I remember growing up in the ‘90s and saying things like “rad,” “totally awesome,” and “far out.” Grownups would laugh or maybe roll their eyes when they heard kids talk like that, but they absolutely understood what we were saying. Every adult could decipher what “that’s massive” meant, no explanation needed.
Well, maybe I am showing my age here, but my three teens talk to me in ways I wouldn’t be able to understand if it weren’t for Google. I am not mom, I am bruh, pronounced strictly as /br?/ rather than “bro” because it’s way more lit to say it that way. By the way, kids don’t say “lit” anymore — it’s so 2016 — but I kind of like saying it because my kids think I’m cringy (another word we’ll explain) anyway so why not really embarrass them?
If you’re feeling lost in a sea of slang and you’re tired of grabbing your phone and hiding out in the bathroom every time you hear your kids say a new word because you want to be in the know, don’t worry. We are here for you. Here are words you might be hearing your kid say and what they actually mean:
Sus: It’s short for suspicious, questionable, they think you are lying. Kids use it a lot. Like right before their friend is about to get in the car they’ll tell you not to act “sus.”
No cap: I’m serious, I’m not exaggerating at all, don’t doubt a word I am saying. This might be the most confusing term of all. Frankly, I think this one is dumb but that doesn’t stop me from using it in front of my kids’ friends. They love it. No cap. (See what I did there?)
Bet: Another word for “okay” and a way to agree with someone, because apparently just nodding your head or saying “okay” isn’t the way we communicate anymore.
Snatched: Fits well, looks good, and is flattering. Yeah, this one almost gave me whiplash when my daughter used it to describe a jacket she wanted because when she tried it on she was “snatched.”
Fashion/ You are so fashion: You look great, hot, trendy, they love it. We don’t say fashionable anymore — that was for the ‘80s and ‘90s. These days, it’s “you are so fashion.” I know, it doesn’t sound right, does it?
Pop off: Going on a rant, talking a lot for a long time, especially in an angry tone. Something my kids say I do a lot of.
Agro or Aggro: This term is commonly used with gamers to describe attacks on players by NPC (Non-Player Characters). It also means you seem angry or aggravated. Kind of how I feel when I ask my kids simple questions and they reply in slang I don’t understand.
Bussin: It’s great. For some reason, they mostly use the word to describe food. This might be the most common slang term adults are hearing these days from their kids. It makes me cringe and while I appreciate my kids telling me the dinner I made was “bussin,” I miss hearing simple phrases like, “that was really good, mom.”
Cringe: If you are reading this, you are probably a parent, or have kids in your life, and you are probably cringe. If your kids tell you you are “cringe” or you are acting “cringy,” it means you are so embarrassing they can’t handle you.
Slay: You did a great job, finished strong, nailed it. It’s a positive term that you might hear if you tell your child you just made their favorite cake or if you are talking about how happy you are that you finished a hard workout.
Mid: Mediocre. When my daughter first said this to me about my outfit, I almost popped off because I thought she was saying I was so “mid-life,” which in all fairness I am but I didn’t like it. So if you hear them saying “mid” about anything, it means they aren’t a huge fan.
Drip: “She has a lot of drip,” doesn’t mean someone got caught in a rain storm like I originally thought. This term started in hip-hop culture; it’s a way to describe something you like when it comes to fashion. It can be an accessory, an entire outfit, or someone’s sense of style.
Gucci: If you hear the words, “It’s all Gucci,” it doesn’t mean someone is wearing a designer outfit. It means everything is good. Gucci is a slang term used to describe something cool or fine. I have no idea.
Baddie: A badass — someone who can take care of themselves and won’t put up with any crap from anyone. It’s usually to describe a hot, independent woman.
Sneaky Link: This can be a relationship (sexual or non-sexual) that’s solely between two people that no one else knows about. There are a lot of kids who are sneaky links on social media, then they see each other and don’t speak or make eye contact.
Rizz: is often rated on a scale of one to ten. If you are a ten on the Rizz scale, then you are able to attract and flirt easily. Rizz is similar to charisma.
So if you want to be a baddie, dress in something that’s snatched and pop off about how bussin the dinner you made was. I’m sure they’ll tell you that you are being cringy but deep down, they will be impressed. No cap.
Katie Bingham-Smith is a full-time freelance writer living in Maine with her three teens and two ducks. When she’s not writing she’s probably spending too much money online and drinking Coke Zero.