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30 of the Most Common Gen Z Slang Words, Decoded

This list hits different, fam.

gen z people sitting on a wall and texting
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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 in conversations—some of those slang words are even new words in the dictionary.

If you aren’t in that generation, though, Gen Z slang may be a whole new ballpark for you. No worries—we’ve put together an alphabetical list of some of the most common Gen Z slang terms and decoded them to keep you in the know.

Man with headphones and a basic taste in music
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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 & laughing
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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 phone
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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 bop
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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 Cafe
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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 cap
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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 beach
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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 breakfast
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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 stairs
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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 vacation
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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 bumping
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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 dark
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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 up
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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 Boards
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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.
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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 together
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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 picnic
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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 raised
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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 photo
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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 sidewalk
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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 headphones
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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 bedroom
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Meaning: An adjective that describes how great something is.

Example: “This song slaps!”

Young woman whispering secret into friend's ear
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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 evening
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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 Tour
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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 boy
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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 room
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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/dancing
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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 microphone
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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 hoop
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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 a former editor for Reader’s Digest who covered entertainment, trivia and history. When she’s not working 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.