And we’re back! A general slang dictionary for the 2000s (containing such elemental online basics as NSFW and gif) can be found for your delighted perusal here. And an updated version (from 2020, containing words like yeet, and already outdated! Isn’t it fun how that works) can be found for you here.

The internet moves faster than the speed of light. What was cool to say in 2020 has now evolved like the Tuatara lizard. I fully expect this list to be outdated by December of 2023. From my own (un-researched, uneducated) perspective, current slang owes a lot to the explosive rise and prominence of TikTok, especially TikTok zeitgeist and trending audio. Do with that theory what you will.

Enjoy the list, shake your head at some of the sillier meanings, and I hope it entertains you.

Boujee/Bougie: Adjective. With a much fancier language root than you might expect, this descriptor comes from the historical French word bourgeoisie and carries the same overtones of up-and-coming middle class. This one is extremely fluid, and has been around as slang since the 1970s!

It can be used as an insult, meaning to imply that a person or thing is consumeristic, obsessed with material wealth, and pretentious (Bougie). But in the 2020s it is more often used positively to describe the aesthetic of someone who is more humble and takes pleasure in luxurious, fancy, or special things when they can, but isn’t pretentious about it (Boujee). Context is key, here.

Example: see the song Savage, released in 2020 by rapper Megan Thee Stallion

Vibe/Vibing: adjective/verb. A vibe refers to the emotional atmosphere or general feeling of something. Sensed intuitively, the vibe can be nearly anything because the meaning is so individual. Someone who is ‘vibing’ or ‘just vibing’ is a person who is extremely calm, floating along the river of life with a drink in hand, not worrying about anything. Doing a ‘vibe check’ means to take a moment to emotionally sense the room or situation and decide how you personally feel about it. The vibe can be ‘off’, which means you are uncomfortable.

Example: “Vibe check! Okay, the vibe is way too dark. Let’s go.”

“Look at them just vibing in the corner of the party. We love that for them!”

Rizz: noun/adjective. A shortening of the word ‘charisma’, rizz refers to someone’s personality and ability to seduce or charm someone they are attracted to. With this slang, it’s possible to ‘have mad rizz’, ‘be rizzing’, or know someone with ‘the rizz’, depending on the situation being described. Older generations would use the word ‘game’ instead of rizz.

Example: “He has elite rizz. OMG, I’m thirsty now.”

It’s giving/You’re giving/Serving: Aren’t you glad you learned about vibing? ‘It’s giving’ refers to the vibe or emotional energy something brings to another person. At the core, ‘it’s giving’ describes a situation or the way a person makes you feel. But again this phrase is extremely fluid and can be used in so many different ways. Many of the meanings refer specifically to an outfit or aesthetic. Positively, you would say that someone’s outfit is giving you (something superlative) or that they are serving you a great look. Negatively, you could relate someone’s look or aesthetic to something insulting, or say that their attitude ‘is giving’ something unpleasant.

Example: “I love the gold sequin heels! You’re giving Taylor Swift concert. *heart eyes*”

“Not a fan of your attitude right now, I’m going to need you to dial it back. It’s giving Karen in a Starbucks during Monday morning drink rush.”

Menty-B/Grippy Sock Vacation: Noun. Gen Z is especially fond of using dark humor as a coping mechanism, and this is one great example. Menty-B is shorthand for a ‘mental breakdown’ and grippy sock vacation refers to those non-slip socks given to patients during a trip to an inpatient psychiatric facility. Menty-B is used more flippantly and generally refers to something stressful that might push one towards a mental breakdown. If someone tells you they are thinking about a grippy sock vacay, however, you should consider their mental health to be more serious.

Example: “If I get one more bill today it’s full-on Menty B for me.” Or; “If I forget to take my meds you’ll know, because I’ll be on another grippy sock vacation.”

Bet: In response to a statement, ‘bet’ indicates agreement. It can be more casual, meaning ‘sure’ or ‘definitely’. Or it can be more intense, meaning something like ‘challenge accepted’ or ‘you wanna bet?’

Example: “I’m leaving soon, you ready?” “Bet.”

“You can’t eat that much in one sitting. You have to be full already.”

*reaches for more food* “Bet.”

Era: In an ironic twist, Era refers to what the word actually means. It is a period of time defined by something specific (not necessarily in the past, although it can be). I personally think the word became more prominent in slang because Taylor Swift did an Eras tour in 2023 and she is, of course, a cultural icon. That could be my own mistaken take. In slang vernacular, ‘era’ has come to specifically mean a period of time that is defined by your own current interests, hobbies, or priorities. Instead of referring in general to a historical period, the meaning has become very personal.

Example: “Yeah, I’m going to therapy every week now. This is my self-care era.”

“Life is pepperomia, okay. I’m in my plant-parent era.”

Take a seat/Take several seats: Directive phrase. It literally means ‘go sit down’. In context, the meaning of this phrase is more broad and includes an element of ‘sit down and shut up‘. It’s an indication that what a person is saying or doing is unwelcome. It is a verbal shut down and dismissal. ‘Take several seats’ is more emphatic and indicates a complete rejection of the words or actions under discussion. ‘Okay, Boomer’ or ‘Periodt’ have similar overtones, although they are not interchangeable similes for ‘take several seats’.

Example;

Sending/Sent: Phrase. ‘Sending me’ or ‘sent’ means that something gave you a strong emotional reaction. Several years ago a person would have said ‘screaming!’ or ‘I can’t/cannot’ to mean something much the same. Many years ago, one would have used the acronym ‘ROFL’. They all mean something fairly analogous.

Example: “The way he stepped in the puddle and just disappeared! It sent me. *crying laughing or skull emoji*”

“Your comedy routine is sending me!”

Big Dick Energy/BDE: has been around since at least 2018, but has recently popped up in more songs and cultural references so it feels fresh. It means a sense of self-confidence without cockiness. The connotation of the phrase is usually positive, and despite the term it can be used for any gender. It’s self-assurance and security in the knowledge that a big physical endowment isn’t the sole measure of one’s value.

Example;

Rent Free: If someone says they live rent free to you, you have just been grievously insulted. It’s a phrase used to describe a situation where a person, place, or thing is occupying significant space in someone’s thoughts. It indicates an obsessive interest in something that doesn’t even acknowledge your existence in return. Generally used in a negative way, it can be overused and lose a lot of its punch (see; Twitter).

Example: “Stop giving this air time! They’re living rent free in all your heads.”

“Fox entertainment just lets Biden live in their head rent free, for real. They cannot stop talking about him.”

5 Margaritas: As a fun bonus treat, 5 margaritas is a TikTok audio that is currently making the rounds and the story behind it is hilarious. A nun named Sister Cindy promoting abstinence on college campuses (which is about as useless as the g in lasagna) went viral, possibly because she blamed different sexual behaviors on the amount of margaritas consumed (no, really). A comedian named Angel Moore (That Chick Angel on YouTube) satirized the abstinence speech and added a fun beat, and we were all off to the races! The dances inspired by the satire are a fabulous way to spend your afternoon. Go forth and internet. Have some fun.