Learning “Teen Talk” – Dr. James Emery White Christian Blog
If there’s one teenage parenting principle hammered home by almost everyone, it’s the importance of communication. The challenge is that today, that means becoming bilingual.
Translation: learn “adolescent talk”.
Amy Iverson with Desert News said it well: “To be informed of [teen’s] language can help parents understand children’s communication and can lead to better, deeper conversations. It is also essential to be aware of certain slangs that could be warning signs of inappropriate behavior or bullying.
Drawing from their article, as well as similar articles from Bark and Family educationhere are a few lists for you, starting with a few harmless and fun terms to get you started (and if you’d like to see how they might be used in conversation, check out the sources below):
Bet – when you agree or approve of something
bussin’ – when something is really good
Cap/Cappin’ – to call something a lie/when someone is lying
Cheugy (pronounced CHOO-ghee) – when something is very uncool or outdated
Drip – when you really like someone’s style
Fit – short for the outfit
OFC – short for “of course”
Salty – to be bitter or grumpy
Sus / Sussy – when someone or something is a bit “off”
Tea – gossip or interesting news
YEET – an emphatic “yes” or throwing something
Then there are those words, phrases, or acronyms you want to watch out for because of what your teen may experience themselves or use about others:
Bae – means “before everyone else” and usually a term for a significant other
Cake – used for a big…well…behind
Cursed – a frightening or disturbing image
FINSTA – used for a fake Instagram account
Gas – can just be used to mean something cool, but can also refer to a pot
Discreet – can describe being interested in something or keeping something secret
Simp – used to describe someone (usually a man) desperate for other people’s approval or someone who lets women push them around (side note: I wrote an entire blog about it called “call me a simp”)
Craving – desperate for attention, often sexual attention
Finally, there are the words that should send warning flags. Using them can be the way to hide things or engage in secret behavior that they don’t want you to know about:
ASL – age/gender/location
Bih – an abbreviation for b****
Body count – the number of people they have slept with
Daddy – an older handsome guy who seems to have power and dominance
DTF – down to have sex
Hentai – Graphic Anime Porn
KMS/KYS – kill myself/suicide
Plug – a drug dealer or someone who can hook you up with drugs
Smash – having casual sex
THOT – stands for “that ho over there” and is the new alternative to bitch
And what about the words you’ve heard but still don’t know? A good resource for parents is Urban dictionary.
Get busy talking to your teenager.
James Emery White
Amy Iverson, “Feeling lost with Gen Z Slang? OK Boomer, here are the basics”, Desert NewsFebruary 16, 2022, read online.
“2022 Teen Slang Meanings Every Parent Should Know” BarkMarch 1, 2021, read online.
Robin Enan, “The Latest Teen Slang Trends of 2022”, Family educationJanuary 12, 2022, read online.
About the Author
James Emery White is the founder and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and a former assistant professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His last book After “I believe” is now available on Amazon or your favorite bookseller. To take advantage of a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, go to churchandculture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive, read the latest news on church and culture from around the world, and listen to the Church and Culture podcast. Follow Dr. White on Twitter, Facebook and instagram to @JamesEmeryWhite.