As an advertising copywriter, I've had to learn a lot of new languages. Not German or Spanish or Japanese or French (an actual language, which after eleven years of classes, I should speak beaucoup better than I do, mon dieu). But, more like CFO or IT Guy or Lawyer or Airline Executive. Much of the client work that my partners and I take on is business-to-business high tech. Our target audience has to believe in the solutions we're selling.
And speaking their language is an important part of building that trust.
Speaking Teen, on the other hand, doesn't seem to work like that. In the trust department, I think I actually lose ground every time I try to use the vernacular shared by my daughter and her peers. Maybe it's because I'm so old. Or maybe because what comes out of my mouth is so wrong. Then again, it could be a lethal combination of both. Old and wrong. There are nuances I just don't get.
By the way, "You don't get it," appears to mean the same thing in my language and in my daughter's. It's a sort of cross-generational Esperanto.
I certainly don't pretend to be fluent in this younger native's tongue. Words are words, but context is everything. And usage and definition don't always go hand in hand. But, whether you can converse or not, having a dictionary is helpful when you're trying to translate. So here, in mostly-alphabetical order, are some of the latest additions to the language of Teen. Good luck.
Not to worry. You won't be tested. And the revolution won't be televised either (but you can probably follow it on Snapchat).
This is an acronym for "as f*ck." Apparently that's a good thing, because it's used to add emphasis. So, someone's not just a "babe," they're a "babe af."
This is added to the end of any word to approximate adding "very" to the beginning of it. E.g., "I'm hungry boots." "I'm tired boots." "I'm broke boots."
Another word for money. Many teens work after school to "make that cheddar." If they're "broke boots," they have "no cheddar."
Well, does your teenager ever do laundry? Neither does mine. This means "hiding something from your parents."
A person who is trying too hard. (Like me, right now, reminding my daughter that her AP Bio test is Tuesday.)
Your OTP is your "one true pairing," the celebrity couple for whom you wish an impossibly perfect relationship.
Something particularly messy. As in, "My daughter's room is so ratchet right now." (Now and always.)
This means buddy and, technically, it's short for "sistuh." It's the same as saying "Bro," but with a feminist slant.
Short for relationship, but used as a verb. If you "ship Brad and Angelina," it means they are your OTP.
(See how this all works together?)
Anything that looks really fine on someone. For those of you (like me) trying to keep up, "Snatched" is the new "Fleck."
To stan someone is to obsess about them. You could stan Justin Bieber by going to all his concerts and getting a Biebs tat.
An action with questionable motives. "She knows he's trying not to smoke, so giving him that bong was sus."
Another word for "desperate." Like that guy who won't take "no" for an answer? "He's so thirsty!"
Watch Netflix and chill
Used as an invitation, this means you don't actually want to watch Netflix. You don't actually want to chill. You actually want to "hook-up."
Extra, out of alphabetical order, but apropos of the above ...
Have sex. No strings attached.
You may have already known that last one. (And/or, you may (like me) have been corrected when you used the phrase to mean anything other than the above.
Me: "I'm going to hook up with Lauren for a movie this afternoon."
Her: "I don't think so, Mom."
See what I mean about usage versus definition?
I mean, Lauren is my BFF, but ...
If you've enjoyed this post, I invite you to order the book Lovin' the Alien here.