Merriam Webster added more than 530 new words to its dictionary in September, normalizing many words previously considered as slang.
Inspo, sesh, dad joke and vacay are just some of the words added. But Generation-Z seems to have its own secret dictionary of terms they use in everyday conversation.
It can be hard to communicate with Gen-Zers when it feels like they are so hard to relate to. Luckily, we have the definitions of some key terms you can use to surprise your grandchildren in conversation. It will mean a lot to them that you even took the time to try and understand their lives and their culture. Just don’t try to “flex” too hard.
• And I oop- : A phrase used when dropping something or being in shock about something. For example, if you drop your water bottle and it makes a loud noise, an appropriate reaction is to say “And I oop-”.
• Basic: An adjective used to describe something that is overrated or someone that is doing something considered overrated. Sentence: She’s going to get coffee at Starbucks because she’s basic.
• Cringe: This still has the same definition, but it is used as an adjective instead of a verb to describe something that makes you cringe. Sentence: That awkward hug was so cringe.
• Dead (or “I’m dead”): When something is so funny that you could die. Sentence: That YouTube video was so funny, I’m dead.
• Extra: Over-the-top. Sentence: I would wear the sparkly dress but I think it might be a little too extra.
• Finsta: A “fake” Instagram used to post rants, feelings, inside jokes and photos they would not post on their public Instagram account. Usually only followed by close friends. Sentence: I posted the video of us at the party on my finsta because my family follows my main account and I don’t want them to see it.
• Go off: Used to encourage someone to keep going when they are saying something that is correct. Sentence: Go off, sis.
• High-key: When you feel something at an extreme level. Sentence: I’m high-key stressed for my physics test today.
• Icy: When someone is being cold or harsh. Sentence: He failed his test yesterday so he’s been very icy today. Steer clear.
• Lit: An adjective used to describe something that is cool or fun. Also can describe someone who is intoxicated. Sentence: “I had too many shots at Bill’s party last night and got super lit. The party was lit.”
• Mood: Used when you relate to something. For example, when someone says they are going to get McDonald’s, an appropriate response is, “mood.”
• No Cap: Used to say that you’re serious about something. Sentence: That test was so hard, no cap.
• Oof: An expression used when you don’t know how to reply to an awkward situation. For example, if someone says they saw their ex-girlfriend at the mall, an appropriate response would be “oof.”
• Queen: Used to hype up a friend when she looks good, does something remarkable or says something you agree with. Sentence: Wow, queen, you look amazing.
• Sick: Cool or awesome. Sentence: Bobby’s new BMW is sick.
• Tea: Gossip or news. Sentence: Did you hear the tea about Miley and Liam’s breakup?
• VSCO Girl: Pronounced “vis-co.” A girl who wears big T-shirts, athletic shorts, scrunchies and Birkenstock sandals. She cares about the environment and exclusively drinks from Hydroflask water bottles and uses metal straws. She edits her photos using the VSCO app and is known for commenting “sksksk” to resemble her laughter. Sentence: I see you’re wearing a scrunchie; does that mean you’re a VSCO Girl now?
• Woke: To be socially and politically aware. Sentence: She went to the climate change march because she’s woke.
• Yeet: To throw something fast. Sentence: I’m going to yeet this water bottle into the trash.
*Can also be used as an exclamation. For example, if you get an A on a test, simply saying “yeet” is an appropriate response.
If the Gen-Z teen in your life says you’re using these phrases incorrectly, an appropriate response is, “oof.”