Huh?! A Guide to Kid Slang

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The words Mama, Mommy, Mom, and Bruh with a pink background.Huh?!

I don’t know about you, but I’m currently in the “Bruh” part of my motherhood journey . . .

First, I was Mama. Then Mommy. I was Mom for a hot minute. Now I’m Bruh to my seven- and eleven-year-old boys. Along with Bruh comes a whole new vernacular that makes me feel like my kids are speaking a foreign language — a hilarious one that leaves me confused, yet entertained.

Current kid slang: fit, sigma, yeet, idk, mid, sus...

I imagine this is how my parents felt when I reached my tweenhood in the early 1990s and began saying things like “da bomb,” “talk to the hand,” and using “NOT” to negate whatever sentiment came out of my mouth before it. I’m sure that was fun for them. NOT.

I feel your pain, Boomer parents.

It Takes a Village

A table depicting generation names and the years they were born.I crowd-sourced my Generation X and Millennial Facebook friends for examples of words and phrases that their Gen Alpha and Z children are using.

OMG. So many responses! So much shared experience! So many eye-roll emojis!

The takeaway: Nobody knows what the heck their kids are saying.

I’ve taken it upon myself to translate the kid slang of the early 2020s into plain English. It’s a self-serving project as I’d like to know how to communicate better with my kids in their native tongue. As they are aware, I’m not like a regular mom. I’m a cool mom.

Here is my gift to you, readers: A guide to kid slang. You’re welcome.

Glossary of Kid Slang Words and Phrases

A woman looking at her phone trying to decifer kid slang.

  • ATE: to do something really well; to dominate.

“I went to The Eras Tour this summer. Taylor ate!”

  • BADDIE: a female who is confident, independent, and can hold her own.

“Zendaya is such a baddie. Can’t wait to see her in Dune 2.”

  • BET: another way to say okay or definitely; short for “you bet.”

Kid A: “Meet me at Chick-fil-A tonight?”

Kid B: “Bet.”

  • BRUH: refers to a friend, acquaintance, or a mom. Often a term of endearment. Frequently used with exasperation when directed at moms.

Tween, to Friend: “Bruh, wanna play Roblox after school?”

Tween, to Mom, in a whiney voice: “Bruh, when’s dinner gonna be ready?! I’m starving!”

  • BUSSIN: very good, very cool, or very tasty.

“That Meta Moon PRIME* is bussin. Tastes like sour candy.”

*PRIME is a sugar-free, caffeine-free, electrolyte drink promoted by WWE wrestler Logan Paul. Kids are obsessed with it. It’s really, really gross.

  • CAP/NO CAP: lying / not lying.

“Wonka is the best movie. No cap.”

  • CRINGE: the feeling of second-hand embarrassment.

“My mom dropped me off at school wearing her pajamas. She’s so cringe, bruh.”

  • DEBRIEF: to discuss an event of the previous night with friends in an effort to analyze or emotionally process it.

“Meghan, we need to debrief. Harry tried to kiss me last night!”

  • DRIP: very cool or stylish; often used to describe fashion.

“Y’all like the drip of my new Jordans?!”

  • FANUM TAX: a term that refers to Fanum, a YouTube star, stealing food from his friends as a gag in his videos.

“Yo, Fanum Tax me a waffle fry. Dip it in Polynesian sauce first, though, bruh. And hand me a nugget, too.”

  • FIT: shortened from outfit.

“Your fit is fire today, Kimmy. Love that crop top.”

  • GAS: awesome or great.

“Did you see Post Malone’s new tattoo? That’s gas.”

  • GROUTFIT: an all-gray outfit.

“Ewww, did you see her groutfit?! So depressing.”

  • GYAT/GYATT: a curvaceous bottom or g**-damn.

16-year-old boy, yelling out car window to girl he finds attractive: “Gyat!!!”

Girl rolls eyes; is not impressed.

  • IDK: short for I Don’t Know.

Mom: “Hunny, do you have any homework this weekend?”

Tween: IDK.

  • L: short for Loss or Loser.

A kid wins against his friend at Fortnite. Makes an “L” sign with his fingers on his forehead and simply says “L” to his friend.

  • LET’S GOOOOO: a motivational phrase used to hype one another up.

“Dad’s taking us to Cook Out and SkyZone tonight. Let’s Gooooooo!”

  • LOWKEY: discretely, slightly, not a big deal.

“I am lowkey in love with Adam Sandler. Have you seen that old movie Billy Madison? My grandma has it on DVD. Cringe.”

  • MID: used to describe something not good or not bad but in the middle.

Kid A: “How’d you do on your math exam?”

Kid B: “Mid.”

  • OHIO: a synonym for strange, weird, sketchy. (Sorry, Ohioans . . .)

“That new kid in class is so Ohio.”

  • ONG/ON GOD: a phrase used to say one’s telling the truth or being honest.

“I hit a curb and flipped off my hoverboard but didn’t get hurt. On God.”

  • PREPPY: girls who exude a specific kind of aesthetic: bright colors, Lily Pulitzer, hair ribbons, Stanley tumblers. Can be a compliment or an insult. Learn how it’s different from the preppy of the 90s here.

“OMG! You got the Valentines Stanley from Target?! You’re so preppy.”

  • RIZZ: short for charisma. Read more here.

“I love Timothée Chalamet so much. Did you see him on SNL? He’s got mad rizz.”

  • ROASTED: to insult or tease in a playful manner.

Kid A: “Remember when Donald pooped his pants in kindergarten?! That’s one of my core memories.”

Kid B: “Boom. Roasted!”

Donald: *looks annoyed*

  • SAY LESS: means “I understand,” or “I get it.”

Mother: “Your bedroom is a disaster. You need to clean it up before you go out with your friends.”

Kid: “Say less.”

  • SIGMA: describes a self-reliant, popular, successful male who doesn’t care what other people think of him. Is one step higher than an Alpha male.

Boy A: “Who’s the most Sigma male you can think of?”

Boy B: “Maybe like The Rock? Or Elon Musk? IDK.”

  • SKIBIDI: a nonsense word that little boys use incessantly (at least in my house). Originates from the viral YouTube sensation Skibidi Toilet. More popular among Gen Alpha kids.

Actual quote from my 7-year-old: “Skibidi Toilet Ohio Sigma. Sus sus sus.”

  • SLAPS: exceptionally good.

“Have you tried the new garlic stuffed crust at Papa Johns? That pizza slaps.”

  • SLAY: to do something really well.

Girl A: “I got a 96 on my Spanish exam!”

Girl B: “Slay, Queen!”

  • STAN: an overzealous fan of someone or something. Is a combination of stalker and fan. Popularized by the Eminem song “Stan”.

“I completely stan Travis Kelce. He’s so hot. Taylor is sooooo lucky! I hope they get married and have 10 cute babies.”

  • SUS: short for suspicious or suspect.

Kid A: “My dad told me he was going to play pickleball at Crushyard, but then I saw his car at my neighbor’s house. Ya know, that lady with the blonde hair?”

Kid B: “Gyatt! Kinda sus, bruh.”

  • TEA: gossip shared between friends.

“I can’t believe I missed Hailey’s party the other night! What’s the tea?!”

  • TOUCH GRASS: a phrase used to bring someone back to the real world if they’ve been inside gaming or online too much.

“Dude, you’re so obsessed with that YouTube channel. You need to touch grass.”

  • TURN UP THE PUMP: means turn up the music.

“Ohhhh, that’s Dua Lipa’s new song. Turn Up the Pump, Mom!”

  • UNDERSTOOD THE ASSIGNMENT: a phrase used to describe someone who gives 100% effort.

Girls, at a school dance: “Dang, Emma looks good! Love her dress and nails. Sis understood the assignment.”

  • UWU: cuteness overload. When spoken (or cooed), sounds like “oooooowwwooooo.”

“Omg, that puppy is so cute! He looks like Eevee from Pokémon. Uwu!!!”

  • YEET: to throw something hard and fast.

“Did you see Ms. Green yeet that can of Liquid Death into the trash? She thought it was beer! It’s just mountain water, bruh. I was only trying to murder my thirst.”

A woman exasperated with her hands clenching her hair.

Additional Resources for Kid Slang

This is not an exhaustive list. Much like your children, slang evolves and changes all the time. Check out the resources below for your kid slang deciphering needs.

Please comment below with your kids’ favorite slang and their translations. Us parents need all the help we can get!

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Jenna Arsenault
Jenna is a Maine native who moved to Charleston in 2006, moved away for a while, then moved back again in 2018. She just couldn’t stay away from this city that feels like home! She’d choose palm trees over pine trees any day of the week. Jenna and her husband of 12 years have two rambunctious sons, ages 10 & 6, and live in Mount Pleasant. A social worker and registered nurse by trade, she is passionate about maternal mental health and is currently a postpartum doula specializing in perinatal mood disorders (www.jennadoula.com). Jenna loves to read, kayak, paint in watercolor, and travel with her family. Visit her personal blog on all things motherhood at www.snarkmom.com.

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