Understanding Your Teen: A Parent’s Guide to Teen Slang in 2020


Understanding Your Teen: A Parent's Guide to Teen Slang in 2020

Do you sometimes overhear teen slang and ask yourself, “What in the world did they just say?” Well, do not fret because this brief guide is going to give you the kick start you need to understand the ever-changing teen lingo! 

One of the tricks I use to make sure I stay hip when guiding my kids through life is to take myself back to the moment when I was their age. This has helped me as a mom through every milestone thus far. So naturally, speaking their lingo, or at least understanding their lingo, is definitely on my “How-To-Be-A-Hip-Mom” list. 

Teen Slang 

Below is a list of words with their meanings and a sentence to put everything in perspective. To make sure that I got everything right, I asked for the assistance of my kids (22 and 18 years of age). Get ready to feel hipper or not…

  • Salty – I have not experienced this word too much. However,  when I read it, I knew it would have been a word that I would have used as a teen…NOT!
    • Meaning – Feeling upset or angry 
    • In a Sentence – “I got yelled at for hours by some salty old senior chief.”
  • Adulting – This is a great one! This is what kids call it when they have to act responsibly. (Imagine that!)
    • Meaning – growing up
    • In a Sentence – “So tired from adulting! I went to my 9-5 job today! Look at me!”
  • Thirsty – This word is confusing, but makes me laugh. I am no longer sure what to say when I am actually thirsty! (lol)
    • Meaning – Desperately needing attention; desiring sexual attention
    • In a sentence – “Did you see Lisa last night? She’s so thirsty!” 
  • Ship – Have you ever shipped someone? I probably have, but why is called shipping?
    • Meaning – Usually two people (can be fictional) who you either want them to become an item or you want them to kiss.
    • In a sentence – “I rather ship Bella and Edward than Bella and Jake.”
  • FOMO – This is important for Social Media these days and probably the cause of most teen anxiety. 
    • Meaning – Fear of Missing out
    • In a sentence – Even though he was exhausted, John’s FOMO got the best of him and he went to the party.
  • Haul – My son’s girlfriend says this all the time, so I feel pretty hip on this one. 
    • Meaning – shopping spree
    • In a sentence – “Those are a lot of bags you’ve got there, show me your haul.”
  • Fire  – This is my daughter’s favorite slang word
    • Meaning – Something amazingly good
    • In a sentence – I thought I wasn’t going to like the meal, but that duck was fire!
  • Bougie – Until this article, I did not completely understand this word.
    • Meaning – People pretending to (or think they are) high class and but they’re really not (or don’t realize they aren’t.)
    • In a sentence – The girls who go wine tasting but still live with their parents are bougie.

Warning for Parents:

When trying to use any of these slang words (even if you are absolutely sure you know what you are saying sounds cool in your mind) it will never sound cool to your teen. 

Not sure what your teen is referring to when they speak words you can’t understand? There are entire websites on the internet dedicated to defining slang words and some of them are not for the faint of heart!

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Alina Freyre
Alina is a first-generation Cuban-American Miami native currently living in Coral Gables. She is a mother of 2 remarkable children and has been married to her best friend for 22 years. After spending 18 years in the medical industry, Alina decided to follow her passion of becoming a chef and attended Le Cordon Bleu to take her passion to the next level. She has since owned a catering company that became a bistro as well as authored a cookbook, The Diversified Table with a Latin Twist. Being a foodie that loves to patronize the different restaurants in Miami, she noticed there is an absence of good dessert bars in Miami…voilà, Whipped Sugar was born. Whipped Sugar specializes in Miami and Cuban flavored cookies, including a KETO line. With the heart of her home being the kitchen and the importance of building the best home life for her family Alina is also a real estate agent helping her clients buy a home, not just a house. For more information on Whipped Sugar go to www.tableofsweets.net.