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Online teen speak


Cover image: Valery Kenski, Photo: Darren Johnson

Wondering what your children are tapping into their phones? Or what that weird acronym means? Here's our parent's guide to some popular teen chat words and phrases

Speaking in coded language has been used for years by teenagers trying to hide something, or communicating in their own way. The sudden growth of the online world allowed for more terms to appear and spread more quickly, creating a more universal, viral, version of the teen slang that’s been around for years.

Not all of these terms are exclusively used online – they’re as likely to appear in spoken conversation as well as on social media messaging.

These terms also come and go, appearing out of nowhere and then disappearing from use just as quickly, while some expressions used in one part of the country may be considered outdated or embarrassing in another.

Check out our list to open up the world of teenspeak!

  • 420 - marijuana
  • acc - actually
  • aired - ignored (someone)
  • ASL - age, sex, location (could mean your child is using an anonymous chat room)
  • b - babe (but can be just a friend)
  • BAE - (before anyone else) a term of endearment, like baby
  • baffed - confused
  • bare, also spelled ‘bear’ – an alternative way of saying ‘really really’ or ‘a lot’ - e.g. “that is bare cool!’
  • basic – generally negative term – can mean boring as much as it can mean clumsy/careless/gross
  • bible - honestly/I'm telling the truth
  • blates - obviously
  • blessed - nice (person)
  • booted - left behind/dumped (as in ‘I was booted’)
  • bromance – close friendship between, as you have probably already guessed, two boys
  • bruh - like 'bro', meaning a friend as close as a brother
  • CBA  - can’t be bothered
  • CD9 - Code 9 (meaning parents are around)
  • cray - shortened version of crazy 
  • creeper - someone socially awkward or so needy they act like a stalker
  • CU46 - see you for sex
  • cuz - friend (from cousin)
  • dench - fantastic, cool
  • dope - really cool/awesome
  • down for something - to be excited to do something
  • DFTT - don’t feed the trolls
  • fam - close friend or group of friends
  • fierce – looking amazing/ incredible
  • FTFY - fixed that for you
  • g - a friend (boy to boy - originally from 'gangsta')
  • gassed - happy
  • ghost – to completely ignore someone suddenly – ghosting someone can be a nasty way to break up with someone else
  • GNOC - get naked on camera
  • GOAT - greatest of all time
  • hella - really
  • hunty - a term of endearment, popularised in the TV show, Ru Paul’s Drag Race
  • IK - I know
  • ill - fantastic, cool
  • IRL - in real life (see also MIRL and LMIRL)
  • IWSN - I want sex now
  • jokes - really funny e.g. 'that book is so jokes!’ 
  • kicked - same meaning as 'booted'
  • KPC - keep parents clueless
  • lit - amazing
  • LMIRL - let's meet in real life 
  • merked - can mean really drunk/intoxicated/beaten up or even getting found out/told off
  • MIRL - meeting in real life
  • molly - term for ecstasy/MDMA
  • MOOS - member of the opposite sex
  • MOS - mum over shoulder
  • moving to (someone) - approaching, either aggressively or romantically
  • Netflix and chill - making out (or having sex), generally at home
  • NIFOC - naked in front of the computer
  • nudes - naked or partially clothed pictures
  • on fleek – on point / executed really well
  • P - short from pretty, as in 'that’s pretty cool’
  • P911/P999 - parent alert
  • PAW - parents are watching
  • peak - unfortunate
  • peng - really attractive
  • POS - parents over shoulder
  • preeing - looking at someone online also known as 'facebook stalking'
  • pre'-ing - pre-drinking (usually at home before going out)
  • pr0n - mispelling porn to get past online filters
  • pumped for something - to be excited about something
  • rolling - going
  • RU/18 - are you over 18?
  • safe - reliable/good (person)
  • salty - bitter  or upset 
  • ship - short word for relationship
  • sick - fantastic, cool, as in ‘That gig was sick!’
  • SIS - sisters in spirit/a girl who's so close she's like a sister
  • skl - school
  • slipping - messing up (as in ‘get caught slipping’) 
  • smash - casual sex
  • squad goal - something a group decides to do 
  • stacked - built, really muscly/well-built/toned
  • swag - confidence or fancy clothes/jewellery
  • swear - are you serious?
  • TD - to die for/fantastic
  • throw shade - give someone a nasty look or be horrible about someone
  • tidy - really attractive
  • tight - in a close friendship
  • truss - I agree (from trust)
  • UGO - you got owned
  • ur - your
  • wag1 (or wagwan) - what’s up?
  • woke - if you’re woke about a subject you understand or empathise with it
  • WTTP - want to trade photos
  • WYRN - what's your real name?
  • YOLO - you only live once
  • Zerg - to gang up on someone

Classics you might use too:

  • LOL – laugh out loud
  • BRB – be right back
  • GTG – got to go
  • WYSIWYG - what you see is what you get
  • NSFW - not suitable for work

​Further reading

The advice published on Parent Info is provided by independent experts in their field and not necessarily the views of Parent Zone or NCA-CEOP.

Updated: ​May 2018

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