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How to Decode the 30 Most Common Gen Z Slang Words

This list hits different, fam.

gen z people sitting on a wall and textingLeoPatrizi/Getty Images

What’s Gen Z saying?

Have you ever heard a group of Gen Z-ers talking and thought, “Wait, what does that word even mean?” If so, don’t worry—you’re not alone. Just like the generations before them, Gen Z uses specific slang words when communicating (some of those slang words are now new words in the dictionary). If you aren’t in that generation, though, it can be tough to figure out what those words actually mean. You may know the origins of popular slang words, but Gen Z slang may be a whole new ballpark for you. No worries—we’ve decoded some of the most common Gen Z slang terms to keep you in the know.

Man with headphones and a basic taste in musicYevgeniia Vradii/Getty Images


Meaning: A word to describe someone who likes mainstream things and is considered unoriginal.

Example: “His taste in music is pretty basic.”

RELATED: Slang Words No One Outside Your State Will Understand

Friends walking to school together & laughingKlaus Vedfelt/Getty Images


Meaning: A term for agreement or approval.

Example: “Are we still on for Saturday night?” “Bet.”

Confused Caucasian girl laying on blanket texting on cell phoneInti St Clair/Getty Images

Big yikes

Meaning: Think of it as an emphasis on the word “yikes”—it’s something that’s really embarrassing, disturbing, or shocking.

Example: “My mom called me 30 times after I broke curfew—big yikes.”

gen z man dancing to a bopsvetikd/Getty Images


Meaning: A really good song or beat.

Example: “Listen to this new song—it’s a bop.”

Group Of Friends Chatting and Relaxing Together In CafeTom Werner/Getty Images


Meaning: To stop supporting something or someone by doing a number of things, including boycotting their work, products, or unfollowing on social media.

Example: “I can’t believe that company was caught dumping waste in the river—it’s canceled.”

RELATED: 29 Trendy Slang Words That Seriously Need to End

friends enjoying the best pizza ever, no capchee gin tan/Getty Images


Meaning: Something that’s considered false or an outright lie. It’s most commonly used in the phrase “no cap,” which means “no lie.”

Example: “That was the best pizza I’ve ever had—no cap.”

Smiling woman making fists on beachImage Source/Matt Hoover Photo/Getty Images

Catch these hands

Meaning: To start a fight. It’s typically used in a confrontational matter.

Example: “Get out of my way—you don’t want to catch these hands.”

Getting serious over breakfastmapodile/Getty Images


Meaning: To criticize or make fun of something. Many people equate dragging someone to roasting someone.

Example: “Why are you dragging me so hard today?”

RELATED: 15 Slang Words You Didn’t Know Were in the Dictionary

Portrait of stylish young man wearing red pullover and socks sitting on stairsWestend61/Getty Images


Meaning: A cool sense of style. It can refer to clothes or the way someone carries themselves.

Example: “Her drip is iconic.”

Multi-ethnic friends walking in city during vacationLuis Alvarez/Getty Images


Meaning: A shortened term for “family” typically used to describe one’s inner circle.

Example: “I’m hanging out with the fam today.”

Three teenage boys standing in library, fist bumpingkali9/Getty Images


Meaning: The act of getting what you want by tricking or manipulating someone.

Example: “I finessed my co-worker into covering my shifts next week.”

Woman texting on cell phone in the darkInti St Clair/Getty Images


Meaning: To stop communicating with someone out of the blue.

Example: “I was talking to this guy, but he ghosted me last week.”

RELATED: 10 Online Dating Terms You Need to Know Now

Portrait of a young man after a glow upCarlina Teteris/Getty Images

Glow up

Meaning: To go through a positive physical, mental, or spiritual change.

Example: “He had a major glow up over the summer.”

Teenage girls with Penny BoardsKaran Kapoor/Getty Images

High key

Meaning: The opposite of “low key;” commonly used when you want to emphasize something. Synonyms include “really” and “very.”

Example: “I high-key love those shoes.”

Mother and daughter eating pizza together at dining table and talking.Giselleflissak/Getty Images

Hits different

Meaning: Used to describe something that stands out from the rest or makes you feel different compared to other things.

Example: “My mom’s cooking just hits different.”

RELATED: Common British Slang You Didn’t Realize You Knew

Girl friends hanging out togetherNick David/Getty Images

I’m dead

Meaning: An expression to use when you find something hilarious.

Example: “Did you hear her crack that joke? I’m dead.”

Teenagers telling stories & having a picnicKlaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

Main character

Meaning: A phrase used to describe someone who seems to naturally have charismatic energy that draws people in. Someone described as a “main character” tends to be well-liked, confident, and knows they’re in control of their life. If a movie were to be made, they’d be the main character.

Example: “Debbie’s definitely the main character in this group.”

Student looking friend gesturing with arms raisedKlaus Vedfelt/Getty Images


Meaning: A more intense version of “period,” meant to add emphasis to the point being made.

Example: “This is the best song I’ve ever heard—periodt.”

Angry Young Girl in A Counseling session stock photoFatCamera/Getty Images


Meaning: Being mad or upset about something.

Example: “Why are you so pressed about what they said?”

RELATED: How Many of These 13 Old-School Slang Words Do You Know?

Two young women hugging on urban sidewalkEugenio Marongiu/Getty Images


Meaning: A shortened version of “sister” typically used as an affectionate greeting for a close friend.

Example: “Sis, it’s been too long! How are you?”

Happy boy and teenage girl with tablet, laptop and headphonesWestend61/Getty Images

Sending me

Meaning: A term to describe how funny you find something.

Example: “This movie is sending me—you have to see it.”

Young friends dancing and enjoying in bedroomKlaus Vedfelt/Getty Images


Meaning: An adjective that describes how great something is.

Example: “This song slaps!”

Young woman whispering secret into friend's earThanasis Zovoilis/Getty Images


Meaning: A term to describe someone you think is good-looking.

Example: “They’re looking like a snack today.”

RELATED: 10 Funny Vintage Slang Words People Should Start Using Again

Group of happy multi-ethnic friends celebrating a party in the eveningWestend61/Getty Images


Meaning: A term to describe something that looks really good, typically when it comes to style.

Example: “Your outfit is snatched!”

Taylor Swift reputation Stadium TourGareth Cattermole/TAS18/Getty Images


Meaning: Another word for someone who’s a super fan, and sometimes excessively enthusiastic of, a celebrity’s work. The term originated from Eminem’s song “Stan.”

Example: “She’s a Taylor Swift stan.”

suspicious teenage boyFrancesco Carta fotografo/Getty Images


Meaning: Short for “suspicious.” It typically means something is not as it may seem.

Example: “That story is sus.”

Couple having coffee together in living roomLuis Alvarez/Getty Images


Meaning: Another word for gossip.

Example: “Sit down—I have some tea to spill.”

RELATED: These 17 “Modern” Words Are Much Older Than You Thought

Friends having fun/dancingTim Robberts/Getty Images


Meaning: The mood or emotional state someone has. People typically radiate this and people associated that vibe with that specific person.

Example: “She has such a chill vibe.”

Woman singing into microphoneNisian Hughes/Getty Images


Meaning: An expression used when something completely blows you away. It would refer to the fact that, if you had a wig on, what happened would cause so much shock and admiration that it would fly off your head.

Example: “Did you see that concert?! Wig!”

Next, find out what does the word “literally” mean.

Young male basketball player throwing basketball into hoopBen Pipe Photography/Getty Images


Meaning: So this one technically has two meanings. One is a word that’s essentially an exclamation of approval or excitement. The other is to describe a powerful throw.

Example 1: “He yeeted the football 30 yards!”

Example 2: “Did you see that throw? Yeet!”

Now that you know what these common Gen Z slang words mean, expand your vocabulary further by checking out these funny words you probably didn’t know existed.

Kelly Kuehn
Kelly Kuehn is an associate editor for Reader’s Digest covering entertainment, trivia and history. When she’s not writing you can find her watching the latest and greatest movies, listening to a true crime podcast (or two), blasting ‘90s music and hiking with her dog, Ryker, throughout the Finger Lakes.