30 Slang Words We Love from 2019
This article was vetted by no less than eight Gen Zers and six Millennials.
The evolution of slang
Language is a living thing, constantly changing to fit the circumstances. And this is a good thing! If language wasn’t adaptable we’d all still be using too many vowels and Shakespeare wouldn’t need to be studied to be understood. Sometimes, though, it can feel like it’s changing faster than we can keep up with, especially when it comes to slang words that seem to change with the seasons.
For instance, “chill” used to be a temperature or an instruction, then it became synonymous with “relaxed,” then it broadened to include meaning “cool” or “awesome,” and now, not only does it still mean all of those things but it can also mean sex, as in the case of “Netflix and chill.” (Thank you, Urban Dictionary!) Some slang words even become so popular they’re canonized as “real” words in the dictionary. Confused? Don’t worry, we got you. Here’s our list of our favourite new(ish) slang words, what they mean, and how to use them.
Honestly, this word is used in so many different ways it can be hard to figure out exactly what the person saying it means. But generally it’s either a happy expression of agreement or describing throwing something far and fast—obviously, you’ll want to figure out which one they mean before getting any closer. Find out the brand new words added to the dictionary in 2019.
Tea is gossip and “spilling the tea” is telling someone else all the juicy details. Gossiping is fun but it isn’t always kind or helpful and it can seriously damage relationships—if you find yourself talking about others too much, this may be why.
You may use this word to refer to your literal sister, which is cool, but many people now use it to refer to any close friend or loved one, regardless of gender. It can also be used to end practically any sentence.
Being rejected, particularly in a romantic way. It might happen if you deliver one of these compliments that are actually pretty insulting.
One way to tell if someone is high quality on Twitter is the ratio of their comments to likes and retweets. Having a lot of replies but not as many likes means that people really, really don’t like what you said and you might be about to go viral—in a bad way. You know what didn’t get ratioed? These hilarious tweets.
Flexing on someone is a way to one-up or prove you are better. You can do it literally, by flexing a big muscle around someone weak, but more often it’s a figurative flex. “Weird flex, but okay” refers to someone who thinks they are one-upping you but are using a really strange comparison. Check out these words from the first dictionary that no longer exist.
Nothing stings more than seeing that someone has read your text message and chosen not to reply—for hours, days, or sometimes ever. Leaving someone “on read” is an electronic diss, the same as answering someone in person with silence. Do you know the rules of texting etiquette?
When something is subtle or not terribly important but still important enough to bring up, you call it “lowkey.” The opposite, used less frequently, is highkey. Slang overload? Here are words you should stop saying ASAP.
FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is a popular term for the feeling people have when seeing everyone else living their best lives on social media. But not everyone’s an extrovert and some of us are relieved to not be invited to everything. Enter JOMO, the joy of missing out. Here are more social media abbrevations you should really know by now.
“OK, cool” is a common way to tell someone you understand and agree. However, texting and the Internet being what they are, that phrase was deemed too long to type out. OK was abbreviated to k and cool became kewl which then morphed into k. KK?
Bet you didn’t realize these words are spelled the same backwards and forwards!
Fam is your family but more often these days “fam” refers to any close loved ones, including friends. “I gotchu fam” is a popular phrase which means “I got your back.”
A cutesy way of saying someone looks good, hot, or fine. Not ready to refer to someone as a snack? Try one of these little compliments you should be giving—but aren’t.
When something unexpected makes you feel a certain way or makes you think someone else is feeling a specific emotion. It can also be used as a way to say you relate to something. Need a serious mood boost? Start doing these things happy people do every day.
Bleach is a powerful cleaning solution so when you’ve seen one too many awful things, sometimes you need a little eyebleach—except instead of chemicals, you use pictures of puppies. You can try it right now! Check out these funny animal pictures that are guaranteed eyebleach.
Ship is short for relationship and when you “ship” someone you are not, as one might think, sending them in a FedEx box to China. Rather, when you “ship” people, it means you want them to be in a relationship.
Bougie is short for bourgeois, which refers to being materialistic or part of a wealthy social class or simply aspiring to be such. Bougie is often used tongue-in-cheek to mean something unnecessarily fancy or someone who thinks they’re high-class but really aren’t.
When talking about future plans, “fixing to” has gotten smooshed into “finna.” It means you’re going to do something.
These slang words from the 1920s are worth bringing back.
Sorry, Atilla, “hun” is now a saccharine-sweet phrase sometimes used by women who are pretending to be overly friendly. It’s so commonly used in multi-level marketing sales pitches that it’s become shorthand for someone who shills essential oils, makeup, diet pills, or the like, in a fake, sleezy way.
Another word for beautiful, fine, or hot. Telling someone that they look “snatched” is a compliment.
If nothing else, these cheesy pick-up lines are good for a laugh.
Rapper Eminem’s hit single “Stan” describes a fan who becomes so obsessed with the singer that when his letters aren’t answered he locks his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk and drives the car off a bridge. This gruesome story has morphed into slang for being a huge fan of something or someone.
Find out the 17 things you’re blaming on Millennials—but shouldn’t.
Another word for surprised or upset. Confused? Here are more words that mean the opposite of what you think.
Secret social media accounts have been around, well, since social media. But today a popular pastime is creating fake Instagram accounts—finstas—that are for entertainment purposes.
Don’t miss this definitive guide to Canadian hockey slang.
Someone who is “boolin” is hanging out or chilling—it just means they’re relaxed and not worried.
Check out these reasons why some English words have silent letters.
It sounds just like it’s spelled and means the same thing—boy. But a “boi” is a cuter term, most often used to talk about a dog or other pet. Check out all the good bois (and girls) in our gallery of the cutest dog breeds as puppies!
Short for “admiring.” But if you’re mirin’ someone it means you are admiring them in a more subtle, sweet way.
Want to test your Word Power? Take our quiz of philosophy terms.
If you want someone to know you’re talking about them on Twitter, you include their @username. But if you want to talk about someone without calling them out directly, you subtweet them. And that bit of Twitter vocab has seeped into real life as well to mean talking about someone without mentioning their name yet still making it very clear who you’re speaking about. Looking for subtweet inspiration? These great Shakespearean insults still sting!
Just like it sounds, “smol” is slang for “small.” So why not just say “small”? Because when your mouth says “smol” you automatically make the “ooooh!” face and that just makes everything seem tiny and cute.
Here’s what could happen if social media disappeared.
Costume play, or cosplay for short, is a hugely popular pastime where people dress up as their favourite movie, book, or cartoon characters. Often the costumes are very creative and realistic, going beyond a typical Halloween-type costume.
Doing something crazy, beyond the normal stuff, this weekend? Then you’re wildin’! It can be used to describe something as crazy in a fun way or in a judgy way.
Just how extensive is your vocabulary? See if you can answer these real dictionary questions from Jeopardy!