Your Quick Guide to the Gen Z Slang

Gen Z is a crowd different from their predecessors and so is their language. Getting into a conversation with them might cause you to sweat, so here is a list of 13 words that could come to your help

Billie Eilish is the GOAT, no cap! 

If you are wondering what that means (and are slightly appalled) check with the teenager at your home. He/ she (most likely in a condescending tone) would tell you that GOAT means ‘Greatest Of All Times’ and that ‘no cap’ has got nothing to do with not having a cap. 

Seems like the years of ‘dope’ and ‘fab’ are over, millennials. In place has entered the ‘lit’ ‘woke’ language of the Gen Z to whom Gucci doesn’t mean a brand, salty doesn’t mean a flavour and of course, GOAT doesn’t mean an animal.

Born between 1995 and 2012, Gen Z constitutes one-third of the world population and is about to surpass the millennials as the most populous crowd. So before you dismiss their dialect as ‘lazy’ or ‘sloppy’, give it a thought. To engage with this digital native generation is to engage with the future. And to do that, you need to know their language. 

But they are killing the language you say? Well, language has been evolving constantly, so much so that a faction of linguists think of it as a living organism, growing, changing and reproducing. In fact, the father of the theory of evolution Charles Darwin himself has acknowledged the evolution of language in his work The Descent of Man, in which he noted that ‘the formation of different languages and of distinct species, and the proof that both have been developed through a gradual process, are curiously parallel’. So consider the new dialect an evolved version of yours. Your ‘buddy/bro’ has been replaced by ‘bruh’, your ‘cool’ has evolved into ‘fire’, your ‘gonna’ has become ‘finna’.

Here’s a quick guide to the Gen Z dialect – thirteen words, their meanings and usages. 

  1. Woke: Woke is about being politically correct, sensitive and open to issues. The woke generation do not body-shame, do not discriminate based on race, are fundamentally feminists and inclusive and maintain an open mind to everything. Woke literally means staying awake. It was initially associated with the black community that fought racism and were alert about the atrocities against them. From there it went onto signify movements and activism related to a variety of causes.

Usage: There’s no messing with her; she is so woke.

  1. Lit: No, it has got nothing to do with fire. Lit, in the Gen Z universe, simply means extreme fun and exciting. The earlier meaning of the word was ‘intoxicated’, which dates back to the 1910s according to Merriam Webster. However, the way the word is used today has got to do more with something that is illuminated.

Usage: The party was lit!

  1. Fire: Interestingly, ‘fire’ also has got nothing to do with fire. More interestingly, Gen Z uses the word interchangeably for something cool or hot. For millennials, it’s the equivalent of ‘dope’.

Usage: You look fire!

  1. Tea: You might actually like this tea even if you are a coffee person because in the Gen Z language, tea means ‘gossip.’ So next time when one of them asks you to spill the tea, don’t tilt the cup. 

Usage: What’s going on at the office? Spill the tea.

  1. Ship: The ship that blocked the Zeus canal has been in the news for a while now, but if you heard the word in any of the Gen Z conversations, chances are that they were referring to something else. The word has got nothing to do with vessels or transportation. For the zoomers, ship is the short form of relationship. To ship two people is to link them romantically.

Usage: When Leonard and Penny came together, nobody was surprised. They have been shipped for years by stans. 

  1. Stan? Yes, it’s short for ‘stalker fan’; creepy, isn’t it? Gen Z uses it to denote someone who is an ardent fan of a celebrity. 
  1. No cap: The phrase is used to emphasize something or to show you are being honest about something. Its millennial equivalent could be something like a ‘for real’ or ‘totally.’ According to Dictionary.com, to cap means to lie, brag, lie or exaggerate. So now you know what’s a ‘no cap’.

Usage: The party was lit, no cap.

  1. Salty: This might not come as very surprising considering how different senses of taste have always been used to describe people – sweet, bitter, sour… Salty is the equivalent of bitter, used to describe someone who is upset or jealous. 

Usage: Ever since he lost the competition to her, he has turned all salty.

  1. Mood: It’s used to express how someone can relate with you or is feeling the same as you. Its origins are attributed to Black Twitter which used it as a way to respond to content they found relatable.

Usage: “I’m exhausted after the party.” 

 “Mood.”

  1. Seenzoned: Millennials reduced ‘text messaging’ into ‘texting’. When it was the turn of Gen Z, they added another word around the whole business of texting, which is ‘seen zoned.’ You are getting the drift, aren’t you? If your message has been seen but doesn’t elicit a reply, you are seen zoned.

Usage: I’m pretty sure he has seen zoned me.

  1. Gucci: If a teen tells you your bag is gucci, wait before you correct her to tell it’s a Prada. Most likely she might not be referring to your bag’s brand. In the Gen Z dialect, gucci simply means good, great or awesome.

Usage: “How’s college?”

“It’s gucci.”

  1. Fam: If you are about to guess it’s short for family, oops! While its origins are from the word family, the younger generation uses it to refer to their closest circle of friends, whom they probably consider as family.

Usage: I’m so happy for you, fam!

  1. Wig: Term used to express extreme excitement or something so crazy that your wig flew off. Millennials, remember when you exclaimed fab? Now you know what to replace it with.

Usage: What a show! Wig!


Read: A Humble History of the Emoji. In Plain Text 😀


Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.