13 things tweens and teens say and how to decode them
By Practical Parenting team
February 22 2019
Savage. Lit. Let’s get this bread. If your tween or teen frequently uses slang like this and you don’t know what it means, this may help.
Researcher Nick Wilson from the Faculty of Human Sciences at Macquarie University says that as annoying or confusing as some teen expressions may be, young adults are actually innovators when it comes to creating new ways to use language.
“Since adolescence marks a period of our lives in which we strive to assert our own identity, and when we are also are very concerned with the respect of our peers, it is no surprise that teenagers are amazing linguistic innovators,” he said.
“This has been the case for a long time. What has changed is that by using language online, it is documented, and the speed of change is given a boost because the internet has enabled the social networks of teenagers to grow in a way previously unimaginable.”
Here are 13 expressions your young adult may be using, plus explanations for what they mean and examples of how you may hear them used!
1. Let's get this bread
The expression ‘let’s get this bread’ has many alternatives with the same meaning, including ‘let’s gain this grain’ or ‘let’s cop this crust’. It originates from the extremely popular video game Fortnite, as a statement of intent to win the game or get that kill. It has now become more generic as a statement about simply achieving a goal in any situation.
Example: If you are about to do a difficult task you would say ‘let’s get this bread’ in the hope that you would achieve that goal.
R/whoosh comes from the Reddit website, where people share thoughts, news and funny ideas. On Reddit, they have sub-reddits where people do this about specific categories such as NBA news or Harry Potter. The expression originates from a sub-reddit that has funny images with a hidden punchline in them, and shows people commenting on them in ways which imply they do not understand the joke. So, if someone said ‘r/whoosh’ in conversation it would mean that the person they are talking to does not understand the joke or it has gone over their head.
Example: Person A: "Abraham Lincoln once said ‘The problem with quotes found on the internet is that they are often untrue’."
Person B: "But that doesn’t make sense, the internet wasn’t invented when Abraham Lincoln was alive."
Person A: "R/whoosh."
The phrase “Queen”, “Yass Queen” or “Slay”, is commonly used in a positive and joking way to describe a person who inspires you or who you can relate to. It is said to have originated from an encounter between Lady Gaga and an excited fan who screamed “Yass Queen” upon meeting the icon. Since then the phrase can often be seen in Instagram posts as a way of showing encouragement.
4. No u
‘No u’ could possibly be the simplest phrase of this whole list. It is simply an updated version of ‘I know you are, but what am I’, meaning that whatever insult you just said to me I believe it to be true about you as well.
Example: Person A: “You have an ugly haircut.”
Person B: “No u."
This is often used when a person does something predictable or which follows the mainstream ‘norms’ of today’s society. For example, when a girl posts a photo on Instagram in which she is wearing leggings and holding a Starbucks drink, the comments she might expect include ‘basic’ or ‘that’s so basic’.
This term is used when someone is ruthless in roasting something (usually another person) and another person comments on the roast by saying something like ‘that was savage’.
Example: Person A: "I love how music can take you to another place. For example, Person C’s music is playing in this café, so now I’m going to the one next door."
Person B: "Woah, that was savage."
‘Lit’ is basically the post millennial synonym of amazing, excellent or awesome. This is said when describing something that may have happened that was very good.
Example: "That party was so lit!"
12. This ain't it chief
The phrase ‘This ain’t it chief’ is used when a person does something that in their own eyes may seem cool or a way to show off, but in reality is considered quite unusual and an unpopular opinion to have.
Example: Person A: "Peanut butter in lemonade is to die for."
Person B: "This ain’t it chief."
‘Fam’ was originally the shortening of ‘family’ but can now be used to describe someone you are close to or that you trust.
Example: "Hey fam, how’s it going?"
- Slang translations by Daniel Chenu, 14 and Lahna Kelly, 15