Family, Kids & Relationships

Teen and tween online slang that parents need to know

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Kids have a language of their very own, and it becomes even more cryptic when kids communicate with each other online. If you have a Gen Z or Gen Alpha kid, this dictionary will help you translate their online slang into terms you can understand. 

Is my kid Gen Z or Gen Alpha?

Different generations each have a unique culture and language. If your child was born between 1997 and 2012 (between 12 and 27 years old), they are a part of Generation Z. If they were born between now and 2011 (from newborn to around 11 years old), they are a part of Generation Alpha.

Gen Z is unique because it’s the first generation of kids to have lived their whole lives with the internet. Generation Alpha’s unique characteristic is the impact that the COVID pandemic had on the formative years of many kids in this age range. For both of these generations, being online is a fundamental part of their school, home life, and social life. 

Decoding online slang

Whether you’re concerned about their safety, or just want to be able to understand what on Earth they’re talking about, this online slang dictionary for parents will break down the most popular terms kids are using online today—

Ate: Used to express admiration or praise for someone who has excelled at something. Frequently used in the areas of fashion, music, or performance, but it can also be employed in various other contexts. (i.e. “Did you hear that new Ariana Grande song? She ate that!”)

Beige flag: A response to the trend of listing one’s dating “red flags,” the beige flag was introduced to draw attention to the quirky, but neutral, traits in partners that are neither deal-breakers or deal-makers, but may give you pause. (i.e. “My girlfriend’s beige flag is that she always needs a blanket regardless of the temperature.”)

Bet: Usually used to show agreement or confirmation. It can also be used as a shorthand to convey trust or assurance, like saying, “you can count on it” or “trust me.” (i.e. “Want to grab lunch later?” “Bet!”)

Caught in 4K: A popular phrase on social media often used when someone is unmistakably caught doing something. It implies that the person’s actions were captured on a high-definition camera, leaving no room for doubt about what happened. (i.e. “I can’t believe that guy tried to deny cheating on his girlfriend. There are screenshots and videos. He was caught in 4K!”)

Drip: A fashionable outfit, or someone who possesses a distinct and confident fashion sense. It can also describe anyone or anything that radiates confidence, swagger, or elegance. (i.e. “Did you see that guy’s jacket? He’s got some serious drip.”)

Delulu: Derived from the word “delusional” and commonly used to describe people who exhibit peculiar or extreme behavior, especially superfans or romantic partners. (i.e. “You spend HOW many hours a day on the Taylor Swift message boards?! You must be delulu.”)

ELI5: Short for “explain like I’m five,” and often pronounced “E-L-I-five” or “E-lie-five.” Often used by someone seeking a simplified explanation of complex concepts, expecting a response that can be easily grasped, even by a five-year-old. (i.e. “ELI5: Why are there so many bot accounts on Twitter?”)

Era: Used to describe someone’s current interests or priorities. It has become popular on social media, where people use the phrase “in your [blank] era” to describe what activities or concepts they’re currently interested in. (i.e. “Now that the weather is getting colder I’m moving into my soup era.”)

FR: Short for “for real,” this term is often used to express sincerity, agreement or to emphasize a statement or opinion, similar to “seriously.” (i.e. “We have enough streaming services. You think I’m going to keep paying for one that won’t let me share my account with a friend? Be fr.”)

Hold This L: A phrase used on social media as a way to taunt someone who has experienced a loss or failure. An abbreviated form of “hold this loss” or “take this L,” meant to convey that the individual should gracefully accept their defeat.

LMR: An abbreviation for “Like My Recent,” which is a call-to-action frequently used on social media. It’s a request from creators to their followers, asking them to engage with their most recent post. The intent behind this appeal is often to increase the visibility and engagement metrics of the post. (i.e. Incoming photo dump from my trip to Mexico! LMR for a sneak peek!”)

Moots: Used to describe mutual followers or mutual friends in social circles. It originates from the word “mutuals.” (i.e. “Just started a new fashion account on Insta. Looking for moots!”)

OOMF: Short for “one of my followers” or “one of my friends.” It serves as a way to refer to people indirectly, particularly on social media platforms. The tone is often flirtatious or passive-aggressive, enabling users to acknowledge someone without directly mentioning them publicly. (i.e. “OOMF needs to mind their own business and stop sliding in my DMs.”)

Reply Guy: An individual, typically a man, who consistently, and often irritatingly, responds to social media posts—especially those created by women. (i.e. “I can’t post a single thing without at least 15 reply guys responding with fire emojis.”)

Rizz: Derived from “charisma,” this term is commonly used on social media. It represents an individual’s skill in flirting and displaying charm, particularly when pursuing a romantic interest. (i.e. “That guy has so much rizz. Everyone wants to talk to him.”)

TBF: An acronym that stands for “to be fair,” this term serves as a way to offer a balanced perspective or introduce a statement that promotes fairness in a discussion. Commonly used to acknowledge a counter-argument or concede a point, while still sticking to one’s own position. (i.e. “Ok I did a terrible job on my finals this year, but TBF I had just started my first job and it was really stressful!”)

Touch Grass: A reminder for individuals to disconnect from the online world and spend some time outside. Used when it’s apparent that someone is spending too much time on the internet. (i.e. “Why do you respond to everything I post within the first 30 seconds? Seems like you need to go touch grass.”)

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