The Teen O.E.D.

Matt is a 16-year-old from New York City, NY. He loves to be social and spend time with his friends, as well as being an active leader in his community. However, school also plays an important role in his life and he is motivated to achieve his dreams.

teen language, teen lingo, abbreviations, teen vocab, top teen words

To start this off, let’s all agree on a known fact: teens have a vocabulary of their own. Another known fact: a lot of parents have no idea what teens are saying more than half of the time.


Teen vocab is a very interesting topic to discuss, especially because it seems to change with the seasons. As summer is approaching us, a new teen vocab trend is on its way as well. But, how do these trends start?, to what extent are they trends?, and is it ever going to be possible for parents to understand their kids every again!?


Teen vocab trends start like every other trend: either from music, t.v. and movies—a.k.a. the media, or some random person creates a “genius” new thing. Here are some prime examples: Paris Hilton. What can be said about Miss Hilton. Well, for one thing, she starts teen trends. She coined the word “Hot” and the phrase “That’s Hot.” She even received an award for it…I know! The sad part, or maybe it’s funny, is the fact that us teens, actually started saying, “OMG, that’s so hot!” and “HOT!” We were so serious about it too! Paris also started saying, “Huge.” That too, just like “Hot” became a big thing in the teen world for a while. Another example that affected teen vocab is the CW’s Gossip Girl. EVERY TEEN (basically) started saying “XOXO” at the end of their sentences, texts, voicemails (yes, some teens still leave voicemails) and even letters (another old-time thing that some teens actually still do…). Also, teens started abbreviating their friends’ names to one letter. My name for a long time was “M” and my best friend’s name was “A.”


However, we cannot discuss the effect of media on the teenage vocabulary without discussing my favorite movie of all time… “Mean Girls” (DUH! And yes, I am one of those people who can recite the entire movie no matter the location, weather and time of day!). When “Mean Girls” first came out in 2004, the teenage vocabulary changed for the rest of time. As Gretchen Weiners would say, “[That’s] so FETCH!” Teens became addicted to this movie instantly, and instantaneously started speaking “in” the language of the movie. From that point on, teens started saying, “fetch” and “grool,” as well as started to describe people as characters from the movie. “Oh, she is SO Regina George!” That remark is equivalent to saying, “Oh, she is SO mean!”


Since we are in 2011, we must discuss the effect that Charlie Sheen has had on the teen vocab. “Tiger Blood” and “Winning” were two of the most popular sayings for a good month or so! I am proud to say I never said or referenced (until now) either, but my friends certainly did! The funny part about these two phrases are the fact that no one truly knows what either one means. This unfortunately, sums up the teen vocabulary. We had no clue what we are saying more than half of the time!


Like I said earlier, the Teen O.E.D., as I like to call it, changes very frequently. There are words being constantly added and replaced. It is extremely hard to keep up, sorry parents! For example, “rad” was popular on the East Coast for about two months a few years ago.


This brings up another very interesting point. Location is EVERYTHING. Every region of the United States (and World) has its own set of teen vocab words—ever though there are some that overlap. The West Coast owns “rad” and “hella” while the East Coast still says “wicked” a lot. “Legit” and “obvi” are two words that are popular everywhere, though!


Now that we have addressed many actual words, it’s important that we talk about the biggest chapter in the Teen O.E.D.—abbreviations (abbrevs.). I honestly think that I have not said a sentence in the longest time, where all of the words were in their “full” forms. “Legit,” “obvi,” “whatevs,” “perf,” and SO many more! There are many truths behind this trend of teen language. For starters, its fun to say, and it’s easier to put emotion into the words. “Obvi” is completely different from “OBVI!” Another truth is that, yes, we are a tad lazy—but, not to the extent where we cease to communicate. Instead, we’ve created, basically, our own new language. I think it is vital for parents to understand some key words in the Teen O.E.D. in order to affective communicate with their children at home everyday. Knowing some words will definitely help maintain a strong relationship as well as earn some “cool parent points.” Below is a list of 10 major words in the Teen O.E.D. and definitions.


Top 10 Teen O.E.D. Words:

1. LOL- Laugh.Out.Loud.
2. OMG- Oh.My.God
3. Legit– Short for “Legitimate”
4. Obvi- Short for “Obviously”
5. Whatevs- Short for “Whatever”
6. Perf- Short for “Pefect”
7. Totes- Short for “Totally”
8. Delish– Short for “Delicious”
9. Awks- Short for “Awkward”
10. Mad- replacement word for “Very” “So Much” and “A lot”


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