In a world dominated by meme culture, ever-changing social media platforms, and your ability to cram your thoughts into a 280-character tweet, your grasp of basic slang can make or break your credibility as a functional and supposedly cool human.
Scroll through the comments of any Gen Z influencer’s Instagram feed, and you may feel completely out of the loop on what the world is talking about.
Though many of these terms have been around for decades, oftentimes derived from the language of black and queer communities, online spaces have made the spread, appropriation, and evolution of language more rapid than ever before.
Whether you’re millennial, Gen X-er, or baby boomer trying to stay up to date, or a Gen Z-er in need of an explanation, here’s a list of popular slang terms and the correct way to use them.
To be “extra” is to be unnecessarily dramatic and over the top.
Sentence: “She celebrated her birthday for an entire month. She’s so extra.”
Unlike the British version of the term “fit,” which means attractive, in the United States “fit” is just the shortened version of outfit.
Sentence: “Their fit was bold.”
To “flex” is to knowingly flaunt and show off. As a noun, a flex is the thing being shown off.
Sentence: “He drove himself to school in a new car the day after he got his license. He’s trying to flex.”
GOAT is an acronym that stands for the “greatest of all time.”
Sentence: “LeBron James is the GOAT. Period.”
“Lit” is an adjective to describe when something’s amazing, exciting, high-energy, or otherwise great.
Sentence: “That party was lit.”
To be “salty” is to be annoyed, upset, or bitter, usually about something minor.
Sentence: “You asked for a bite, but ate half my burger!” She replied, “You salty?”
To “slay” is to do really well or succeed at something.
Sentence: “I slayed that test.”
If someone’s “shook,” they’re affected by something, usually negatively and emotionally. It can also mean shocked, surprised, or scared.
Sentence: “Can’t believe how that movie ended. I’m shook.”
“Stan” can be a noun for an overzealous and obsessive fan, or a verb meaning to be that kind of fan.
Sentence: “Don’t say that to the ‘Star Wars’ stans.”
“Tea” is gossip, and “spilling the tea” is the act of gossiping.
Sentence: “Spill the tea, what did he say?”
A “whip” is a car.
Sentence: “Check out my new whip.”