This IS it, chief: 79 Gen Z slang phrases you need to know

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Pops with the fire drip
Pops with the fire drip

If there's one thing I'll never not find hilarious (and rather cringe-worthy), it's parents attempting to understand the bizarre language of Millennials and Gen Zs.

I mean, I guess they can't really be blamed for getting it wrong, there are new words popping up practically every time you blink. Thankfully, our list should help get you a bit more up-to-date with what the kids are saying these days.

Congratulations if you know some of the phrases and words listed, and if you think there are ones missing, chances are, nobody's saying it anymore (sorry). 

Then again, I don't claim to know it all here either (who does, really?) so let's all marvel at this list together. 

What slang words are your kids using? Want to use some of these words and phrases on our list on your kids and tell/show us screen shots of how they react? We could publish your responses! We'll blur out all names in screen shots, and do let us know if you'd like your letter to remain anonymous. Oh, and don't forget to send us the slang words you used when you were at school. 

What the kids are saying these days:

@ me next time 

This term originated on Twitter, where you could "subtweet" someone, that is, talk about them indirectly. Telling someone to "@" you is telling them to stop being shady and talk to you directly if there's an issue, instead of behind your back. Even though it refers to online interaction, people use it in real life too. 

It is said more jokingly these days, though.

For example: If you say, "Someone in this house doesn't wash up properly," your child could say "@ me next time, Mom."

A whole meal

If someone is looking good, they're "a whole meal". This phrase does have somewhat of a sexual connotation, so don't go throwing it around.


If someone is regular, boring or does typical things, they are "basic".


If a song is really good or enjoyable, it's a "bop" or a "banger".


Someone who enjoys the lavish and extravagant things in life.

For example: Did you see her Gucci fanny pack?"

"Yeah, she's so boujee."


If someone does something the internet deems "problematic", they are "cancelled".

For example: "Did you see what R Kelly did to those women?"

"Yes, he's definitely cancelled!"


A response to being "called out", confronted or insulted. Getting back at someone. 

Clapbacks are supposed to be smart and witty responses that "burns" your opponent.  


In social media context, "clout" means having a great social influence or following, being popular or being favoured in certain situations because of your social media or general social presence.




When something is of high quality.  

For example: "Did you see those dank memes I sent you?"


For real/definitely/seriously/I agree.

Example 1: "This song is such a bop!"


Example 2: "I won a car!"


Also see: What your children really think about your WhatsApp chain messages, videos and memes


A Millennial/Gen Z way of saying "dog" and "puppy".

Doing the most 

Being a bit too much, looking for attention; someone who is trying a bit too hard to impress others.

Going the extra mile but making yourself look silly in the process. 


"Roast" or insult. Generally used in the term "drag me".

For example: "Your feet are really smelly."

"Wow, drag me." 


An outfit; usually refers to a really good one.

For example, if you saw an outfit you really like, you'd say "drip".

Drip also refers to being "dripped" in expensive jewellery and diamonds. 


...please don't make me explain this one.

"Dzaddy" (oftentimes said without the "z", sadly) refers to an attractive man.

For example: "Did you see how good he looks today?"

"Yeah, what a dzaddy!" 


Someone who is out there, extravagant and loves taking things to a whole new level of flamboyance. 

For example: "Did you see she was wearing a sequin neon top to gym?" 

"Yeah she's so extra."


A womaniser, player; someone who uses women for sexual pleasure, slut-shames them and has minimal respect for them, if any. Just an overall piece of [retracted].


When someone is crafty and witty and can impressively manipulate situations to work out in their favour. They are too slick and smooth with it.

For example: "I went into the interview with no skill but finessed it and got the job."


I feel like doing... I am going to do. 

Example 1: "I'm finna get some food" (I feel like getting some food).

Example 2: "I'm finna ace this test" (I am going to ace this test).


Something that is cool or hot (ironically).

For example: "Those creps are fire."

"You're looking so fire today."


'Fit, as in outfit.

For example: "That fit is fire!"


Show off your possessions; may not necessarily be overt though. For example, you could be wearing something that's rather expensive and someone could say, "You're flexing today" even though you didn't intend to. It's all relative.

"Flex on your ex" is another popular term the kids like to use, meaning that you're showing your ex you're doing better since the break-up. 

You don't necessary have to flex with tangible things though, you can flex with knowledge and wisdom too, for instance.  


A term of endearment you'd use with a friend or acquaintance. 

For example: "What's up my G?"

"G" is short for "gangster" or "gangsta" (you know).


Greatest Of All Time.

For example: "It's a shame Mac Miller passed."

"Yeah, he was the GOAT."


Ignoring someone or not replying to their texts, usually after a period of texting, seeing, or talking to them consistently. Someone usually ghosts you if they are not, or no longer, interested in you for whatever reason it may be.

For example: "Has Alex replied to your texts yet?"

"No, I think he's ghosting me."

Glo up

A transition in which one looks better than they did before; usually over a longer period of time.

For example: "You look so weird here."

"That was before my glo up!"

Go off

Encouraging someone to keep going when they are saying something valid and important, usually in a quarrel.

Generally said as, "Go off, sis!"

The term could also be said sarcastically when you feel someone is spewing false information and you correct them and end with "but go off, I guess..."

For example: "Climate change isn't even that important, it's all a social construct."

"Climate change is real and important, but go off I guess."

Guap [gwop]

Money, lots of it.


Somehow the Italian luxury fashion brand became a new way of saying "good" or "it's all good".

For example: "Is that fine with you?"

"Yeah man, it's Gucci." 


Hungry + angry= hangry. 

The anger is usually a result of the hunger.

"Horngry" is another popular term, but I'm going to let you figure that one out for yourself. 


When something is really cool.

For example: "Have you seen his new shoes?"

"Yeah those are hard!"


When something is annoyingly mushy, cringe-worthy or borderline dumb, it's "headass". 

For example: "Did you see he posted another 'anniversary' picture for their third month together?"

"That's so headass."

If you really want to blow people's minds, use the term "deadass headass".


Not a new addition to the list, this South Africanism has been around for a while. This word can be substituted for pretty much every reaction word, ever. 

Example 1: "My phone got stolen."


Example 2: "I just picked up a R200."


Example 3: "My cat just died."



Many, lots of.

For example: "Did you see Nike sent him some free creps?"

"Yeah, he's got hella clout."

Also see: WATCH: How well do you know the kids' Top 40 hits?


The opposite of lowkey. Being open, sure and overt about something. Emphasising something. 

For example: "I highkey want to go to the beach today."


Making a big deal about something, "hype it up."

Showing disapproval towards something that many people find good but you don't. The disapproval usually stems from the fact that people are showing a liking towards something for the wrong reasons such as social assimilation, popularity or "clout".

For example: "Did you hear his new album, it's hard!"

"Nah it's just hype."

The term also refers to excitement, "I'm so hype for this new song!" 


A hypebeast is someone who only likes things that are "hyped" or super popular. They go with the wave and oftentimes lack individuality.

Certain clothing brands are also considered "hypebeast" brands.

For example: "Did you see his new Supreme shirt?"

"Yeah, what a hypebeast."


Loss, or losing at something. When you do something dumb, it's an "L".

Usually said as "Catch this L" or "take the L".

The opposite of "L" is "W" (win), to which you "take the dub".

Left me on read

When someone just reads your text and doesn't respond to you, they "left you on read."

Let's get this bread

A motivational phrase that refers to the "grind" and working hard to obtain the "bread", that is money, success.


When something is amazing, cool or fun, it's "lit".

"Lit" also refers to being drunk, as in "I had too many shots and now I'm lit."

Live your best life

This phrase refers to someone who is seen living it up and putting their happiness first or living lavishly and seems to be having the best time overall. It also refers to someone revelling in their success.

For example: "I got offered a job in New York."

"Yesss! Live your best life."


The opposite of highkey. Being coy, not putting too much of your business out there.

For example: "I didn't see any pictures of you guys online, are you dating?"

"Yeah, but we're just keeping things lowkey."

Must be nice

A remark made when you're envious of something, usually someone who seems to just effortlessly get everything they want.

For example: "Did you see Kylie got a Ferrari for her mom?"

"Wow, must be nice."

Netflix and chill

I'm not too sure people are still saying this, but it basically means going to someone's house and watching Netflix but not really watching Netflix (if you know what I mean). To phrase this in a parent-y way: just some hanky panky going on there.

No cap

"I'm being serious", "seriously". 

For example: "I could really do with a burger right now no cap."


You use this phrase to hype your friends or yourself; quite a big social media word at the moment.

For example: "YAAAS QUEEN."



Same WhatsApp group

When two things have something in common, whatever those things or people may be, you say they are in the "same WhatsApp group."

Secure the bag

Get that money!

Doing whatever you need to do to get your money. Securing your riches and finances, even if you have to be slick about it.

For example: "Did you hear she's dating that really old rich guy?" 

"Secure the bag, sis!"


Self-deprecating humour, "dragging" or making fun of yourself.

Sending me

When you find something hilarious, you say "this is sending me."

For example: "Have you seen this video of [ ]? It's sending me!"

Several points were made

This is used in agreement with somebody or if you think something valid was said or someone proved themselves.


Being shocked by something you saw or heard.

For example: "I heard she's engaged now, shook!"


Something that is really cool.

Alternatives (usually not used as often anymore) are "ill" and "dope".


Short for sister, but most people use it gender-neutrally. A term of great endearment but also belittlement, depending on the tone and context it's used in.

Skrr Skrr

"Skrr Skrr" could be a person, a style, an aesthetic, a type of music and for some, a way of life.

It originated in the "trap music" era and constitutes many elements that stemmed from that.  




Similar to "a whole meal", but more of a lighter version. When you tell someone they're looking like a snack, it means they're looking gooood. Strictly reserved for non-family members, otherwise it's weird. 

Snatched edges

The term "my edges are snatched" is used to acknowledge excellence or admiration; when someone is looking so good or does something so excellent it "snatches your edges", meaning you figuratively lose your hair, or your wig goes flying. 

For example, when you see a really good picture of someone, you say "my edges are snatched."

So done

A term Millennials/Gen Zs use to express being over something. Also what they say after a good laugh or seeing something so ridiculous, it's funny.

Stan/fake stan

Originating from the Eminem song "Stan", this word refers to a super fan, usually of a celebrity. A super-super fan (could be borderline worrisome in certain cases). 

A "fake stan" is someone who pretends to be a stan but barely knows the first thing about the celebrity they claim to be stanning.


When someone is effortlessly stylish or has a distinct style, it is their "steez" or they've got "steez".

For example: "Have you seen his outfit today? He's got mad steez!" 

Or "He's got that biker steez in all black."

Also see: How much say should parents have over their child's hairstyle? One mom got an earful when she turned to the internet for answers


When someone is buff or "ripped", you say they're "swole."

Take several seats

When someone is "doing the most", trying too hard or just being kind of annoying, you tell them to "take several seats".

Tea/What's the tea?/Spill the tea

"Tea" means gossip, scandal, the scoop.

For example: "Did you hear about  [ ]?"

"No, what's the tea?" or "No, spill the tea."


Positively referring to someone who is rather voluptuous in the thigh-butt region.

"Damn you thicc."

This ain't it, chief

Expressing disapproval. Another way for saying "this just isn't the one" or "nah".

For example, seeing the price of petrol increase, "This ain't it, chief."


This term stemmed from the term "internet troll", and refers to someone who is joking about something, specifically trying to press your buttons to which they say, "I'm just trolling."

Weird flex but okay

When someone boasts about something no-one really cares about, something that is kind of strange or when someone is being a humble brag, it's a "weird flex".

For example: "Look, I can fit my entire fist in my mouth."

"Weird flex, but okay."

What's her @?

"Who is that girl?"




Correlates with "snatched edges". A shortened version of "snatched my wig" or "my wig is flying", which expresses admiration or excellence.

For example: "Did you see this picture she uploaded? Wig!"  


Another way for saying "that's crazy" or when someone is being rather provocative, you say, "you wild".


Being socially and politically aware; someone who speaks up for social justice and educates themselves on important topics. 

Someone who chooses to not be ignorant. 


Expressing approval or excitement; basically different takes on the word "yes".


This is a very complex and versatile word that can be used in pretty much every context. 

Example 1: "See you later."


Example 2: "Do you want an apple?"


Example 3: "The state of this economy though, yeet!"

Yikes/That's a yikes

This term is similar to "hectic".

For example: "Did you hear about that guy who cheated on his wife with her mother?"

"That's a yikes!"

Chat back

What slang words are your kids using? Want to use some of these words and phrases on our list on your kids and tell/show us screen shots of how they react? We could publish your responses! We'll blur out all names in screen shots, and do let us know if you'd like your letter to remain anonymous. Oh, and don't forget to send us the slang words you used when you were at school. 

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 371 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
73% - 2104 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
14% - 411 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.