salty person. Salty is an adjective used to portray that a person is annoyed, upset, or acting like a sore loser.
Taylor Swift popularized this one when she proclaimed in 2016 that she “would like to be excluded from this narrative, one that [she] never asked to be a part of,” while publicly referencing her feud with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West. It is most often used in a similar format as Taylor did. Example:
Parent: You have to go to class.
Teenager: I’d like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I never asked to be apart of.
Trash refers to a person who is useless, lame, obsessed, and/or not worth your time.
This was the catchphrase from Martin Lawrence’s ‘90s sitcom Martin. It was reused as a punchline in Chance the Rapper’s verse of Kanye West’s song “Ultralight Beam,” and then Kim and the rest of the Kardashian-Jenners started using it to really drive the point home.
“Cancelled” refers to things that are dead, done, terminated, or withdrawn—not necessarily in a literal sense, but in a hyperbolic sense. You might encounter a sentence like, “Our friendship is so cancelled,” if you overhear a fight between friends.
This term refers to a person who is awakened or aware of what’s going on in the world, whether it’s a particular issue or idea. It usually describes those who are passionate about those goings-on and who talk freely about them. And be sure to avoid dating yourself in all this tech-based talk by checking out 15 Tech Terms from the 90s No One Uses Anymore.
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