When we asked our readers about your favorite Gen Z slang words, the second most popular answer was low-key. But that’s only because the first most popular answer was what the heck are you talking about?

So I reached out to my teens and their friends to put together an authentic guide to Gen Z slang words. Because to be honest, when they look at the Gen Z slang guides that you find around the web, they are like, “Who even wrote these? No one says that!” Or “WHAT? That’s low-key a Gen Alpha term.”

They helped me put together what we hope is an authentic glossary of Gen Z slang at this particular moment in time. In fact, a lot of the examples of sentences come from their own texts with friends around the country.

There are some caveats: This guide to Gen Z words was compiled by a group of teens 14-19, across the gender spectrum, with diverse backgrounds. However, they are all currently living in and around the New York City area, so the teens where you live may use phrases a little differently, or have different opinions about what a term means. Which is great! One of the cool things about slang, especially in the US, is that it can be fluid, it can be regional, and it may even change from month to month if not week to week

In other words, a fire Gen Z word can become mid, just like that.

Or wait…do we still say mid? Let’s find out….

Related: The coolest birthday gifts for teens this year

The Ultimate Guide to Gen Z Slang

Understanding Gen Z Slang: A glossary compiled by actual teens for coolmompicks.com

Ate

Did something well.
Wait, the drummer kind of ate at the show last night

Note from the teens: If you really eat, you might say “She ate and left no crumbs” or “she devoured.”

Basic

Mainstream or unoriginal.
Her outfit is so basic but she thinks she slays.

Brainrot

From the expression for fogginess after too much screentime, now describes nonsensical, “chronically online” gen alpha vocabulary.
You don’t have to include “TikTok Rizz Party” in this list of Gen Z slang terms, that’s just brainrot.

What does buss mean? A guide to the best of Gen Z slang for coolmompicks.com

Buss

Really good, short for bussin’.
I’m sad they got rid of the charged lemonade at Panera, it was buss!

Note from the teens: More people say buss now. Bussin’ is kind of old.

Cheugy

A way to describe something cringe done by millennials
When I see a shirt that says “It’s wine-o’clock somewhere!” it’s totally cheugy.

Note from the parent: I do not make the Gen Z slang or the sentences, forgive me millennials!

Chat, am I cooked?

Asking someone if things are bad or over for you; comes from streamer language, when someone asks their viewers (“the chat”) for feedback.
Tell me honestly, chat, am I cooked?

-Core

An aesthetic, or reminiscent of something else
I wanted to get that shirt but NGL it was kinda Shien-core. 

Note from the teens: “Sometimes I’ll send a video to my sister and say, “this is so you-core!”

Cringe

An adjective meaning cringe-y or embarrassing.
This TikTok trend of people lip-synching to little kid voices is so cringe. 

Dank Memes

Cool, funny memes
Hey, want to check out my folder of dank memes?

Note from the teens: “No one says this anymore. Maybe Millenials in like 2016.”

Drip / Dripped Out

Noun/ Adjective indicating your style is cool
Okay, why are the men at the Oscars never dripped out?

Down Bad

Really into someone romantically
My friend is so down bad for this girl, he’s always talking about her on his close friends.

Note from the parent: “Close friends” refers to a private Instagram list of close friends, who are the only ones to receive certain stories.

Fanum tax

Stealing someone’s food (or other stuff) but in a friendly way
I’m gonna’ fanum tax those Cane’s fries

Note from the teens: This originated from a Twitch streamer named Fanum.

Fire

Adjective meaning cool, alternative to lit / litty
Gov Ball has a fire lineup this year.

What does skibidi toilet mean? The best of Gen Z slang for cool mom picks

Flex

To brag
Not to flex guys, but Michelle Obama liked my post.

Note from the teens: Michelle Obama has never liked any of our posts.

Glow-up

Mentally or physically becoming better and more attractive.
You’ve had such a glow-up from last year!

Note from the teens: “This is not just about beauty on the outside, but brands always use it like that.”

Goes hard

Something that’s really good.
I don’t even care…Hamilton goes hard. 

Gyatt

A butt, but a term mostly used ironically — sometimes not even to talk about someone’s butt.
Gyatt level 10!

Note from the teens: Gyatt definitely has two t’s in it.
Note from the parent: A level 10 gyatt is not an insult, it’s good.

Hits Different

Feels different
Wow, Challengers hits different when you’re bi.

IDGAF

A texting acronym pronounced eye-dee-gaff, which stands for “I don’t give a f*ck”
I have no money left but IDGAF I am getting bubble tea. 

Note from the teens: Some people sound out the letters like the way people will say “loll” for LOL, but not everyone does it. We also use it to describe someone who’s really nonchalant, like “he’s winning the IDGAF war.”

What does "it's giving" mean? A guide to the best of Gen Z slang for coolmompicks.com

It’s giving…

Resembling
It’s giving baddie vibes

Leave on read

To not respond to a text or DM after it’s been received and a “read” notice shows up under it to the sender.
He left me on read, should I text again or wait?

Note from the parent: A lot of people have assumed the expression is “leave on red,” and by a lot of people, I mean this is what I used to think.

Legit

Legitimately, but used like “for real” or “honestly”
Please don’t send me memes about feet, l am legit so uncomfortable

Let me cook

Asking for uninterrupted time to think through an idea, with the implication that it will be worth the wait.
Wait, don’t interrupt…let me cook here.

Lewks

Another term for looks
She’s throwing lewks in every selfie

Note from the teens: “This is a millennial term. No one says this.”

Litty

A new way of saying “lit,” or exciting; alternative to “fire.”
This party is gonna’ be so litty!

Note from the teens: It’s a cringe term, so we basically use it ironically.

Low-key / High-key

Low-key: On the down-low, surprisingly so, “for real,” or “hear me out”
High-key: Very much so, or “for real for real.”
She just got her license, like I’m low-key afraid to be in the car with her.

Note from the teens: Sometimes people just say” low-key” on its own as a way to say “yeah” or “agree.”

In Ohio

A way of indicating something is not true, like an evolution of “Not!”
“Most normal…in Ohio”

Note from the teens: Because of the randomness of “Ohio,” people have started using it sort of like “opposite day.”
Note from the parent: This may be regional, since Ohio is definitely not random to people in Ohio.
Response from the teens: Fine, it may be regional. In 49 states. And Puerto Rico.

Mew

The act of putting your tongue on the roof of your mouth and sucking in your cheeks to give yourself a sharper jawline, especially in photos.
He’s mewing so hard right now.

What does mid mean? A guide to the best of Gen Z slang for cool mom picks

Mid

Basic, meh.
Can I have your apple? School lunch was kind of mid today and I’m starving.

No Cap

No lie, for real
Wait, no cap, I think I just saw Paul Rudd buying donuts.

Note from the teens: The phrase is getting kind of old, we’re more likely to just say “for real.”

On God

I’m serious; I swear
On God, I only studied the day before and aced the bio test.

Opp

Short for opposition, or your enemy.
After last night, they’re my opp for life. 

Note from the teens: We might use it ironically, like a friendly rival or someone you love who’s doing better than you in something.

Pull

Verb meaning to attract someone or score a relationship
How come the plot of every Adam Sandler movie is him pulling beautiful women?  

Rizz / Rizzing

Flirtatious, derived from “charisma.”
Why can’t Leo rizz up someone his own age?

Skibidi

A reference to the surreal YouTube kids show, Skibidi Toilet. It’s a random reference, meaning “bad” or maybe meaning nothing at all.
What the skibidi is going on here!?

Note from the teens: It’s just us totally making fun of Gen Alpha. Don’t even try to use it because it’s just a nonsense word.

Slayed

Did something well, an alternative to “ate.”
I slayed that APUSH quiz! 

Note from the parent: APUSH (pronounced Ay-Push) is an acronym for the AP U.S. History course and while not technically essential to a Gen Z slang guide, it is helpful if you’ve got kids in high school.

Sus / Sussy

Suspicious or kind of off
I signed up for a bunch of sussy websites and now I think my phone has a virus. 

What does touch grass mean? A guide to the best of Gen Z slang | cool mom picks

Touch Grass

A suggestion to get offline, put down technology, and go outside.
You’re legit arguing with randos on Reddit. You need to touch grass

Note from the Teens: Fun fact: Every year at ComicCon, someone walks around holding a container of actual grass with a note on it that says “touch grass.”

Tough / Tuff

An adjective meaning good
Your outfit is tough!

Note from the teens: Like the way Gen X said “bad” meaning good, Gen Z slang is doing that with “tough.”

W/L

Good (winning) or bad (losing)
Pete Davidson high-key has W rizz, 

Yeet

To throw, or an exclamation you say when someone is throwing something.
Yeet that plastic bag, we can just carry everything.

Note from the teens: “Please don’t say this. It is so outdated and cringe, when people say “yeet’ I physically start weeping.”

 

Huge thanks to all the hilarious and helpful teens who helped me compile this list. 
Did we miss your favorites? Do you use these terms differently? Let us know in the comments below.