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116 Teen Text Terms Decoded for Confused Parents

8 minute read
Updated: | Originally published: ;

Kids today—who can understand them? Of course this is a timeless sentiment, but one that’s no less true today, with young ones constantly nose-to-the-glass with smartphones and tablets, chatting with their friends. If you dare to peek at their tweets and posts, other than a near hieroglyphic scroll of emoji, you’ll find a language of all their own.
Below are terms that have been rolling off kids tongues, popping up in songs and memes, and generally floating around the Internet lately.

Study them. Learn them. Then, never use them, because there’s nothing more out of place than a parent who is trying to fit in.

AF: Technically an acronym for “as f#¢&,” it means extremely. As in, “I’m hungry AF.”

Bae: Babe or baby, in the romantic (and not the infant) sense. Also short for “before anyone else.” So, imagine “I Got You Bae,” as sung by Pharrell and Miley, instead of Sonny and Cher.

Basic: Despite meaning thoughtless, boring, conforming, self-important and many other unflattering things, a lot of thought has gone into this term, and its sidekick, “basic bitch.”

Bye Felicia: Adismissive term said when you want an annoying person to buzz off. Still popular, despite being a throwaway line in the movie Friday, which came out more than more than 20 years ago.

Can’t even: An expression of exasperation, “can’t even” can’t even finish the sentence, it’s that frustrated.

Fam: Short for family, “fam” is used with only your closest friends. It could be an acronym for “from another mother,” or that may just be a coincidence. Either way, that’ll help you remember when someone says, “What’s up, fam?” the two people aren’t related.

Feels: Shorthand for feelings, “feels” is a noun, not a verb. The term derived from “right in the feels,” a meme that expresses extreme sadness. Also sad, it would appear we have arrived at peak feels. It’s all downhill from here.

Hooking up: Think back to years ago when that younger, more attractive version of yourself ‘hooked up’ with someone at a bar or a party. Now slap a Rated-G tag on that memory — today’s “hooking up”means much, much more, and legally shouldn’t be performed in public.

Lit: An adjective used to describe something that’s active or popular, like a party. It can also mean drunk or stoned. So, technically you could get lit at a party that was lit, though the only person who would ever say that would be Eugene Levy in a straight-to-video movie.

Is everything: Something that is great and/or important. For instance, if you’re big into modern art, you might say “Outside is everything,” as TIMEdid in 1952. (Yeah, we’re avant garde AF.)

Netflix and chill: The modern version of being invited into a date’s home for a nightcap, “Netflix and chill” has nothing to do with movies or relaxing, and everything to do with hooking up.

Obvi: This one should be obvious.

On fleek/On point: Used asan adjective,thesetwo terms both mean impeccably styled or groomed. So, which should you use? On fleek was added to Random House’s Dictionary.com last year, but logophiles think Merriam-Webster is totally on point (and recognizes neither). Ultimately, you should use neither, because you’re not 17.

OTP: An acronym for “one true pairing” it means the fictional couple you think were meant to be together, despite their will-they/won’t-they history. For instance, you could say, “Pacey and Joey are my OTP,” but only if you want to sound really old and out of touch.

Slay: Short for doing something very well, “slay” is shorthand for slaying, which is a synonym of kill. So, in other words, killing it, only six characters shorter, thus easier on the Twitter.

Ship: As a noun, “ship” is short for a romantic relationship. As a verb, it means wanting a romantic relationship. But because it’s spoken by teens (who have a hard time grappling with their own awkward feelings) it’s mainly used in fictional terms. For instance, “I ship Ron and Hermione so hard.”

Snatched: 2016’s version of “on fleek” and “on point.” Presented with a third option, which should you use? Again, none. You people already killed “on fleek.” Can’t you just leave “snatched” alone?

SMH: An acronym for “shake my head,” it’s what teens will say about you if you use their slang. For instance: “Woman just said my outfit was on fleek. Smh.”

Swipe right: Derived from the user interface of the popular hook-up app Tinder, “swipe right” is a term of approval.

TBH: An acronym for “to be honest,” this term evolved into a game on Facebook. Users post “Like this status for a TBH,” and then leave previously unrevealed truths in the comment fields for all their friends who like the post.

Turnt/Turnt Up: Similar to “Lit,” these adjectives describe a particularly loud, lively affair, or being inebriated, or both. Reddit users have discussed the etymology of the term, linking it to songs by Soulja Boy, among other sources. Tbh, It likely started with Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel turning his amp up to 11.

V: Short for “very,” as in “I type v fast.” So fast that the e, r, and y just get in the way.

YAS: A very enthusiastic version of yes, “YAS” should not be confused with YAZ, a contraceptive which in other words means “no.”

You da real MVP: A meme that basically thanks people for doing seemingly mundane but important tasks, this term taken from the 2014 NBA MVP speech of Kevin Durant, who saluted his mother was “da real MVP.” Here’s an example:

143: I love you (popularized by no less awesome a source than Mister Rogers himself

2DAY: Today

4EAE: For ever and ever

ADN: Any day now

AFAIK: As far as I know

AFK: Away from keyboard

ATM: At the moment

B/C: Because

B4: Before

BF / GF: Boyfriend / Girlfriend

BFN: Bye for now

BOL: Be on later

BRB: Be right back

BTW: By the way

DM: Direct message

DWBH: Don’t worry, be happy

F2F or FTF: Face to face

FB: Facebook

FF: Follow Friday (Follow Friday is a recurring topic on Twitter. Each week, users post lists of people that they think others should followusing the #FF or #FollowFriday hashtag.)

FTL: For the loss / For the lose

FTW: For the win

FWB :Friends with benefits

FWIW: For what it’s worth

FYEO: For your eyes only

FYI: For your information

GLHF: Good luck, have fun

GR8: Great

HAK: Hugs and kisses

HAND: Have a nice day

HT or H/T: Hat tip or heard through (usually referencing news or an informative link)

HTH: Hope this helps / Happy to help

IANAL: I am not a lawyer

IDK: I don’t know

IIRC: If I remember correctly

IKR: I know, right?

ILY / ILU: I love you

IMHO: In my honest opinion / In my humble opinion

IMO: In my opinion

IRL: In real life

IU2U: It’s up to you

IYKWIM: If you know what I mean

J/K: Just kidding

J4F: Just for fun

JIC: Just in case

JSYK: Just so you know

K or KK: Okay

LMBO: Laughing my butt off

LMK: Let me know

LOL: Laughing out loud

MM: Music Monday. Another recurring Twitter topic. In this case, users post a song or two that will get your week off to a better start.

MSM: Mainstream media

NAGI: Not a good idea

NM: Never mind

NMU: Not much, you?

NP: No problem or Now playing (as in “My MP3 stream is now playing LMFAO’s Party Rock.)

NSFW: Not safe for work. If this is attached to a link, you’re strongly advised not to check it out while in the workplace or any other venue where inappropriate content would be, well, inappropriate.

NSFL: Not safe for life. Usually a humorous disclaimer that something formerly innocent is going to be irreparably sullied if you click the link.

NTS: Note to self

OH: Overheard

OMG: Oh my God

ORLY: Oh, really?

PAW: Parents are watching

PLS or PLZ: Please

PPL: People

PTB: Please text back

QQ: Crying. Rather than an abbreviation, this is an emoticon, a picture created in text. The tails of the capital Q form tears, while the circles are the eyes. Saying “QQ” aloud also can mimic the “boo hoo” of someone who’s upset. Usually used sarcastically or contemptuously.

RAK: Random act of kindness

RL: Real life

ROFL: Rolling on the floor laughing

RT: Retweet. Similar to forwarding an email, Twitter lets you echo other people’s tweets for your own followers to read. In some cases, folks will ask for something they’ve said to be amplified by saying “Please RT” or “PLS RT.”

RUOK: Are you okay? In Australia, #RUOK is a regularly trending topic, following a government initiative called RUOK Day, which raises awareness of mental health issues on social networking sites.

SMH: Shaking my head

SRSLY: Seriously

SSDD: Same stuff, different day

SWAK: Sealed with a kiss

SWYP: So, what’s your problem?

TIA: Thanks in advance

TIME: Tears in my eyes

TMB: Tweet me back

TMI: Too much information

TMRW: Tomorrow

TTYL: Talk to you later

TY or TU: Thank you

VSF: Very sad face

WB: Welcome back

WTH: What the heck?

WTPA: Where the party at?

WYCM: Will you call me?

YGM: You’ve got mail (to alert your texting partner that you’ve contacted them via that staid old email thing. That’s sooo 2001!)

YMMV: Your mileage may vary

YW: You’re welcome

ZOMG: Oh my god (sarcastic)

This article has been expanded from an earlier version, which was written by Jessica Citizen and originally appeared on Tecca.

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