Fifteen new words and phrases - and what they mean

What are Generation Z saying?

Have you been on Twitter or Instagram recently and seen new words you have no idea the meaning of?

Our language is ever evolving with change being popularised by the young and it can be hard to keep up. Especially in a world dominated by social media, saturated with meme culture (I’ll explain this later) and where characters are limited.

When discussing the origins of these words we must not forget to thank black communities in both America and the UK for inventing many of them!

You need a good grasp of our slang if you are to have any chance of understanding us. There is a diverse, open, sarcastic and hilarious online world created by Generation Z and to be a part of it, there’s a few words you should know first.

Here is a list of my favourite 15.

Adulting – used by Millennials too, is the practice of being an adult and carrying out any variety of grown up responsibilities from waking up early for work or going mattress shopping.

Allow – contrary to its original meaning, Gen Z use it to mean forget it. For example, ‘allow that coursework I can’t be bothered’. You can also shorten it to lowe.

Bait – when something is made blatantly obvious.

Bare – means a lot of or very, for example ‘Donald Trump has bare small hands.’

Beat your face – is a phrase borrowed from the African American drag community. Meaning to apply makeup, but typically refers to a lot of makeup that is applied well.

Boomer – is of course the shortened version of baby boomer, the generation born between the 40s and 60s, but is more widely used to mean any middle aged or older person. It is often used to poke fun at the attitudes and practices of the older generations.

Boujee – is an abbreviation of the French word bourgeoisie and was popularised by rap group Migos in their song ‘Bad and Boujee’. As you can guess it means fancy, rich or luxurious.

Ends – an exclusively British term, ‘the ends’ is the area you are from.

Flex – to flex simply means to show off. Often used in the context of: ‘Don’t flex on me like that’ which means don’t show off but in a joking manner.

Gassed – if you are gassed you are very excited.

Long – another exclusively British slang term, ‘long’ is used as an adjective to describe something that is tiresome or not worth your time.

Meme – is typically an image, video or style of text that is meant to be humorous which becomes a trend and is passed around social media then altered within the same format. Memes can often be very complicated and multi-layered containing multiple trends dating back months maybe years, that you will need to have been there for, if you are to get the joke!

Spilling the tea – is also a phrase originating in the African American drag community. Tea is gossip or truth and ‘spilling the tea’ is the act of sharing gossip or something controversial you see as true.

Stan – this means to be an obsessive or hard-core fan, but is often used in a light-hearted way. Coined by rapper Eminem in his infamous song ‘Stan’. It can also be used as a verb, for example ‘I stan Rihanna’.

Throw Shade – simply to insult or criticise someone.

Hopefully with this quick lesson you will be able to better understand Gen Z should you ever find yourself lost on twitter or tiktok, and who knows maybe even make a meme or two.

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