Culture July 5, 2018
Our lingo comes as naturally to us as breathing. If you’re a teenager, it might not even register that the words you say are completely foreign to your parents. If you’re not, then you’re in luck! This is the list for you.
Disclaimer: I’m a nineteen-year-old girl who grew up in California. I currently go to college in Ohio. There may be some cultural differences between the slang I use and yours if you don’t live in the West Coast or the Midwest.
Use this list as a checkpoint for your age. If you use most of these words, you’re probably a millennial. If you don’t, you’re probably older (or just out-of-touch). And if these words are outdated to you, you might be younger than nineteen, or you’re just ahead of the curve.
Here’s a list of modern slang words as used by a teenage girl in 2018.
Yes, it still means “Rest in Peace,” but you definitely wouldn’t be saying it about someone who just died. “RIP” is used in response to an unfortunate but mild problem, and “big RIP” is used in response to an unfortunate but slightly less mild problem.
Sometimes, people also say “RIP me.” We say this in person or over text. Occasionally, we pronounce the individual R, I, and P letters of “RIP”, but most people just say it how it’s spelled.
Example: “Big RIP I just spilled coffee all over my computer” or “RIP me I just spilled coffee all over my computer!”
This originally meant “throwback Thursday,” but it can really be said or used any day of the week. It’s a way to bring back something that’s happened in the past to the present.
In person, people only say the individualized letters T, B and T. They don’t try to pronounce it out like a word.
Example: “TBT to when Jessica spelled kayak wrong.”
The term “bb” doesn’t stand for anything. It’s basically a way to call your friend “baby.”
In person, people say “bb” like “bee-bee.”
Example: “Awww bb I’m sorry.”
“Shaking my head” as though you disapprove of someone or something. It’s usually uncapitalized, and it’s also sometimes said in person (almost always as a joke). Out loud, teens say the individual letters S, M and H.
Example: “You’re really on Team Cap? smh.”
“I love you,” “so much” and “I love you so much.” Pretty simple. These are casual phrases; if you really want to show someone you love them, you generally type all the words out.
In person, nobody says “sm.” But many people say “ily,” pronounced like “lily” without the first L. Sometimes people attempt to say “ilysm” by saying a fast “sum” after “ily.”
Example: “I hate that sm” or “Thank you for the present ilysm!”
“To be honest…” You’ll rarely find this phrase completely written out. It’s used almost like a confession. In person, people say the individual letters of T, B and H.
Example: “tbh I actually don’t really like her new haircut”
“Laugh out loud.” The relevance of this phrase depends on the person. Some friends of mine use “lol” all the time. I know some people text “lol” like they’re making fun of it. Sometimes these same people use “lel,” a slightly more ironic twist. I personally never use the term if I can help it. Whatever the preference, most people I know use it uncapitalized.
Sometimes, this is said in person, but it’s almost always as a joke. People both pronounce the individual letters and the sound “loll” to say the word out loud.
Example: “lol I think my brother and I applied for the same job.”
“Laughing my a** off.” Despite what the phrase stands for, normally we say this casually without real emphasis. People normally pronounce this “la-moh” in person, but sometimes they spell out the letters. If it’s said in person, it’s almost always used ironically or as a joke.
Example: “She accidentally went to David’s lmao.”
“Oh my god” or “oh my gosh.” Yes, “omg” is still in fashion. If you didn’t know what this abbreviation means, you must really be out of the loop. I normally use it uncapitalized, but for emphasis, you can go all caps.
Example: “omg I didn’t know that?”
“What the f***.” This is also still in fashion, but you might see the shorter version “tf” thrown around. I use “tf” more as a mild, confused reaction. “Wtf” is a little angrier.
Example: “”tf is a S’well bottle?”
A way to say “small” when describing something cute.
Example: “Look at that smol dog!”
“Mother f***ing”. Pretty self-explanatory.
Example: “Remember when my mf boss forgot to give me my assignment and then yelled at me for not doing it? Good times.”
A shortened version of “because.”
Example: “I did it bc I needed to graduate!”
“I know” and “I know, right?”
“Goddamn.” Or the PG version “gosh darn,” if you’d like.
Example: “It’s so gd annoying.”
Short for family! Often used to describe friends or another group of people.
Example: “My college fam is coming to visit me!”
Used to describe passive-aggressive people.
Example: “I mean, I GUESS I’LL FAIL OUT OF HIS CLASS but it’s fine. I’m salty.”
Wanting sex or wanting to have sex with someone else.
Example: “Camila is so thirsty for Shannon it’s unbelievable.”
To make a passive-aggressive insult at someone. Subtweet can be jokingly used in real life situations, but it comes from someone indirectly tweeting about another person without specifying who they are.
Example: “I threw shade about her missing my party” or “At least some people in this room don’t steal my work. Casual subtweet.”
Normally used in response to a subtweet or shade. It can be translated as “tag me in the tweet next time; it’s obvious this is about me.” Sometimes, it can be used jokingly, like when someone answers to a general complaint that applies to them, even though the complainer wasn’t thinking about anyone in particular.
“I hate LA drivers.”
“Fine, Jared, @ me next time.”
Used as a joke, and normally talking about something that isn’t a person. Basically means “that thing is beautiful” or “that thing is so funny.”
Example: (looking at your car after it’s been washed) “Oh, my gosh, who is she?” or (looking at a very horrifying, warped doll) “Awww, I love her.”
The gossip. “Spill the tea” is equivalent to “spill the beans.”
“I have to tell you what Steven has done.”
“YES! Give me the tea!”
I personally use “wild” as a blanket reaction to anything that’s going on, but it’s most often used as a synonym for “shocking.” If describing a person, it can also mean “hilarious” or “weird.”
“Wildin'” is the verb form of wild, and it normally means that someone’s doing a lot of shocking, weird or outrageous things.
Example: “YOU JUST MET JIMMY FALLON THAT’S SO WILD?!” or “She bought plane tickets for a day trip to Hawaii? She wildin’.”
Generally used to describe people that are or look powerful, put-together and beautiful.
Example: “Beyoncé is looking fierce.”
“The answer is seven, trust me.”
“Oh, yeah, you right, you right.”
The most casual way of saying “thank you.” I normally say this over text.
“Whoa it’s your birthday have a good one”
Known as someone’s significant other or main crush. Sometimes used ironically or as a joke, like when someone takes a picture of their food and captions it “bae.”
Example: “Can I have the room to myself tonight? bae is coming over.”
When somebody says something extremely insulting. It describes a person or a phrase.
Example: “I can’t believe she called out her family like that. That was savage.”
Being very politically and socially aware of the corruption or problems in different systems, governments and countries.
Example: “Reminder that Asian American women make less than white men but more than white women and much more than women of other cultural backgrounds in America. Stay woke.”
Can either describe people that are bigger than others or body parts that are bigger than usual. Normally describes someone’s booty.
People also use this jokingly, especially when talking about food.
Example: (looking at a very large and appealing cheeseburger) “She thicc.”
Used often to describe celebrities or people that are inspirational. Sometimes used jokingly to describe people who are relatable.
Example: “My mom is so petty she dropped me off three streets away from school so she wouldn’t have to say hi to Jessica’s mom. What an icon.”
To party hard. Normally, there’s alcohol involved. This can also be used casually or as a joke, like when a teacher brings cupcakes to class and someone says, “It’s getting lit.”
Keep in mind that “It’s lit” is more of a general statement than “I’m turnt.” Turnt almost always specifies alcohol or partying.
Example: “I got way too turnt last night.”
Short for relationship. To ship two people is to wish they were together. It’s normally meant romantically, but sometimes it can be used as a friendship if the word “friend” is specified.
“I ship Ted and Robin SO HARD.”
“I only ship them as friends.”
Synonym for “over-the-top.”
Example: “Did he really hire a fashion stylist to prepare for Coachella? He’s so extra.”
A popular picture that many different Internet-users modify to make a similar joke with slightly different variations. Can also be used to describe people that are weird or funny in the way they act.
Example: “I love the Facebook pics your cousin posts. She’s such a meme.”
To “upgrade” to a better version, especially in terms of appearance.
Usually, two pictures accompany this phrase: one of a person when they were younger, and how they look when they’re older.
Sometimes people use this jokingly. I’ve seen memes of different video games “glowing up” to a newer version.
Example: “She really glowed up after high school.”
Used to describe people that do something impressive or admirable (usually a celebrity). This translates as “Make her your wife, because she just did this.”
Example: “She literally just made me mac n cheese imma wife her” or “Look at how good she looks SHE’S MY WIFE”
Used when something emotionally overwhelming happens, like seeing a cute dog, or watching The Avengers: Infinity War. Can be translated as “My heart is bursting!”
Example: “Awww, look at that dog! MY HEART!”
A photo that is incredibly funny, emotional, or amazing.
Example: (shows a picture of a cat) “Sacred image.”
Short for “yikes.” This is a more casual version of the word.
“I just knocked over my food.”
Said in response to a compliment, normally about appearance or something else a person can’t control. Usually, this is a joke.
Example: “You look so good today!”
“Thanks, I try.”
Short for “jealous.” Usually said in a casual tone or as a compliment. This is getting a little out-dated, but I still hear it used today, albeit ironically.
Example: “You got Sam Smith tickets?! I’m jelly.”
Normally spoken about relationships or people. Someone or something a person admires.
Example: “Ariana and Pete are such relationship goals.”
A reaction to someone doing something shocking. It can be used seriously or jokingly depending on the context.
Example: “They got back together again. I’m SHOOK.”
Synonym for predictable or mainstream. It’s normally said about girls, and especially said about girls with Starbucks and leggings.
Example: “She got the Cotton Candy frapp. She’s so basic.”
Said after a large debate results in finding an answer.
Example: “CONFIRMED she’s going to Yale.”
When somebody says they like a popular thing, but they don’t know anything about it. Normally used jokingly.
Example: “You didn’t know my favorite food is cotton candy? You’re SUCH a fake fan.”
Used to describe a really good song. More modern synonym for “jam.”
Example: “The new Ariana Grande song is a bop.”
A way to say “I’m laughing so hard right now.”
More often than not, “I’m screaming” is also a way to describe a happy or outraged reaction to drama.
Example: “She really subtweeted me knowing I would see it. I’m screaming.” or “He tried to sit in his chair and completely missed. I was crying.”
Fake Instagram account. Usually, an Instagram that posts more private photos and stories that only a select few of their close friends can see.
Example: “On his finsta, he posted about blocking Jenny and ranted about her.”
Telling someone to rant about someone or something that upsets them or that they are very emotionally invested in. Sometimes accompanied with a second “go off!”
“Tony was CLEARLY IN THE RIGHT. I’m sorry; I’m just upset.”
“No, dude, go off!”
If you did, congrats! You’re either a teenager or a very in-the-loop adult. If not, hopefully this helped you master 2018 teenage girl lingo!
Let me know in the comments if I missed anything. And if there’s a very particular odd phrase you’re trying to understand that isn’t in this list, it’s probably a Vine. Check out these Vine compilation videos here and here for more modern slang references.
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