40 Slang Terms No One Over 40 Should Ever Use
You'll have JOMO—trust us.
Congratulations, you’re over 40! You’re at an age when it’s okay to act your age and use language like it was intended to communicate with other adults. We understand why it can be tempting to pepper it into your sentences some modern slang to prove that you’re not as old as you may feel. Well friend, we have some bad news for you. Using slang when you’re over 40 is the equivalent of using a cane when you don’t need it. You’re just announcing your age to the world.
Remember: It’s okay to talk like a grownup. You are a grown up now, and it’s something to be celebrated. To help you continue to present the appearance of mature adulthood to your friends and family, we’ve put together a list of 40 slang terms that nobody over the age of 40 should be using. Feel free to disagree with us, but you’ve been warned. Use any of these words and you can rest assured, the moment you leave the room somebody will be muttering, “What’s up with Gramps?” And for more expressions to avoid, check out the 100 Slang Terms From the 20th Century No One Uses Anymore.
When something was lowkey but now too many people know about it and it’s ceased to be a secret, it is now highkey. There’s no way you can say this without people thinking you’ve just lost your car keys again. It’s also highkey time for you to get over these 20 Slang Terms From the 1990’s No One Uses Anymore.
When you’re about to have a really good time, usually with drugs or alcohol, that’s when you’re getting turnt. If you feel compelled to use this word, you’re either using it wrong — “A second glass of chardonnay? It’s about to get turnt!” — or you have some life issues that possibly need resolving. And for more great tips on aging gracefully, here are the 40 Best Tips for Dressing Well in Your 40s.
It’s short for “a hundred percent,” and used to support something. (“You think Ben should date Monica?” “Hundo P!”) But coming out of your mouth, everyone is going to be fairly certain that you’re just trying to brag about your new Hyundai sedan.
It’s an insult or sign of disrespect—if you’re throwing shade at someone, you’re essentially dissing them. When people over 40 say “shade,” everybody assumes they’re hoping to avoid harmful UV rays. And for more tips on getting older, here are the 50 Things No Man Over 40 Should Own.
The struggle is real
The phrase “the struggle is real” works for young people because it’s semi-ironic. After all, they use it when they, say, don’t have enough change for fast food, or they forget their Netflix password. At 40, the struggle may actually be real. So, you see, it doesn’t work! And for more advice on words not to say, don’t miss the 40 Things No One Should Ever Say at Work.
It’s an acronym for the joy of missing out, because sometimes it’s more fun to stay home and miss the party. But when you’re over 40, nobody is buying the JOMO excuse anymore. Say what you really mean. You’re not staying home because of JOMO. You’re doing it cause you couldn’t find a babysitter. And for more about owning your fifth decade, here are 50 Things No Woman Over 40 Should Own.
When you get snubbed by somebody you’re trying to talk to because they’re preoccupied with their phone or iPad, they’re phubbing you. Using this word when you’re over 40 is the equivalent of a 40 year-old in the 1960s telling a teenager, “I’m hip to your jive, man. I can dig it.” C’mon, you can do better! Use your big boy or girl words. Oh, and speaking of the 1960s, here are the 20 Slang Terms from the 1960s No One Uses Anymore.
Here’s the thing about modern slang; it changes really fast. Calling your partner “bae” was indeed something the kids were doing… five years ago. The only ones still using “bae” are you and whoever tweets for the Olive Garden.
It’s an acronym for “Greatest of all time,” but when you use it, you’re running the risk of people thinking you’re talking about actual goats.
It’s short for “just kidding,” used if you want to remind someone that whatever you just said was meant as a joke. When you’re 40, you know that the whole “just kidding” thing doesn’t work. You can’t just say something mean and wipe it away by following it with a “just kidding!” It’s a childish maneuver, and you’re better than that.
“Woke” is when you’ve become aware, usually in a politically progressive way, regarding sexism, racism, or other social injustice. The only time you should be describing yourself as “woke” is when that second cup of coffee has kicked in.
I can’t even
When a 20 year old says “I can’t even,” we all know that they’re just losing patience. When someone over 40 says it, well, it’s probably because you threw out your back again.
It’s short for “pretty”—as in “I’m p excited to go out tonight”—but every time you say it, people will always, always think you’re talking about going to the bathroom. And for fun with words, here are the 50 Puns So Bad They’re Actually Funny.
What this announces to any person younger than 40 is, “I’ve just watched Clueless, and I think I’m 23 again.” Bonus: Alicia Silverstone definitely makes an appearance on our list of the 50 Craziest Celebrity Facts You Won’t Believe Are True.
It’s just a way of adding emphasis to a verb or adjective. “I am so tired boots.” Get it? No, of course you don’t. And that’s okay. You don’t need to watch a bunch of Todrick Hall videos to master this word usage.
Inspired by an Eminem song by the same name, a “Stan” is an obsessive fan. But use this word at your next social function, and we guarantee no one will be thinking, “Oh yeah, like from that Eminem song.” They’re gonna be thinking, “Who’s Stan? There’s no Stan here. Oh lord, is he getting dementia?” And to learn the words you may be overusing, check out the 40 Things Only Older People Say.
If anyone is preggers, or “pregnant” as we say in adult speak, it’s unlikely to be you or one of your over-40 friends. If it is, and that’s still possible, then it very likely was the result of many years of trying and perhaps even some fertility treatments. When a friend tells you, “It took us almost ten years and thousands in medical bills, but we’re finally going to have a child,” you should never, ever respond with “You’re totally preggers!”
It’s an acronym for “To Be Honest,” and it should never be uttered by you. Why? Remember that time when your mom tried to use “TMI” in a sentence — as in “too much information” — and you nearly died from embarrassment? Yeah, that’s you now.
If something is sketchy or unreliable, it’s “sus” — short for suspicious. But when you say it, it sounds like you’re trying to talk with a mouth full of oatmeal.
When you’re trying a little too hard or being a little too over the top, you’re being extra. Here’s an example in a sentence: “Do you hear that middle-aged woman call her husband bae? Oh my gosh, she’s so extra.”
An acronym for “one true pairing,” a celebrity relationship that you care a little too much about, like Beyonce and Jay-Z. If your first thought was, “Oh yeah, I get it, like Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson!,” then you are too old to be using OTP. Oh, and speaking of Hollywood: If you wanted to be wowed, check out the 20 Craziest Celebrity Rumors of All Time.
Short for “perfect.” Why exactly are you shortening your words? Cause all the kids are doing it? During your forty-plus years on the planet, have you found that pronouncing entire words have interfered with your time management? Cut it out and act your age.
It could be short for “keep it gangsta” or “keep it 100,” but it’s definitely not short for “keep it real.” If you really, really want to add “real” on the end, just do us all a favor and resist the urge entirely.
Netflix and chill
Oh, boy. Where to begin with why you shouldn’t say this? When kids use it, they could be talking about intimacy. In your 40s? It describes exactly how you’re probably spending your Friday night. If you’re using it as kids use it, you’re just going to gross others out.
This is a tricky one. Ship is short for relationship, but it’s used here as a verb. You “ship” two people that you want to be in a relationship, or believe represent true love. If you, say, think Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca are the perfect fictional pair, you would say “I ship Humph and Ing.” You’re already confused, aren’t you? Yeah, we are a little too. Let’s move on.
When somebody is behaving bitter or angry, you might describe them as salty. Unless you’re over 40, in which describing anything as salty is just a gateway to a frank and difficult discussion about diabetes.
When you’re broke or have no money, you’re skint. If you seriously use the word “skint” in a sentence, you’ve more or less explained how you got into this financial mess. A 40-year-old who says “skint” does not have a 401k. Regardless, do yourself a favor and read the 52 Ways to Be Smarter with Money in 2018.
Listen, nobody was buying it when you say “let’s get crunked” in the 90s, and they’re sure not buying it today.
Slide into your DMs
When you don’t have somebody’s number but you’d like to get to know them better, you ask to “slide into your DMs”—DM meaning direct messages on social media. There’s no way for somebody over 40 to say this without sounding creepy. If you’re organized a playdate with your kid’s best friend, you probably shouldn’t tell his mother to “slide into your DMs.”
It’s got the same definition as the regular word “goals”, but now it’s being used as an adjective. Example: “Sounding younger than I actually am but everybody knows my real age is goals.” But hey, if you do have (real) goals, check out the 40 Ways to Develop New Habits After 40.
Sorry not sorry
The ole’ apology reversal is easy to recognize as sarcasm in a 20 year-old. But when you get to be 40, it just comes off as irresponsible and indecisive. (“Seriously, Bob, are you sorry or are you not?”)
When you’ve got to leave, the sooner the better, you’re preparing to dipset. A 40 year old is just not capable of saying this word without it sounding like you’re insulting someone. “Wait, what did you just call me?!”
When you were younger, phat used to mean hip or cool. But today, phat went back to being fat, and now it’s body shaming. You could always say “That’s phat, but with a PH,” but then you’ve just aged yourself tremendously.
When something is so cool it deserves to be checked out, it’s described as “lit.” The only thing that needs to be lit in your world is lavender vanilla candles.
It’s the new “fleek,” and it’s used in the same way, to describe something as really impressive or on point. Trust me: You can get by calling using the phrases “really impressive” or “on point.”
All the Feels
If you’re overwhelmed with emotion, you’re “having all the feels.” It’s a cute thing to say when you’re a teen or in your 20s, when most of the things you get emotional about don’t have particularly high stakes.
But when you’re 40 and you say things like, “I just finalized my divorce and I’m having all the feels,” or “all the blood tests came back negative and it’s given me all the feels,” you’re not doing life right.
All Righty Then
The kids today mostly know Jim Carrey as a crazy bearded guy who makes paintings—or the crazy guy in that really great Netflix documentary. Sadly Ace Ventura is deep into the rearview mirror—just like these 15 Best Picture Oscar Winners No One Likes Anymore.
An abbreviation for “totally” that sounds hilarious coming from a 20 year-old. But for the 40-plus crowd, it sounds like a stern warning not to forget our tote bags before we go grocery shopping because it’s more environmentally friendly. “Totes, people! Never forget the totes!”
If something is extra crazy, it’s cray-cray. Again, this is an instance we’d advise you to use “extra crazy.”
The 90s called, they wanted to remind you that you’re in your 40s now and saying “Wazzzzzzzap” is your generation’s version of asking the kids for help connecting to the Internet. And for more awkward slang terms, and why we should never ever use them, check out 20 Slang Terms From the 1950s No One Uses Anymore.
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