A Guide to Cool Teen Slang

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Photo: Owen Franken

Teens are an enigma wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a Forever21 crop top that, like a Snapchat, disappears in ten seconds. And in the grand tradition of “basic” and “bae,” teens are forever enterprising when it comes to adopting the slang of other groups and using it to suit their own needs. To better communicate with the teens in our lives, we talked to Chloe, a 14-year-old Brooklynite, who explained what slang is in, and what’s out, in an attempt to help you parse what the youths are even saying to you:

The Cool (or in Chloe’s words, The Dope, The Awesome, The Lit, The Legit)

Gucci —  Say good-bye to remarking, “That’s cool” and say hello to “That’s gucci.” Urban Dictionary traces “gucci” back to ‘08, but it’s still a relatively niche term. It means “good” or “cool.”

As in: “I’ll be there in 10,” Jaden texted me.

“Gucci,” I replied.

Ode or OD In late ‘00s, OD (pronounced oh-dee) used to mean really or very, derived from the acronym for overdose. Now it retains the same meaning, but the spelling has changed to ode. Why? Spelling it as ode “makes the intention clear,” Chloe said.

As in: “Jessica, I love your Snapchat story! It’s ode gucci!”

Deadass — Seriously.

As in: “That’s deadass a great Vine.”

Smacked  Stoned, like really stoned.

GMT — Teens don’t fuck with no Greenwich Mean Time; teens don’t fuck with time zones, period. Instead, GMT stands for “Gets Me Tight,” which brings us to tight, which is New York–specific slang that means angry.

As in: “It gets me tight when by boyfriend doesn’t like my Instagram posts.”

Cyph Hey, parents! Watch out. If you hear your child talking about cyphing it means they are smoking pot. Hmm, that’s pretty cool slang. Might start using that one.

Nope out — When asked what nope out meant, Chloe said, “to dub someone’s shit.”

Uhh, what’s that?

“To curve someone,” Chloe responded. “Like if they asked you to cyph and you don’t like them, you’d ghost them or just be like, Nah I’m good.”

Curve — So, to curve essentially means to stealthily reject someone romantically. To dub means the same thing.

The Uncool (or in Chloe’s words, The Lame, The Yikes)

“The only people who use yolo and swag,” Chloe said, “are either going through a midlife crisis or are a 12-year-old boy on Instagram.” Avoid this slang at all costs — that is, if you want to be cool.

Other slang to watch out for: Bae. “It’s so outdated, so 2013,” added Chloe.

And what should you call your bae now that it’s officially out? “I’d probably just refer to them by name,” Chloe said. “Or use the word boyfriend.” So old-school!

Also, it’s only acceptable to use on fleek and turnt ironically, Chloe advised. Only when you’re making fun of people who use it seriously.

The Classics

So what commonplace slang is still acceptable to use? Chloe reports that basic, lit, and fam are all “on trend” and totally okay to use.

Hopefully, this guide will help you better communicate with the teens in your life. And don’t forget to incorporate teens’ most popular form of wordless communication: eye-rolling.