The A to Z of 2018 Teen Slang, Deciphered

Ever wonder if you’re understanding your adolescent correctly these days? Trust us, you’re not the only one. 2018 has left a lot of parents of teens and preteens scratching their heads wondering about the onslaught of new vocabulary they’re hearing from their kids. It’s been quite a year for slang, and it’s OK to admit you’re not sure what the hell is going on.

Pop quiz: FOMO. Whatever you do, don’t go sliding into your teen’s DM. Bible, that’s a cringy AF way to try to figure out what the hell your kid is talking about. Stick with us, squad. We’re finna spill the tea about 2018’s top-shelf slang, and legit, you need to get woke or skurt, okurr?

If you were scratching your head by “FOMO,” well, lucky you. We can help with this handy-dandy guide to 2018 slang. Just don’t go getting all extra on your kids. Stay low-key and keep it 100.

If you could decipher that first paragraph, fam, zayum. You’ve been keeping up with 2018’s most lit lingo and are quite possibly one of the cool parents. Congratulations.




A Is for AF

As in, “as fuck.” Adverbial clause — or it would have been back in the day when young people had heard of adverbial clauses. Or adverbs, for that matter. Mom was mad AF means “Mama wasn’t just pissed off, she was ready to lose her proverbial shiz and set the house on fire.” Hot AF is either describing “a hottie to the max” or “a blazing day.” Don’t overthink with AF; don’t overdo it. Try it out loud at the dry cleaner or at your local Starbucks before you try to level up to anything else on this list. 

B Is for Bae

Bae is in the category of “babe” or “boo,” but so much cooler. Some teens say it stands for “before anyone else” (awww), while others wish you hadn’t asked because OMG, Mom, stop.

B is also for BF (“boyfriend”), BFF (“best friends forever”), bands (meaning “a wad of cash,” a nod to the paper bankers bands they always show wrapped around lots of dough in heist movies) and bible (used to preface something that is “swear to God and on my grandmother’s grave, totes true”). Example: Bible, my mom says “totes,” and it is so cringy I might die. B is also for bruh, the way more hip, younger brother of “bro.”

C Is for Clapback

As in “to retaliate, push back, get a little salty in response.” (Yes, we’re getting to “salty.”) Need a role model to help you understand clapback? Go follow Chrissy Teigen on Twitter. She is the first lady of clapback, and the reason she’s gotten so good is that trolls love to slam her parenting — and she’s not one to take that crap lying down. You can always count on some seriously tasty clapback from Teigen; trust us. 

C is also for curve, which rhymes with swerve, which is kind of what you do when you see someone who likes you romantically but you don’t like them back. Awk. In plain-speak, “to reject unwanted romantic advances.”

And don’t forget C-favorite cringy, which you might think would mean “the attribute of cringing easily,” except, nope. A cringy thing is “a thing that inspires cringing and grimacing.” Don’t be that thing. 

D Is for Doggo

That’s the same thing as a doge. Or a pupporino. It is no longer in vogue to simply say “dog.” I just want to floof that doggo means “I want to ruffle that cute dog’s fur.” Except, you know, in a really cool, chill way. (Yes. Chill is still around too. You’re fine.)

D Is Also for DM

Sliding into someone’s DM means “private messaging someone” — but beware. This also carries the connotation you might also want to slide into said person’s, uh, something else. Pants. Sheets. Or so on. You get the idea. Use it judiciously, especially around your teens, if you don’t want to be labeled cringy for life. 

E Is for Extra

You do not want to be extra. Unless you do want to be extra, which is a personal choice. Chill, we don’t know anybody at this party; don’t be so extra is a plea to not stand out. Being extra is “being over the top and waaaay too dramatic.” Unless you’re supposed to be, like Tituss Burgess on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Antonym: basic. So, basically, don’t be basic, and don’t be extra. Live only in the 3 centimeters in between those two, and maybe you’ll have a fighting chance at a social life or a fragile connection to your offspring.

F Is for Fam

Oh, you know fam when you feel fam. Fam is “your tribe, your people.” Fam are the people you’d let see you without your mascara and concealer. You can pass gas around your fam. You don’t have to be related by blood to be fam. Similar to squad, but maybe a little mushier. Maybe. This is not a precise science. We’re doing our best, fam. Shut up.

F Is Also for Finna

This frankly stumped us for a while. So, apparently, finna is a derivative of the Southern “I’m fixing to,” which means (this is for you Yanks) “I’m going to” or “I’m planning to” do a thing. So, “finna study 2nite” is a good thing to spot your kid texting to a friend. “Finna get turnt up” is not a good thing to spot your kid texting to a friend. We’ll get to turnt in a bit.

G Is for Gucci

As in the Gucci brand, yes, but not necessarily a Gucci product. In fact, almost never an actual Gucci. However, if your teen refers to something as “Gucci AF,” the thing in question has deeply impressed your offspring. This may be a good indicator of novel ideas for gifting your teen. If, you know, they’re not really talking to you otherwise these days, which is sometimes how it goes. They’ll come around. Probably.

G Is Also for GOAT

If you choose to gift your teen that seriously Gucci purse (that is actually a Dooney & Bourke purse… please try to follow along here), you may repair your cringy reputation and — briefly — become the GOAT. This is actually a very good thing. Enjoy a GOAT moment, because GOAT means, simply, the “greatest of all time.” Yeah. See what they did there? Clever babies. They might not recognize an adverb if it smacked them over the head with an -ly ending, but those zoomy texting whippersnappers of ours can still come up with acronyms. Maybe it’s not the end of days after all. Oh, of course it is. You’re reading a guide to 2018 slang to get closer to your kid because the world is going to hell in a handbasket and you don’t know how else to spend your time. This is definitely the apocalypse.

I Is for IDK

If YDK IDK, WDK WTF 2 DO W/U. Either you know, or you DK.

J Is for JOMO

The 2018 version of FOMO. Oh, no. Don’t tell us you missed FOMO and didn’t have FOMO on FOMO because you didn’t know FOMO existed. And no, it has nothing to do with “Domo Arigato, Mister Roboto.” OK: FOMO is “fear of missing out.” JOMO is “joy of missing out.” Example: They think I have FOMO about prom, but I have JOMO because my dad is taking me to Seville and I didn’t want to be around those basic people anyway.

K Is for Keep It 100

Pretty straightforward. Keep it 100 is “Keep it authentic; keep it legit real at all times.” Except also, don’t be extra or basic. (These are confusing messages to our sclerosing brains. It’s not just you.)

K Is Also for Kween

As in, “Yas, KWEEEEEEN.” We don’t know when or why “yes” changed to “yas.” We also don’t know when or why “queen” changed to “kween.” We just report the hard-hitting linguistic news, folks. More details when and if we ever learn them, which we probably won’t, which is just how language goes.

L Is for Lit

Lit is “pure good.” You lit, fam! is an expression of great faith and pleasure in one’s people. That party was lit! means not that the party was rocking numerous candelabra and votives, lending a festive, cozy atmosphere, but rather that the party was awesomesauce. No, don’t ever say, “Awesomesauce,” out loud. But you see what we mean. Lit is cool, but cooler.

L Is Also for Low-Key

Low-key is that aforementioned 3-centimeter-wide window of chill emotion you want to wedge your soul into. Low-key is neither basic nor extra. It’s occasionally used to denote something secretive or at least kind of, sort of on the down-low, i.e., having a low-key crush on someone.

L is also for lulz, the 2018 version of “lolz.” As in, the now-archaic “LOL.”

N Is for NT

N is for NT, which means “nice try” in gamer talk. As in, “NT at Fortnite, Gramps.” We’ve also read it means “no thanks” or “nice throw.” But not, you know, as in “nice throw pillow.” That’s just sad. So is thinking Netflix and chill really means “Netflix and chill.” 

O Is for OTP

“One true pairing,” or OTP is one we’ve seen but haven’t actually heard the way you hear Oh-Em-Gee. It’s, like, a sacred acronym reserved for couples (real-life or fictional) you worship — those who are #CoupleGoals to you, but in an extreme way. If you massively ‘ship it, it’s probably an OTP to you. If you think that to ‘ship it is “to send by FedEx,” you should probably quit while you’re ahead and try our food section. Or maybe just go take a nap.

O Is Also for Okurr

Pronounced with a trilled R. Blame this one on Cardi B if you can’t roll your R’s. Indulge if you can. (It means “OK.”)


P Is for Puppo

See “D Is for Doggo.” 


Q Is for Queen

Now a variant of a variant of itself. See “K Is for Kween.”

R Is for Ratchet

Wikipedia has this to say about ratchet: “Ratchet is a slang term in hip hop that in its original sense referred to an uncouth woman, and is a Louisianan regiolect version of the word ‘wretched.’” We think ratchet has some oomph, some real power to it, and might just be the “nasty woman” of 2019. But. Not. Yet. Wait it out. For now, it’s just something that’s a low-class hot mess. Steer clear.

S Is for Savage (& Many More)

2018 is the year of S slang. In fact, you could just study S slang, and you’d enjoy at least a 50 percent better understanding of the creatures that eat your paycheck in the form of Hot Pockets, Cool Ranch Doritos and an endless stream of Adidas soccer cleats.

S is for: savage (“fierce, maybe playing a little dirty, not pulling any punches”), sipping tea (“keeping gossip to yourself, minding your own beeswax”), spilling tea (“letting that delicious gossip slide on out”), smash (“have some lively casual sex”), squad (“like fam, but maybe low-key fam”), straight fire (“savagely lit, yo”), sus (“suspect, suspicious, something’s off here”), skurt (“go away or leave”), skurt-skurt (“skedaddle”), snatched (“looking mighty on fleek”), salty (“gruff, snarky, mouthy”), stan (“to be an over-the-top fan” — Eminem fans will get the reference; we don’t have all day, people) and swole (“swollen with gym buffness”). Whew. 

T Is for Turnt or Turnt Up

Turnt or turnt up means “drunk or high or just really, really excited,” but probably also drunk and/or high — who are we kidding.

T is also represented by: THOT (“that ho over there,” and no, we don’t mean a garden implement), throw shade (“cast scorn upon, often with side-eye” — see Twitter), thirsty (“horny or desperate”), thicc, pronounced “thick” (“pleasantly curvaceous”) and TBH (“to be honest”). Example: TBH, guys who realize thicc girls are hot and consent is even hotter are woke AF.

V Is for V

Short for “very.” V serious. Farewell, very. 

W Is for Woke

Like fam, you know woke when you see it. Or you don’t, in which case you’re probably not so woke yourself, sorry to tell you. A white dude who checks his privilege at the door, listens to learn what he does not know, amplifies female colleagues when other cisgender white dudes are ignoring their contributions and who works for the ACLU is seriously woke. A white dude screaming “All lives matter!” at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event? Zero percent woke. Back to our regularly scheduled funny article.

X Is for Xtra

See “E is for Extra.”

Y Is for Yeet

Just, you know, another cool way of saying yes. “Yeah” is so 1980.


Z Is for Zerg

Zerg is “to bully someone.” It’s another term that slid into our linguistic lineup from the gamer world.

Z runner-up zayum is like “dayum” but stronger. Dayum itself came from “damn,” which was “darn” for a long time, shortened from “darned,” which probably had something to do with knitting socks if you have the patience to go that far back. Whatever the case, zayum, don’t go zerging anybody. 

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