Do you ever feel like you don’t understand the language your teens are speaking? CPYU Intern Théodora Dillman has begun compiling a dictionary of teen slang words and phrases to help. The list is by no means exhaustive, but it will give you some insight into some of the vocab that your children and teens are most likely familiar with. Because language and slang are continually evolving, we’ll do our best to update this list and add more in the future.

Download a printable handout of this dictionary by clicking here.

Teen Slang Dictionary

Dope – Great, cool, or awesome. “Woah, that’s a dope new sweatshirt.”

Lit – Amazing, exciting, or cool. “You have to give a listen to this song, it’s lit.”

Fire/Straight fire – Crazy in a good way, trendy, “on point,” hot (not referring to temperature; and usually void of sexual connotation), or better than all the rest. “Have you tried this taco dip? It’s straight fire!”

No cap – a means of saying “no lie,” “no joke,” or “for real.” If someone is “capping” they’re lying. “No cap, I almost got hit by the bus on the way to school today.”

Extra – an adjective to describe flamboyance, being over the top, too much, or excessive. “The way your outfit matches your backpack, water bottle, phone case, lunch box, earrings, and even your hair tie is so extra.”

Flex – a means of saying “to show off.” “Wow, look, Connor’s flexing his new shoes today.”

Lowkey – a way of describing something that may be a mild feeling or desire, or used to proceed something that someone wishes to keep on the “downlow.” “Most of this dinner is great, but I lowkey hate this broccoli, don’t tell mom.”

Highkey – the converse of “lowkey”: used to describe a strong desire, or something that is deserving of emphasis. “I highkey can’t wait for class to be over so I can get some lunch.”

Shook – shocked, surprised, taken aback, shaken up, emotionally affected. “The end of that movie left me so shook, I didn’t see it coming”

Woke – to be “in the know,” aware of social issues/trends, the opposite of ignorant. “He’s really in touch with what’s going on, he’s definitely a woke teacher.”

Sus – short for “suspicious” or “suspect.” “See the kid with the dark hoodie standing away from everyone, that looks a little sus.”

GOAT – “Greatest of All Time”. “She is my favorite teacher! She’s the all time GOAT.”

Ghosting/Ghosted – to cut off communication or interaction with someone, generally over social media or text. “I haven’t heard at all from her in days. . . she’s ghosted me.”

Tea/spill the tea – gossip or dramatic stories and the sharing of them. A way of saying “spill the beans.” “You will never believe what I just heard! I have got the TEA!”

Noob – novice, “newbie,” someone who is new at something or who does not know what they are doing. “Yeah, he has no idea how to use it, he’s a total noob.”

Karen – demeaning term used to refer to a white middle-aged woman who acts in an unreasonable, rude, petty and or entitled manner. “Just let it go, it’s not worth it. Don’t be such a Karen.”

Throw Shade – to give someone a nasty or disapproving look, expressing contempt or disgust; or, to make a rude or sneering comment about someone; or to insult someone. “Woah, did you see the look she gave you? She threw some shade your way!”

Salty – to be bitter or disgruntled and upset about something. “I’m still salty I didn’t get to play in the league playoff game this past week.”

Bet – a means of expressing approval or affirmation. Like saying “okay,” “sure,” “I’m down,” or “cool.” “‘You wanna come over tonight?’ ‘Yeah, sure!’ ‘Bet.’”

Chill – as an adjective, used to describe someone who is laid back or easy going. Can be used as a verb to mean “to hang out” or can be used in the imperative to tell someone to calm down. “Wow, dude, your parents are so chill.”

Slaps – an adjective to describe something that is really good, amazing, or excellent. “That new dip mom made last week absolutely slaps!”

Slim thick/thicc – “Slim thick” most generally refers to a type of female body-shape: flat stomach, round rear, and full thighs. “Thicc” is more widely applicable, usually describing a body part or thing that is larger than normal. Someone could be “thicc” meaning they have a large rear, or a big hamburger can be “thicc.” Both terms generally have positive connotations, but can be used offensively. “Duuude, are you gonna eat all of that, it’s a thicc burger…”

Basic – refers to a person who is seen as unoriginal, who prefers mainstream trends and fashions. “I’m not trying to be basic but I really do love pumpkin spice lattes.”

E-boy/E-girl – a term to describe someone who subscribes to the goth or emo aesthetic and fashion, usually found wearing dark makeup and clothes, and increasingly described as interested in anime and gaming.

Glow up – word play on “grow up.” Generally refers to outward appearance, and “becoming more attractive than before.” Has little to nothing to do with “growing up” in the sense that the term can refer to gaining maturity. “Have you seen her lately? She definitely went through a glow up over the summer.”

Mood – used to express something that is relatable, could be referring to a feeling, experience, or thing. It is another way to say “same,” or “I feel you,” or “wow, that’s relatable.” “That guy sitting over there by himself, looking all tired and fed up, is such a mood.”



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