Where there are teens, there’s slang. It’s true now, and it was true over 100 years ago. (Phrases like “got the morbs,” “orf chump,” and “mafficking” were all part of the Victorian slang vocabulary.)
Teens love to immerse themselves in their own worlds, separate from adults. As it turns out, the words they use have a lot to do with it. Slang – those often funny-sounding sayings, code terms, and acronyms – is often what helps them do it.
It also helps them keep their social lives a bit of a secret from their parents.
Of course, if you’re a parent to a teen, you know that keeping the lines of communication open is one of the keys to a good relationship. Thus, it can be helpful to know some slang terms, especially ones that might signal your teen is on the wrong path.
Having these words on your radar can help you determine when your kid is just having harmless fun, or when they might be asking for trouble.
Lastly, try using these words to embarrass your kids endlessly in front of their friends.
Common Teen Slang Words Parents Should Know
The teen slang dictionary is constantly changing to match the current moment in pop culture. Here are some words to know right now, in alphabetical order.
Remember, these words are probably fleeting in the teen vocabulary. What’s in popular use now may have dropped by the wayside within a few months.
Also, note that most of these words will be used without proper grammar or punctuation – but those are the hallmarks of slang.
- AF – Literally means “as f**k,” and is used to add emphasis to whatever you’re saying. Mostly used in text conversations. For example: “That concert was loud af”
- Can’t even – When something is too much for you to handle, usually too ridiculous or too funny. Example: “I got a D on that test I can’t even”
- Don’t @ me – Similar to “don’t hate me.” This phrase is usually used when you just said something potentially controversial, but you don’t care if people disagree or don’t like it.
- Extra – Someone is being “extra” if they’re being obnoxious, being overly dramatic, or trying way too hard.
- Fam – Used to refer to your friends, or the people who are like family to you, i.e. “Hey fam”
- Goals – In teen slang, “goals” is used as an adjective but means basically the same thing as it does in its noun form. It refers to something coveted or something you aspire to. I.e., “Her outfit is goals.”
- Hundo P – Literally refers to “100%,” as in they’re 100% sure or certain. Often used interchangeably with “totally.”
- Idgi – “I don’t get it”
- It me – When something epitomizes who you are or describes you to a T, you say “it me.”
- Lgtm – “Looks good to me”
- Lit – When something is hot, happening, or cool. Example: “This party is lit.”
- Lowkey – A word used to describe something that is sort of a secret. It can also just mean “sort of.” Example: “I lowkey hate this song.”
- Ngl – “Not gonna lie”
- Rn – “Right now”
- Salty – Feeling bitter or angry, usually directed at another person. I.e., “She got salty when I said I couldn’t go with her.”
- Same – Short for “I feel the same way” or “I’m the same way.”
- Squad – Your closest group of best friends.
- Squad goals – What you say when you think somebody else’s squad is incredibly cool or inspirational. This is a positive phrase that doesn’t connote envy. I.e., “Taylor Swift and her friends are squad goals.”
- Sus – Short for “suspect.” Can mean “sketchy” or “shady.” I.e., “That was sus when she gave you that weird look.”
- Tbh – “To be honest”
- Tfw – “That feeling when” – often used as a preface to describing a common or universal emotion. Example: “Tfw you’re late for the bus”
- Took an L – “Took a loss” – When you accept defeat, as in “I took an L this time.”
- Trash/ur trash – When someone is a terrible person. This can often be self-directed, i.e., “I’m such trash for horrible pop songs.”
- V – “Very,” as in “I’m v happy about it”
Remember, Parents: Do Not Use These Cool Words in Front of Your Kids
One of the biggest sins parents can commit is attempting to use slang in conversation with their tweens and teens. If you’ve ever tried this, you know all you’ll get is some eye-rolling and a groan or two of annoyance.
Even if you use teen slang words correctly, your kids will never let it fly.
Instead, note these terms from the slang dictionary and use them to interpret your kids’ speech. Instead of feeling confused, you’ll find yourself better able to translate what they’re saying and texting.