Decoding Gen Z Slang: What does anything even mean any more? | The Express Tribune (2024)

The following 24 words and phrases should help you navigate speak Gen Z lingo fluently

Decoding Gen Z Slang: What does anything even mean any more? | The Express Tribune (1)

Find out what some of the new age terms really mean! Image background via

Words have evolved, and ‘cap’ isn't just a hat anymore—it can mean someone's lying. Gen Z has created a unique lingo that often leaves others puzzled. As the internet and social media connect us all, these generational language gaps are more noticeable than ever. TikTok, in particular, baffles older generations. OK, boomers—time to learn Gen Z speak!

Hopefully, now you won’t be as befuddled when you hear your kids speak to one another or you!

Born between 1997 and 2012, Zoomers have brought their online slang into the workplace, leaving older colleagues scratching their heads. Let’s decode Gen Z slang or shall I say, let’s spill the tea so you don’t get roasted for being ‘too old’ the next you ask what something means.

  • Slay

Popularised by Beyoncé's hit single Formation, the word is used to describe someone's impressive appearance or accomplishment or can simply be used when someone looks good.

Example: ‘Girl I saw your post on Instagram! You slayed it’

  • To serve

Quite similar to slay, to serve means to look exceptionally good or stylish.

Example: ‘He’s really serving in that suit.’

  • Pick-me

Although this term can be applied to girls and boys, it is mostly used in reference to a girl who obsessively desires male attention and validation and often puts other girls down in the presence of men to make herself look and feel better. This girl often says she’s ‘not like other girls’ (implying she’s different and/or better than them.)

Example: ‘Did you see how she was acting at the party tonight? She’s such a pick-me’

  • Girls’ girl

You might have heard this one a lot! If you've ever been called a girls’ girl, there truly is no better compliment than it! The total opposite of a pick-me, this girl prioritises and supports her female friends (and women that aren’t necessarily her friends), often valuing solidarity, loyalty, and camaraderie among women.

Example: ‘She's always there for her friends, a true girls' girl.’

  • Its Giving

This phrase is used to describe something that emulates a particular style or era. For instance, wearing retro clothing might be giving a vintage vibe. The phrase can be used by itself to relay you really like someone’s outfit style/their work/literally anything

Example: ‘I love her outfit! It’s giving 90’s grunge.’

  • Rizz

Short for ‘charisma,’ rizz describes someone with a natural charm that attracts others, even if they aren’t the most conventionally attractive person in the room.

Example: ‘He walked in and had everyone laughing within minutes - serious rizz.’

  • Dupe

Refers to a more affordable alternative to a typically expensive product, often seen in cosmetics or fashion. It's the short form for ‘duplicate’.

Example: ‘This jacket from Zara is such a dupe for the one from Balenciaga.’

  • Pookie

A term of endearment for your best friend or someone you truly care about.

Example: ‘Hey Pookie, want to grab some coffee later?’

  • Ick

Refers to a specific behaviour or trait that instantly makes someone unattractive or unappealing romantically.

Example: ‘He started chewing with his mouth open, and I got the ick immediately.’

  • Simp

A simp is someone who is excessively attentive or submissive to another person without any reciprocation.

Example: ‘He's always doing her homework and never asks for anything in return - total simp.’

  • NPC

A non-playable character, someone who plays a minor role in your life.

Example: ‘I barely notice him, just an NPC in my daily routine.’

  • Moots

Short for mutuals, when you follow someone and they follow you back.

Example: ‘I just became moots on Instagram with my favourite influencer!’

  • GRWM

A video where you vlog your morning, night, or other routines.

Example: ‘Check out my GRWM for a night out!’

  • Delulu

A delusional fan who believes they'll end up with their favourite idol or celebrity.

Example: ‘She's so delulu, thinking she'll marry that K-pop star.’

  • Cheugy

The opposite of trendy.

Example: ‘She’s still wearing that bag in 2024? It’s so cheugy.’

  • Bussin

Something really good.

Example: ‘This pizza is absolutely bussin!’

  • Opps

Your opposition, enemies, or rivals.

Example: ‘Watch out for the opps trying to bring us down.’

  • Sus

Giving the impression of being questionable or dishonest.

Example: ‘That excuse sounds kinda sus to me.’

  • PFP

Short for profile picture.

Example: ‘Changed my PFP to something new today.’

  • OOMF

Short for ‘one of my followers,’ often used on social media but mostly on X (formerly Twitter)

Example: ‘OOMF just posted the funniest meme!’

  • Beige Flag

Something that's neither good nor bad but makes you pause for a moment.

Example: ‘He collects old bottle caps - definitely a beige flag.’

  • Mother

A term used to describe a woman who is highly respected or admired, often used in a complimentary manner.

Example: ‘Beyoncé performing at the Super Bowl? Absolute mother.’

  • Let him cook

Used when someone is attempting to flirt or needs space to strategize, adding excitement to the situation.

Example: ‘I’m not sure what exactly he’s doing but I think he’s trying to impress her, hold on, let him cook!’

Wrapping it up, getting the hang of Gen Z slang isn't just about being trendy—it's about connecting across generations in a fun, relatable way. Whether you're trying to keep up with your kids, colleagues, or the latest TikTok trends, understanding this lingo can make conversations more lively and inclusive.

So, dive in, it’ll help you connect with the younger generation in a fun and engaging way!


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Decoding Gen Z Slang: What does anything even mean any more?  | The Express Tribune (2024)
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