The Teen Slang Dictionary for Parents

Teens in each generation develop a language of their own based on what is going on in teen culture. And the introduction of social media and digital communication means teen slang is evolving faster than ever.

Teen slang has come a long way from the days of "420" and "radical dude." And it can be difficult for parents to stay up to date on the latest teen slang words.

From social media acronyms to text message short-hand, most teens are able to hold secret conversations because parents have no idea what they're talking about.

It's important to educate yourself about common teen slang so you can be aware of the conversations your teen is having both online and in-person.

Teen slang
Verywell / Cindy Chung

General Slang

Most teen slang words are harmless. Teens are just using these words to sound cool or to fit in with their peers. Here are some common teen slang words you might hear: 

  • Awks - Awkward
  • Cancel - A rejection of a person, place or thing
  • Cheddar - Money
  • Dope - Cool or awesome
  • GOAT - Greatest of all time
  • Gucci - Good or cool
  • Hundo P - 100 percent certain
  • Lit - Amazing
  • OMG - An abbreviation for "oh my gosh" or "oh my God!"
  • Rides - Sneakers or shoes
  • Salty - Bitter
  • Sic - Something that is cool
  • Skurt - Go away
  • Snatched - Looks good
  • Straight Fire - Hot or trendy
  • TBH - To be honest
  • Thirsty - Trying to get attention
  • V - very
  • YOLO - You only live once

Slang That Describes People or Relationships

Relationships are an important aspect of adolescence. Teens get to know more about who they are based on many of their interactions with one another.

They often create words to describe their friendships and their romantic relationships. So you might hear your teen use these slang words when talking about other people:

  • Bae - "Before anyone else" and is often used to describe a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • BF/GF - Boyfriend or girlfriend
  • BFF - Best friends forever
  • Bruh - Same as "bro"
  • Creeper - Someone who is socially awkward or tends to have stalker tendencies
  • Curve - Romantic rejection
  • Emo - Emotional or a drama queen
  • Fly - Boys tend to refer to girls they think are good looking as "fly"
  • Hater or h8er - Someone who hates everything, even their friends
  • n00b - A person who doesn't want to learn
  • Ship - Short for 'relationship'
  • Squad - A group of girls that hang out together regularly
  • Sus - Suspect, not to be trusted
  • Tight - In a close relationship
  • Wanksta - A person trying to act tough, but who isn't really pulling it off

Compound Slang

Teens often create shortcuts by combining two words together. To understand what they mean, you need to know the definition of each word. Here are some examples of compound teen slang:

  • Chillaxin - Chillin' and relaxing.
  • Crashy - Crazy and trashy 
  • Hangry - Hungry and angry
  • Requestion - Request and a question
  • Tope - Tight and dope

Slang You Should Pay Closer Attention To

Bullying and cyberbullying aren't something you should take lightly in today's world. Be on the lookout for these slang words which could indicate your teen is bullying someone or that she's become a target:

  • Bye Felicia - A disrespectful way to dismiss someone who is unimportant
  • CD9 - Code 9, parents are here
  • POS - Parents over shoulder (often used when texting to warn friends that mom or dad is reading)
  • Throw Shade - Give someone a dirty look
  • Tool - Refers to someone who is stupid or a geek

Slang You Should Definitely Watch For

Social media, text messaging, and online dating can lead to sexual conversations over the computer. And if you're not sure what to look out for, you might not even notice what your teen is saying right under your nose.

Drug conversations are also something you should be on the lookout for. Any talk of drinking or abusing drugs should be addressed right away. Here are some teen slang words that may indicate your teen is involved with or interested in drugs, alcohol or sexual behavior.​

  • CU46 - See you for sex
  • GNOC - Get naked on camera
  • Molly - MDMA, a dangerous party drug
  • NIFOC - Naked in front of the computer
  • Netflix and Chill - Used as a front for inviting someone over to make out (or maybe more)
  • Smash - Casual sex
  • Turnt Up - To be high or drunk
  • Zip Ghost - Someone who is high on marijuana and having a hard time functioning
  • Dexing - Abusing cough syrup
  • Crunk - Getting high and drunk at the same time
  • X - Ecstasy
  • 53X - Sex
  • WTTP - Want to trade photos?
  • LMIRL - Let's meet in real life

Slang Resources

Teen slang changes continuously. If you aren't sure what a slang term means, the website Urban Dictionary can help. It is dedicated to keeping up with today's slang and is a resource that parents can use (be warned that it is user submitted content and may be crude).

Slang Apps

There are also phone apps that can help you translate teen slang. The Acronyms and Abbreviations Dictionary App and the Chat Slang Dictionary App are just a few examples of mobile apps that can help you decode your teen's secret language.

How to Monitor Your Teen Safely

Teenagers need to be able to hold some private conversations with their friends. And clearly, you can't monitor what your teen is talking about all the time.

But that doesn't mean you can't keep an eye on your teen's social media conversations or that you shouldn't pay attention when she's chatting with her pals.

As long as she lives under your roof, it's important to be aware of what she's up to you. If you see or hear conversations that are concerning to you, you may need to take action.

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Article Sources
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