Lost about what people are saying on TikTok? Class is in session. With the rise of the social media app, no generation has popularized lingo like Generation Z. TikTok has become the go-to place for influencers, and the language used on the platform consistently goes viral, including the term “cheugy,” a way Gen Z makes fun of out-of-date millennial trends. It’s also worth noting that even though TikTok has brought these terms to more audiences, they’re not new slang. In fact, their origins are much older – most rooted in African American Vernacular English (AAVE), or Black speech separate from standard English. Whether you are a parent, sibling, relative or someone who is still trying to make “fetch” happen, here’s a starter guide to help you understand what words, phrases and even emojis Gen Z is using, no cap.
Example: Seeing your friend walk down the aisle at their wedding.“Sheeeeeesh.”
Bet: Yes. Can be said as a question to ask if someone wants to do something or confirm.
Example: “Want to go get some boba?” “Bet?”
Ded/💀: Another lol; something so funny that it killed you. The emoji replaces the laughing emoji.
Example: “That girl that does the seagull noises has me ded💀.”
Stan: When you’re a very big fan of someone famous. Also used when someone does something seen as morally nice and you are giving your approval.
Examples: “My brother loves Megan Thee Stallion. He’s a stan.” Sees video of a guy named Jesse buy his mom a new car. “I stan Jesse.”
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Hits different: When something is so uniquely good/better.
Example: “This new Olivia Rodrigo album hits different.”
Iykyk: Stands for “If you know, you know.” Used to describe an inside joke or something a certain community would understand.
Example: “Nothing like the feeling of seeing the elote man coming down the street. Iykyk.”
Living rent free: Can’t stop thinking about something. Also used as an insult when someone is upset about something.
Examples: “That song lives rent free in my head.” “He hates LeBron James so much, he lives rent free inside his head.”
Periodt: Add emphasis to a point made.
Example: “Beyonce gave us the greatest performance in music history, periodt.”
Simp: When someone publicly pours their heart out for someone, whether they know the person or not, or goes above and beyond for their significant other.
Example: “Did you see his Instagram post about how much he loves his girlfriend? He’s such a simp.”
Vibe check: Checking someone’s energy or personality. Can be a permanent thing, or just based on something someone does. A pass/no pass situation.
Examples: “I love hanging out with them. They pass the vibe check.” “That dude yelled at the server, he doesn’t pass the vibe check.”
🥺👉👈: Feeling shy when complimenting someone or asking for something.
Example: “That looks like fun. Can we go do that? 🥺👉👈”
✍️: Taking mental notes, like noting something on a tutorial video. Often used after each word in a sentence.
Example: Make✍️ sure ✍️ to ✍️ buy ✍️ her ✍️ flowers✍️.”
📈/📉: To increase or decrease something, or talk about someone or something’s popularity after an event.
“Car sales after seeing this video📉.”
👁👄👁: In complete shock or unsure how to respond to something.
Example: “Me when I saw those photos of Jennifer Lopez with Ben Affleck👁👄👁.”
✨: Makes a word or phrase seem fancy or excited. Also can make a statement stand out.
Examples: “Today I did ✨nothing✨.” “I have some ✨personal news✨ to share.”
🙂: Although a smiley face, actually used for an awkward situation.
Example: “Me just trying to ignore the person screaming behind me🙂.”
😭: The Swiss army knife of emojis. Can mean sadness, anger, happiness, excitement, feeling overwhelmed. Basically any dramatic emotion.
Examples: “Guys I got tickets to Disneyland😭.” “This ‘Friends: Reunion’ has me in my feels😭.”
Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jord_mendoza.