Teen Slang: Decoding What Your Kids Are Saying

teenopenmouth.jpgMy mom still uses the word brassiere (I had to look up the spelling on that) instead of bra. I use the word sketchy instead of ‘troublemaker.’ When my mom insists on verbalizing her blasts from the past, I have to roll my eyes and explain that if she is not going to reform her lingo, she can no longer drive me and my friends around…no just kidding, that would be mean!

But seriously, she insists on using the word ‘nifty’ instead of cool, ‘hooligan’ for any male in my life that is not related, ‘homely’ instead of ugly…oh the list does go on and on.

I decided a fun post would be to decode a few words we often use,


n. An advertising solicitation online sent on a instant messaging program. These usually have links to their sites or products…and they are seriously annoying.
“Oh, sorry I had to quit, too many spim’s at once slowed down my Internet”

1. n. teeth or smile
2. n. personal business or activities
“Hey why don’t you stay out of my grill.”

Trick Out (also ‘pimp’ something out)
v. to adorn with accessories or make better
“Mom, I really want to trick out my backpack so can we go to the store to buy some buttons” (this is a really lame example, but I couldn’t think of another one that isn’t inappropriate).

v. To be fake or put on a false exterior; façade usually to impress someone or seem better than what you actually are.
“She is frontin, those heels are borrowed”


n. The police
“Don’t speed there is usually a po on this corner”
(variations: Low Po, n. undercover police officers)


n/adj. Tact or appropriate expression used in electronic communications such as emails, IM’s, texts or blogging.
“He broke up with me by text, he has, like, no e-tact”

Hulk Out
v. To become really angry, perhaps violent (like the hulk).
“When dad finds out I failed my History Test he is so going to hulk out”

v. To leave or flee the situation as soon as possible.
“I saw Josh coming over to ask me to dance and that was my signal to ripcord”

Abbreviations Teens Use

(usually used in written format, but sometimes used in everyday speech):

NCMO Non Committal Make Out
Usually when two teens make out drunk, just for fun, or at a Truth or Dare game and it has no emotional significance or ties.
“Are you kidding!? He was so ugly it was just a NCMO.”

DTR Define the Relationship
In the age of emails, texts and twitters it is hard to know what people mean. This phrase is usually used in a sexual relationship.
“Have you and Sarah DTR’ed yet?”

OCT On Company Time
This is used when you are supposed to be doing something else like texting at work, reading a magazine at detention or playing video games when you are supposed to be doing chores for mom.
“Scott, have you been playing videogames OCT?”

NSFP Not Safe For Parents
When you have an email with a naughty picture, some foul language, incriminating plans etc, you can put this in the subject line and the receiver knows to only open it when parents are not around. This can also be sent in a text message, see the following example:
“Teen: NSFP?
Friend: Nah its fine they are not around
Teen: Awesome, so who is getting the beer this weekend?”

Of course, different expressions are popular in different groups and locations. Let me know if you like these types of posts and I can do another slang/decode your teen one.

Dream big, work hard, and you will get there


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38 Responses to “Teen Slang: Decoding What Your Kids Are Saying”

  1. Scott
    January 9, 2008 at 1:07 pm #

    I can’t believe I didn’t know what many of these terms meant. I must be getting really old :(.

  2. Vanessa
    January 9, 2008 at 1:34 pm #

    Don’t worry! With becoming older…is becoming wiser ; )

  3. Pamela
    January 10, 2008 at 2:58 pm #

    Great idea for a post! I’m especially interested in the abbreviations for texting.

  4. Vanessa
    January 10, 2008 at 6:17 pm #

    oh ok thats a good idea, I will start to compose a list for cell phones


  5. Big Mac
    January 11, 2008 at 10:29 pm #

    Haha no one usually uses these how old it this i needs up dating lol

  6. Laura
    January 11, 2008 at 10:35 pm #

    As a teen today, I can honestly say that no one uses the majority of these words or abbreviations. Sorry, nice try though.

  7. Paige
    January 11, 2008 at 10:49 pm #

    Yeah, i second what laura said. i am a teen, NOBODY talks like that.

  8. Michelle
    January 12, 2008 at 12:36 am #

    A lot of these are new to me. I’m a mom and I promise not to use them against my son (a 12 yr old). In fact I sent this to him. Thanks for posting and I hope you post more.

  9. David Dunn
    January 12, 2008 at 12:38 am #

    As a 17 year old, I can also confirm that I have heard none of my friends speaking any of these – ever.

    Not a bad post though.

  10. Bavar ToothFunk
    January 12, 2008 at 6:44 am #

    It is a sad comment on the current crop of hormone oozers steal all thier ‘lingo’ from black thugs ans street punks.

  11. Vanessa
    January 12, 2008 at 7:38 am #

    LOL as I said not every teen uses all of these terms, it depends on the area and the school please feel free to add your own teen slang that you usually use.

  12. Jennifer
    January 12, 2008 at 4:03 pm #

    Where did you find this list from? As a teenager living in both LA and NYC, I’ve never used (or heard any of my friends use) these terms. Are you sure you weren’t tricked into this by some of your kids? Or did you just spend some time harvesting the urbandictionary?

  13. Vanessa
    January 12, 2008 at 8:45 pm #

    its so funny the differences in regions and even schools, actually whenever I do a speaking engagement with teens I have them fill out like a questionnaire and one of the things is ‘teen slang that you think your parents would like to know but you wouldn’t tell them.’ Its a fun post, teens should add their own, the whole point is to get teens and parents talking and disagreeing whatever, add your own!

  14. Ryan
    January 15, 2008 at 7:59 am #

    u can try sweatin. u know like why u always sweatin me

  15. Vanessa
    January 15, 2008 at 2:42 pm #

    thats a good one,

    sweatin- verb, to really like someone, as in ‘they are hot, so they make you sweat’


  16. Mandy
    January 25, 2008 at 3:00 pm #

    I do use NSFP when I do not want my friends to post something around my parents

  17. tom
    May 11, 2008 at 10:27 am #

    sweatin’ doesnt mean that vennessa. i think you need to do a little more work on the “lingo”. which noone says anymore either. try lol. or wtf.
    like when teens read this they go “wtf”

  18. leila diegues
    May 13, 2008 at 10:51 am #

    They’re too old to speak like children and too young to speak like the adults. Then they need to speak the words thenselves. When we don’t understand we ask him to translate to our. I had my words … along time ago…

  19. natasha
    May 14, 2008 at 9:41 am #

    i visited this site for a project at school and i have to say that none of these words people have on here apply for any teen i think that if you were to know what our language meant we would tell you.

  20. natasha
    May 14, 2008 at 9:47 am #

    hi again

    my friends at my school think the same thing as i do so if you have a freking problem to bad

  21. Jerry
    June 9, 2008 at 3:30 pm #


    thats a heart if ya look at it sideways.
    just thought i ‘d let ya old people know!

  22. raeleigh
    July 7, 2008 at 6:58 pm #

    this isn’t new this is what cave man first spoke like man dude you really need to up date

  23. Diego Henrique
    September 25, 2008 at 7:14 pm #

    I think “FYI” suits for all ages, but anyway it means For Your information and it is pretty useful into web communication.

  24. Brooklyn
    October 1, 2008 at 5:12 pm #

    instead of using NSFP i think more teens use POS , this is usually used when the parent is watching you send a message or is also on the computer while you are trying to have a conversation over yahoo (myspace…ect.)

  25. Laura
    March 17, 2009 at 8:33 pm #


    I just wanted to say Thank You. As a parent, I read many articles to gain an understanding of what things might be like for my two boys. I think it’s very important to know what your kids are saying and what it all means–how else can we, as parents’, know what is happening in our childrens’ lives if we don’t stay involved? I just wanted to add that I think the influence of the internet should be limited. I see a lot of teen surfing the net all hours of the day and some parents that I know are too busy or bothered to monitor what their child is doing. I think this is one of the biggest mistakes a parent can make. The internet can be wealth of knowledge, but it can also be a danger. Secret lingos and cryptical quotes are just another way to keep parents out of the loop….I’ve heard kids say that the reason they do it is because it’s easier, it’s shorter, that’s what we do, etc..I use some of that myself (LOL)…If I had to hide what I am saying with abbreviations, then should I be doing it at all? The purpose has to be considered!

  26. Vanessa Van Petten
    March 17, 2009 at 8:34 pm #

    Hi Laura

    awww, thanks for this! I am so happy our website can you give you a little peak into the world of teens. Please browse around and let us know if we can do anything


  27. yungiefolife!
    April 2, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    learn some stuff!

  28. thebigredtruck
    April 24, 2009 at 11:10 am #

    Some of those are used but not really.

  29. savanah
    June 17, 2009 at 5:04 pm #

    uh, these are seriously ou of date lol. i have never heard of any of these xcept pinp and grill, and still that one is old.
    though, i do like hulk out:) its pretty beast. ima start using that. but here is an updated list for all those interested…

    1)Beast, Beastin, and Beastly= something of upmost greatest and top noch. for example “That jump shot was so beast man.” or “i am such a beast at guitar, i just played the most beastly song ever.”

    2)Shiz= the new “shit”. a better and less vulgar version of the actual cuss word. For example, “Oh shiz, i just spilt my drink.” “O my shiz!” “This pizza is the shiz!”

    3)Jank, Jank=means to tease, call out, or make fun of someone usually in a playful way. Also used for something you do not like. For example, “Quit janking on me man.” “God that test was so jank.” “Im sorry, my parents are just janking on me right now about my grades.”

    4)OMG=Oh My God. Now this is proboly the most commonly used out of all of them, mostly by girls. Its pretty self explanatory. “OMG i think he likes me!” “OMG that is one jank skirt you be wearing.”

    5)Breh & Guh= no, it is no longer boy and girl, it is now breh and guh. Breh-boy. Guh-girl. “Hey guh” “yo breh”.

    6)What It Do= the new version of whats up. Founded by Snoop Dog

    7)Hoe Digger= a man in search for slutty girls, also a pervert. “Omg Derek is such a hoe digger. He was all over those guhs.” “Get your hands off me hoe diiger!”

    8)Shank=means cut,slap,punch, or any kind of bodily threat. “Breh if you dont stop ima shank you!” “Ill shank you all up guh!”

    9)Shut your face=the new version of shutup or shut your pie hole

    10) What the dump= the new version of what in the world

    ….theres just a few more popular ones to get you started. hope it helped, because that list you posted was like last generation breh. peace.

  30. yaaa
    October 7, 2009 at 4:45 pm #

    hahahaha, wat bs no one say this stuff, try some word people actually say. mk so like try to do a lil research as to wat people actually say. Shank! lol
    ILY <3 <3

  31. HarryPotterFan
    November 21, 2009 at 8:23 pm #

    What the dump, man. I would jank ya bt I gta respect the elders. (LOL)……… Now that’s a real word………but .seriously?? I mean u use the wrd ‘grill’? I know ya like old,but ‘grill’ seriously this is 2010….. Well soon Ta be…. Hey did yah watch 2012 I mean they got me scared fo that year…………..

  32. Jessica
    December 6, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

    DTF: down to fuckk
    DTP: down to party
    DTD: down to drink
    the listt can go onn

  33. Mac
    April 27, 2010 at 7:16 pm #

    What does “Are you getting with him?” mean??

  34. your momma
    October 18, 2010 at 6:26 am #

    What are they saying when they ask “do you wanna reach”. I am assuming drugs.


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