Words With Kids: A Mom’s Guide to Kids’ Slang


Once, I saw a bumper sticker on a minivan while I was in the school drop off lane. It simply said, “I used to be cool.” Oh, mama… I feel the exact same way most days. And I was cool back in the 1990’s when I was in school. I had the pegged jeans, high bangs, slouch socks, scrunchies and overalls. But more than that, I acted cool, and I talked cool. I remember bringing home certain slang phrases. My mother often gave me that look when she didn’t approve, or she’d flash the confused look of “What did you just say?”

My son recently started middle school and is already trying out several new slang words, phrases and expressions. Below is a list to help us as we decode those super cool kids of ours.

Current Slang Dictionary for Formerly Cool Moms

  • Awks: Awkward.
  • Bae: Stands for Before Anyone Else, a term of endearment for your boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Cancel: A rejection of a person, place or thing.
  • Cheddar: Money.
  • Chillaxin: Chillin’ and relaxing.
  • Crashy: Crazy and trashy.
  • Curve: To reject someone romantically.
  • Dope: Cool, awesome.
  • Extra: Excessive, over the top.
  • GOAT: Stands for “greatest of all time.”
  • Gucci: Good, cool.
  • Hangry: Hungry and angry.
  • ​Hundo P: 100 percent certain.
  • I’m weak: That was funny.
  • Lit: Awesome, cool.
  • Low Key: A warning that what they’re saying isn’t something they want everyone to know.
  • Requestion – Request and a question.
  • Rides: Sneakers or shoes.
  • Salty: Jealous or bitter.
  • Shook: Shocked, surprised.
  • Sic: Something that is cool.
  • Sip tea: To mind your own business.
  • Skurt: To go away or leave.
  • Slides: Sandals or flip flops.
  • Snatched: Perfect, fashionable.
  • Straight Fire: Hot or trendy.
  • Thirsty: Trying to get attention.
  • Throw shade: To give someone a nasty look.
  • Tope: Tight and dope
  • Trash: Useless, unimportant.
  • Turnt: To get rowdy or angry.
  • Wavy: to be dressed unique and really cool.
  • Yasss: Yes.

What slang words or phrases has your tween or teen brought home that are missing from this list?

And… If you enjoyed this post, read more from our ongoing Words with Kids series here

This is the ninth in a series about communication between you and your child. Why focus on communication? Brazilian educator Paulo Freire says it best: "Yet only through communication can human life hold meaning." We talk to our children from birth; we spend countless hours and millions of words communicating with them over a lifetime. It's critical to our success as parents to communicate well. Our conversations and connections give lives meaning for both us as parents and our children. Over the next several months, we will continue to explore ideas of what good communication looks like in different facets of parenthood.
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Gretchen has lived in Colorado since she was 12 and never wants to leave. She has a 13-year-old son who is into having a good time, especially with sports and Fortnite. Together, they are navigating the teen world of puberty and growing up. She has a wonderful husband, having been surprised and blessed with a second chance at love. Their family enjoys playing board games, watching Avengers movies, and sharing dumb jokes over good food. In her free time, she loves to read, shop for purses, play games, watch football, laugh with her family, cook delicious food, and dream of the next home improvement project.


  1. If you’re not cool, then I cannot imagine what I am. I am not hot, just ‘uncool’. I’ve just discovered that there is a definite language barrier with my grandsons. However, you did leave one word out…namely, “like”. I don’t don’t know exactly what it means, but it does seem to fill in for “duh”. Language is supposed to evolve not devolve.

    Who am I to talk? I learned English in Texas just one room down from Latin class.

  2. Dad,
    Thanks for reading the blog post! I sometimes have a language barrier with my own son. I’m getting less and less cool as the days pass by, especially since I’ve entered into a new decade!

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