Teen jargon translated
“Did you see what that hypebeast was wearing at the party? She must have mad stacks!”
“But she ODed on the makeup. And did you see her boyfriend? He was twisted!”
If this teenage exchange sounds foreign to you, you’re not alone. Teen jargon is constantly changing, making it hard for parents to keep up. Yesterday’s “cool” is today’s “swag.” “Bad” no longer means “bad”; it means “hot” or “sexy.”
“Slang functions as a code to identify members of a group and keep others out,” explains Temple University English and linguistics professor Muffy Siegel, PhD. “The point of slang is for parents not to understand it.”
Why parents need to know
Barbara Greenberg, PhD, author of Teenage as a Second Language: A Parent’s Guide to Becoming Bilingual, advises learning what your teen’s words mean. “You need to understand slang because you need to know what your children are talking about,” she stresses. “That’s how you learn what’s going on in their lives.”
Mysterious words could be red flags that your child or her friends are engaging in dangerous behaviors. Or a word that sounds bad may in fact be harmless. Knowing its meaning can put your mind at rest.
We asked MetroKids Facebook fans, professionals who work with teens and a few actual teens to define some of today’s popular jargon.
Bands, Bread, Cheddar, Guap, Stacks — Money. “Do you know how much guap you need to buy that car?”
Beast — Someone or something that is superior to others. “He is a beast on the basketball court.”
Boss, Epic, Prime —Awesome, incredible. “That girl is boss!” “That was an epic win!”
Flexin’, Stunting — Showing off. “He’s always flexin’.”
Hard — 1. Wild and crazy; “He went hard at the club.” 2. Trying the best you can; “I went hard on that test.”
Hater — A negative person. “Don’t be a hater.”
Hypebeast — Person who wears only name-brand clothes and shoes. “He is a hypebeast.”
Ill, Sick — Cool, awesome. “That song is sick!”
Mad — A lot or very. “He is mad fast!”
Popping tags — Shopping.“You up for popping tags this weekend?”
Ratchet — Rude or obnoxious. “Why do you have to be so ratchet?”
Turn up — Let’s party, have fun. “Turn up!”
Twisted — Drunk and high at the same time. “He was twisted at the party.”
Went in — Did well. “The band really went in on that song.”
YOLO — You only live once. “Go for it. YOLO!”
Texting red flags
Texting has become a preferred method of communication for many teens, and with it comes another set of jargon to learn. Here are some texting abbreviations to watch out for.
420 — Marijuana
ASL — Age/sex/location?
CD9, Code 9 — Parents are around
CU46 — See you for sex
D46 — Do you want to have sex?
GNOC — Get naked on cam
LMIRL — Let’s meet in real life
PAW — Parents are watching
POS — Parent over shoulder
PRON — Porn
RU18 — Are you 18?
Susan Stopper is a freelance writer.