Do some of the slang words your Gen Z grandkids come out with leave you stumped? Nothing can make you feel quite as out of touch than listening to younger generations speak and have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.
From Baby Boomers to Millennials, every generational cohort has its own unique slang, and Gen Z – anyone born after 1996 – is no different.
To ease generational communication over the holiday period, we’ve put together a list of 15 common Gen Z slang words and phrases to keep you in the know!
Similar to ‘bro’, fam is derived from the word family and is a term used to describe your closest of friends (and sometimes your literal family in an extra complimentary way).
A combination of ‘stalker’ and ‘fan’, Stan refers to an obsessive fan. Derived from the 2000 song Stan by rapper Eminem, the word can be used for anyone who’s a big fangirl or fanboy of pretty much anything, but typically for musicians and celebrities.
- Boujee or bougie
A term that used to describe someone who is fancy and likes expensive things – usually in reference to a person’s style of dress. It’s an abbreviation of the French bourgeois and is commonly used in hip hop and rap pop culture.
- Glow Up
Glow up is used to describe a makeover or transformation. It’s commonly used in YouTube beauty video titles for example, and more recently in beauty industry marketing.
- W or L
W is short for Win and L is short for Loss and probably came into use from text messaging. For example, a Gen Z’er might say: “Take the W”, “It’s a W” or “Take the L”.
Tea means gossip and comes from the idea of sitting back over a cuppa to do exactly that. Usually used in phrases such as “Spill the tea!”, “What’s the tea?”, or “Sip tea”.
- Snack (or snacc)
A term used to describe someone you find attractive “a snack” or a “tasty snack”.
Derived from drag culture, wig is an exclamation used to express excited admiration for something (i.e., something so good it blew your wig off). For example, “OMG, wig!”
Another word for car made popular by hip hop and rap artists. For example, “Nice whip!” or “He’s got a brand-new whip.”
Cringe is used when describing someone extremely embarrassing or awkward. I.e. “That guy is trying way too hard, he’s so cringe”.
Like a full-stop, “period” is used to emphasise facts or to agree with someone else’s statement. For example, “This song is so iconic. Period.”
- No cap
A term that originated in reference to decorative teeth caps of which there are two types – permanent and pull-outs (or caps) – popular in hip hop and rap culture. No cap means being real and authentic.
Another word derived from rap pop culture, a simp is someone who goes over the top for the person they like. Originating as a slang insult for men who are submissive and overly attentive to women in the hope of winning sexual attention, it has evolved to be used in a more general sense of liking someone a lot (like ‘stan’).
Ghosting means to suddenly start ignoring someone or ‘disappearing.’ It can be used when someone stops communicating – usually in a dating or romantic situation, but not always – or quietly leaves a party or function (to ‘ghost’).
A popular term used on TikTok (and used more often in NSW than other states of Australia), cheugy simply means the opposite of trendy.