“She’s a VSCO girl”, my teen opined, assuming I would be clued into the common jargon of her generation. Looking at my confused expression, she hesitantly questioned if I knew what it stands for. I rummaged my brain.
Very Successful and Cute One?

Horrified, my daughter went on to educate me on VSCO (I’ve forgotten already).

It got me thinking. Did every generation before Gen z* have their own secret language? Maybe we did. But back then, way before the internet connected a billion odd people on this planet, terms caught on slowly and were limited to the inner social circle. The only ‘viral’ we knew was the one that kept doctors in business and us home from school and work.

A little bit of trawling on the internet and I was flooded with gen z slang. Here’s a short and hopefully helpful list so you’re clued in gen z. (if you’re as clueless as me).

Tea:

This is not the kind we brew at home. It’s another word for gossip. So if you have the ‘tea’ on someone, it means you’re ready to gossip and ‘spilling tea’ is gen z speech for “give me all the details”.

Lit:

Referring to something amazing. Way beyond awesome. The emoji equivalent is a flame

Salty

When someone is bitter, resentful or unhappy; they’re salty. “He’s salty because he got bad grades on his finals”.

Thirsty:

If you call a person thirsty, it means s/he is desperate for attention. It could refer to their clothing, behaviour or actions. Or all 3.

Low-key

Subtle, not obvious. As in “I low key ship this romantic pair”. Which brings us to the next one.

Shipping

I still haven’t got the hang on this one. I think it refers to enjoying the idea of 2 people who are in a romantic relationship or could be in one. Usually refers to romantic pairs on shows. Eg: I low key ship “Joey and Rachel from Friends” 

Stan:

A mega-fan of a celebrity. A super fan. Stans are not necessarily seen in a positive light. When you call someone a stan, it suggests that the person has abandoned all thinking and will defend their favorite celebrity against all criticism.

E-Girl or E-boy 

Egirls and Eboys have a specific front or persona on social media apps, especially TikTok. They’re often depicted as anime characters. Apparently there are distinctions to a TikTok egirl, and a VSCO egirl and so on. It’s a slippery term and seems to change with the context. 

Sksksksk

It’s used in texts to express laughter, exasperation. The millenials say “OMG”, Gen Z yell  “sksksksksk”

GOAT:

Serena Williams is the GOAT. No, that’s not a racist term. It means “Greatest Of All Time”. When I say ____is the GOAT, it would mean that person is THE BEST. A champion of champions. It’s the equivalent of bowing down deeply with respect.

While certainly not exhaustive, this list will give you a bit of a peep into your teen/pre-teen. But, chances are that by the time you were done reading, a new word has been added to their lexicon. I can’t even! (See what I did there?)

*(Gen Z is the generation born between the mid 1990’s and early 2010’s)

 

 

Featured Image Photo credit:  zhang kaiyv from Pexels

Bottom left Photo credit:  Kalu Johnson from Pexels

 

 

 

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Preeti Konaje

Preeti is an inquirer at heart, constantly seeking to question and challenge the status quo. She holds an M.A.Ed with expertise in pedagogy and instructional design. In the recent past, she has designed and facilitated teacher workshops on engaging pedagogical methods. She is particularly interested in issues related to gender biases in education.

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