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Gen Z Uses Slang, Adults Feel they Need a Dictionary

Peyton Skinner
Some of the many examples of slang used by Summerville students.

Slang words have been something that younger generations use to express themselves with their peers–and at times–with adults. Due to it constantly evolving, some slang can prove cryptic, especially to older generations not informed of new slang. 

Current slang includes phrases, words, emotions, and comedic phrases. For instance, people have established abbreviations such as LOL (laugh out loud), TBH (to be honest), and OMG (oh my God). As many know, these types of abbreviated slang words have often been found in texts. Now, students are using these abbreviations and much more in face-to-face conversations rather than just online. 

It should not be surprising how many younger adults and teenagers use these newer slang words. 

Sophomore Nate Johnson explains, “I guess it’s kind of like a younger language and kids are evolving. The ones who get it, get it and the ones who don’t, don’t.”

“Generation Z” or “Gen Z” refers to people born between 1997-2012. This time period is also often referred to as the digital era. People born between these times may not understand what it is like to live in an age without advances such as the internet. 

Even when members of Generation Z do not own very much technology themselves, the effects are still so widespread that they understand many of the phrases and current events in the world regardless. 

When asked about where sophomore Bradley Fowler learned most of the slang he uses, he responded that TikTok, a popular social media app, is where he learned many of his slang words. 

He described some ways people greet each other and explained the specific way he prefers to greet his friends. 

“When you walk up to somebody you don’t just say, ‘Hey bud,’ you say, ‘What’s up mojo dojo pal,’ and then you do that one thing with your hands and dap them up.”

Mr. Hall, Art and Photography teacher, described the confusing nature of slang and how he had to decipher some of it on his own. 

“It’s nearly unintelligible…I just kind of figured them out. I mean, rizz, you just cut half the word off of charisma and there you go.” 

It’s nearly unintelligible…I just kind of figured them out. I mean, rizz, you just cut half the word off of charisma and there you go.”

— Mr. Hall

Most slang is self-explanatory, but others can be more challenging to understand without some sort of context. 

Junior Makayla Rice explained the meaning of “ rent-free” in an interview. 

“When you say something or someone is ‘living rent-free in your head’ it basically means that something is consecutively on your mind that you can’t get out.” 

When asked about older generations not understanding some of the lingo, sophomore Josiah Marquez explained how the meaning of slang words catch on naturally with Gen-Z kids. 

“Most of them are pretty self-explanatory unless you’re a millennial, but I mean if you’re a kid in our generation it’s pretty easy to understand.” He continued that, “cooler kids tend to use ‘cap’ or’ yap,’ which is pretty griddy honestly.”

Some slang also includes words such as “cool,” “bro,” and “fam,” but now slang seems to have become more popular than ever. Mr. Lillie explained some of the prevalence of slang nowadays. 

“It’s cyclical. I said stupid stuff too when I was young and some words have stuck around like ‘cool’ for what, 100 years?” 

He voiced a dislike of some slang. 

“Sus. I’ve had enough of that. I told my niece, ‘you can’t say that around me or I’m going to go insane.’” 

While many people do use slang in their everyday lives, not everybody makes use of these words. 

Freshman Angelina Castro explained, “I don’t use them… I just think it’s kind of weird.” She went on to say that when people use slang, “It can be funny in a way, but not all the time. It can get kind of annoying.” 

Overall, slang is constantly evolving and changing. Sometimes younger generations enjoy knowing more about something than their older counterparts, but older generations still like to stay informed and up-to-date on their own slang.

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Peyton Skinner, Photo Editor
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