Every year, the English language only becomes richer and more complex. This is a scientific fact, but it doesn’t always seem that way to everyone. New terms are added to the English vocabulary constantly, and with the help of social media and online spaces, these new terms spread across the world and gain popularity in an instant. But it is often the kids, teens, and young adults who are the first to pick up these new words.
As a parent or a grandparent, it can be difficult to figure out what those words and expressions actually mean. So we decided to make up a list of 10 actually interesting and useful youth slang terms from the past year so that we all understand the young generation better.
1. Sleeping on
This term can be kind of confusing. Originally, the phrase to sleep on something refers to the process of postponing a decision until the following day, as a way to gain more perspective on a situation. But the new sleeping on actually means that something is underrated or not appreciated as it should be. Don't sleep on this new slang word, it's actually quite useful! (see what we did there?)
2. Hits different
There are good movies, and there are movies that really resonate with you on an emotional level. There is a lot of tasty food, but your favorite childhood food has a special place in your heart. A new way to describe all those really special experiences and things is to say that they hit differently.
Every generation has its own word for a good song. In the early 2000s, we called it a banger, which stems from the 1960s word headbanger that describes the head-shaking moves characteristic of rock music. Before that, we called it a jam, which comes from the 1920s jazz jam sessions. In 2021, we didn't stray too far from the jazz age, as the modern descriptor of a good song is a bop, which is a shortening of the 1940s jazz style called bebop.
Have you noticed that people seem to use the word ghost as a verb these days? It has nothing to do with the paranormal, but it's arguably just as annoying as a poltergeist. When you ghost someone, you're not answering messages or calls from a certain person all of a sudden. Somewhat confusingly, the derivative noun of the verb is ghosting and not a ghost.
Our families are the people to whom we're related by blood. But you can call anyone - from a group of close friends to your social media followers - your fam.
6. High key
We have many words in English that are used for emphasis. You can like someone's outfit, or you can say that you really like it a lot! The word high key is just that, an emphatic word, but unlike many terms, it also has an opposing term - low key - that lets people know that your only kind of like someone's outfit.
When you finesse someone into doing something for you, it means that you convince or manipulate them into doing that, even though they initially weren't ready or eager to help you.
Luckily, dragging doesn't involve any physical actions, but it's still a very unpleasant experience. When you drag someone, you criticize or complain about them, often publicly. Another word for dragging is roasting.
9. CEO of
Did your grandkid just call you the CEO of pancakes or hugs? If you're wondering whether or not it's a good thing or a bad thing, you can be relieved - it's a compliment. Just like the Chief Executive Officer of a company, who is the best at his job, you are the best at doing pancakes and giving hugs, and you should be proud of yourself!
10. Glow up
Let's end this list with yet another feel-good word. We've all spent quarantine in our own way. Some people got a new hobby, while others started working out or investing more time in reading or being in touch with others. In a way, we all got a glow up!
Share these fun words and phrases with others!