Gen Z Slang: Understand What Younger Generations Are Saying

Understand Gen Z slang

You’re not old, you’re just uniformed

Each generation creates its own new phrases and go-to slang, which is basically a new language and, just like with languages, you’re going to want to understand what you’re saying before you casually strike up a conversation. 

Whether you’re a millennial, Gen X or a Boomer, if you want to be able to translate the lingo, this guide is for you. Here’s some of the most popular Gen Z slang from Gen Z (born roughly between 1997 and 2012) and Gen Alpha (born from 2013 onwards) you might hear these days. 


Definition: Used to describe something that’s exciting, fun, or excellent. 

No Cap

Definition: Means “no lie” or “for real.” It emphasizes that what someone is saying is truthful. 


Definition: Very bold. 

Let [Something] Cook

Definition: Give it space to do what needs to happen. 


Definition: To show off or boast about something. 


Definition: Short for charismatic. 

Vibe Check

Definition: Validating a feeling, atmosphere, or mood. This is a pass/fail evaluation.


Definition: Short for suspicious. Used when something or someone seems shady or untrustworthy. 


Definition: Means “okay” or “alright.” Can also be used to agree with someone. 


Definition: Surprised.

Big Yikes

Definition: An expression of major embarrassment or awkwardness. 


Definition: A turn-off. 


Definition: Someone who looks good or attractive. 


Definition: An emphatic way to end a statement, meaning there’s no room for debate. 


Definition: To be an overzealous or obsessed fan of a particular celebrity or influencer. 


Definition: A song you like or a catchy tune. 

It Hits Different

Definition: The impact of a feeling is deepened. 

Sneaky Link

Definition: Someone you might cheat with. 

[Someone] Ate

Definition: Gave a great performance.

Pull Up

Definition: Come to or arrive at. 


Definition: Cool or awesome.

Standing on Business

Definition: Serious. 

High Key

Definition: Obvious


Definition: A win.


Definition: A loss.


Definition: Sounds good.

Glow Up

Definition: A significant improvement in appearance, style, or confidence. 

I’m Dead

Definition: A reaction to something unexpected or wild. 

To Come Out of [Their] Grill

Definition: To speak. 


Definition: Clothing and accessories.


Definition: A condescending way to call something average. 


Definition: Enemy.

Ain’t It

Definition: Disapproval of something. 

How to use Gen Z Slang

Understanding and using this slang can be a fun way to connect with younger generations, but, unless you want to evoke some major cringe, it’s important to use them appropriately and in context. Remember:

Listen First:

Pay attention to the context of when and how Gen Z slang and Gen Alpha slang comes up. 

Start Slowly:

Begin incorporating a few terms into your conversations naturally. Don’t force it or try too hard.

Stay Current:

Slang evolves quickly, so listen for changes and new words and phrases that pop up.

Be Yourself:

Stick to the slang that feels comfortable and authentic to you. It’s more important to be genuine than to try too hard to fit in with your younger friends or family.

Say What? Why Gen Z slang matters

Slang isn’t just about words; it’s about cultural connections.

Using and understanding current slang can bridge generational gaps, foster better communication, and help you relate to younger Gen Z and Gen Alpha family members, friends, or coworkers. It’s a way to show that you’re progressive and in tune with the evolving language and culture, making interactions more engaging and meaningful.

Understanding and using this slang can be a fun way to connect with younger generations. If you’re looking for a way to communicate privately while staying on top of these trends, consider using Hushed for secure and anonymous messaging. It just hits different.