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The ultimate guide to teenage (Gen Z) slang in 2020

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The ultimate guide to teenage (Gen Z) slang in 2020

If your demographic is young - teenagers, early 20s, maybe even 30 and under - keeping track of slang and youth jargon is key. Young and progressive people love it when companies are informal and when they talk to their customers as if they were actually friends.

You know lol. You know on fleek. You might even know lit. Hate to break it to you, but those are old news. Lol lives on since the 80s and will probably never die, but a teenager born in the 2000s wouldn’t be caught dead saying “on fleek”. So, the question remains: are you up to date with what slang is current in 2020? In case not, here’s a list of the most popular abbreviations and expressions that the youth are using so that you can stop googling.

Adulting = Completing a task or duty considered for adults such as paying bills, getting insurance, getting a job etc.
Example: “Adulting is so hard. I don’t want to pay my bills!”


Aesthetic = Style.
Example: “The Flowbox office has such a nice aesthetic.”


Af = Short for as f**k. Synonymous to “extremely”.
Example: “I’m hungry af.”


And I oop = Lighthearted expression in relation to making a rather insignificant mistake, strongly associated with VSCO girls (see further down).
Example: *drops phone on the ground* “And I oop!”


Basic = Mainstream, like everyone else, usually in a negative connotation.
Example: “Pumpkin spice lattes are so basic.”


Beat = Aggressively apply makeup.
Example: “Omg she is beating her face with that blush."


Bread = Money.
Example: “Let’s get this bread.”


Cancel (culture) = Removing something or someone out of your life. Most often used collectively by fans to decide that a celebrity (often YouTubers) shouldn’t get attention anymore, usually following a controversial or offensive statement. In practice, it’s very similar to boycotting.
Example: “Trump needs to get cancelled already.”

 Via @jhbteam / @planty_hoes


CEO (of sth) = Being the best at something. Can be used both seriously and ironically.
Example: “I’m CEO of ugly dancing.”


Clout = (social media) Fame and influence.
Example: “Therése Lindgren has hella clout.”


Clout chaser = Someone who more or less only cares about followers and likes and wants to become famous (on social media).
Example: “She only hangs out with him because he has a lot of followers. She’s such a clout chaser.”


E-boy/-girl = Gen Z’s hybrid version of emo/goth. A specific style that typically includes wearing a lot of black, neon and chains, drawing small black hearts drawn under their eyes, using a lot of blush, and having bangs. Common on the social app TikTok. Millennials usually think the “e” stands for emotional as the style is quite similar to emo, but it actually stands for “electronic”.
Example: “E-girls and -boys are Gen Z’s version of being emo or goth.”


Extra = Over the top, unnecessarily dramatic.
Example: “My sister is so extra - she wears high heels to school every day.”


Fam = Short for family, used to be a nickname you call people who mean so much to you that you consider them family, but the meaning has faded. Now it’s used more or less as a synonym to “bro”.
Example: “I feel you, fam.”


Fire = Really good, with very strong emphasis.
Example: “This song is fire!”


Fit = Short for outfit.
Example: “This is my fit of the day!”


Flex = To show off. Often used in the expression “weird flex but ok” which refers to when people are showing off something irrelevant or strange.
Example: “I’m like really good at vacuuming.” “Weird flex but ok!”


FOMO = Fear of missing out.
Example: “If I don’t go to that party I’ll get major FOMO.”


Fr = Short for for real.
Example: “I mean it, fr.”


Glow up = Upgrade in terms of appearance. Like “grow up” but not referring to age.
Example: “I had such a glow up last year.”


Gucci = Good.
Example: “What’s gucci?”


Henlo = A dog’s way of saying “hello”. Part of a large vocabulary associated with impersonating dogs where you essentially just jumble around words and make them appear silly.
Example: “Henlo, this is doggo.”

Via @maniizer / KnowYourMeme


Highkey = Obviously, proudly, openly.
Example: "I highkey love this game.”


I'm baby = A way to express and/or excuse being needy, helpless, useless, tender in a funny/cute way.
Example: "I can't do the dishes. I'm baby."


Idgaf = Short for I don’t give a f**k.
Example: “Idgaf what you think about me.”


Leaving someone on read = Not replying to someone’s message and thus ignoring them.
Example: “I wasn’t really interested, so I left him on read.”


Lowkey = Slightly, secretly, modestly.
Example: “I lowkey have a huge crush on him.”


Mood = The meaning is the same, but the usage is different. A one-word caption to say that you (sometimes) feel the same way as what you’re referring to.
Example: “Your dog is such a mood.”


No cap = No lie. Can be used as a synonym for sincerely or seriously.
Example: “Your shoes are so cute, no cap.”


Ok boomer = Dismissing someone who is acting too old fashioned/not up to date enough.
Example: “Girls should have long hair, not short.” “Ok boomer.”


Pov = Point of view. Often used on the app TikTok in order to set the scene/explain a scenario. Similar to “imagine this”.
Example: *A video of someone sitting at a desk* “Pov: you’re sitting next to me in class.”


Quaking = Shocked, appalled. Most often used to describe something in relation to a someone famous in the field of what you’re talking about.
Example: “My room is so messy. Marie Kondo is quaking rn.”


Receipts = Proof, usually in form of screenshots.
Example: “I know he’s cheating on me and I’ve got receipts.”


Rn = Short for right now.
Example: “I’m so sleepy rn.”


Rt = Short for retweet. Meaning you agree.
Example: “Omg yes. Rt.”


Salty = Jealous, bitter, upset, irritated.
Example: “She’s just salty because she’s not in the spotlight right now.”


(Throw) shade = Insult or trash talk discreetly, slick or rude comments.
Example: “Ugh stop throwing shade. I didn’t do anything wrong.”


Ship = Unclear if it’s short for worship or relationship, but it’s used in terms of fans appreciating celebrity, fictional or wanted romances.
Example: “I shipped Brangelina so hard.”


Shook = Shocked.
Example: “I am shook.”


Slaps = Is really good. Can be used to describe anything.
Example: “This song slaps. This food slaps. Flowbox slaps.


Slay = Doing a great job or being really cool, can be used in general or for specific things.
Example: “You’re slaying life right now.”


Smh = Short for shaking my head.
Example: “How do people still not know the difference between your and you’re? Smh.”

Via @mrchuy0123 / @richthekid


Snack = A good-looking person.
Example: “You’re looking like a snack today.”


Sip tea = To listen to gossip.
Example: “I’m just sitting here, sipping on the tea.”


Spill the tea = To (spread) gossip.
Example: “I hooked up with her last night.” “Omg girl spill the tea!”


Stan = An obsessed fan. Can be used both as a noun and verb.
Example: “I’m a Taylor Swift stan. We stan her.


Sus = Short for suspicious.
Example: “Don’t meet him in the alley. That’s totally sus.”


Tbh = Short for to be honest.
Example: “Tbh you’re like a sister to me.”


Tfw = Short for that feel(ing) when.
Example: “Tfw you’re ready for the weekend but it’s only monday.”


Thicc = A curvy or large body (part), almost always in a positive connotation.
Example: “I’ve always wanted a thicc girlfriend.”


Thirst trap = A social media post in which the person appears to be thirsty (see below).
Example: “That selfie is a total thirst trap.”


Thirsty = Desperate for attention and approval, most often from love interests.
Example: “You’re so thirsty! Go get yourself someone!”


Vibe = (good) feeling or connecting/connection. Both noun and verb.
Example: “Wow, we’re like really vibing!”


VSCO girl = A style that typically includes scrunchies, oversized t-shirts, Crocs or Birkenstocks, Hydroflasks, wearing little to no makeup and being passionate about saving the turtles by using metal straws as well as editing their photos using the app VSCO.
Example: “I wouldn’t call myself a VSCO girl, but I do like scrunchies and oversized t-shirts.”


W = Short for “win”.
Example: “Today I got out of bed at 10 am and that’s a W for me.”


Woke = Aware and outspoken of current political and social issues. Being woke means caring about the environment, feminism, breaking norms etc. It’s essentially the opposite of politically incorrect and “being asleep”.
Example: “I could never be with someone that isn’t woke.”


Yeet = To throw something very hard. Can also be used as the sound effect of something being thrown hard.
Example: *throws something* “Yeet!”

Via ImgFlip / KnowYourMeme


Bonus: putting “~” around words to symbolize being a bit cute, sweet and innocent. Very popular in Asia, especially in Kawaii culture.


Missing your favorite 2020 slang? Contact me at:
Bianca Rior, Content Editor, Flowbox
bianca.rior@getflowbox.com

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