Your guide to Gen Z slang — to help you understand what your kids and Gen Z co-workers mean

A young “Zoomer” of the Gen Z generation is completely absorbed with their smartphone.
A young “Zoomer” of the Gen Z generation is completely absorbed with their smartphone. | Michelle Budge, Deseret News

Do you feel sus-ed out by your Gen Z colleagues’ slang? Do you not know what it means when a Gen Zer says that their lunch was bussin’ — no cap?

Slay. Dank. Emojis.

Gen Zers speak in a different way than generations before them.

If you’re feeling confused about what your Gen Z colleagues are saying, you’re not alone. Per The Washington Post, this form of slang confuses older colleagues who don’t speak in emojis without using any punctuation. Mary Clare Wall told The Washington Post that her use of the term “slay” confused her colleagues.


Gen Z office speak has been the subject of fascination for a while.

In a BBC article about how Gen Z is influencing office speak to become more casual, Kate Morgan wrote, “It goes beyond slang and internet-speak abbreviations. Gen Z, used to informal, near-constant contact, spurns the prim email in favour of a quick Slack message. But that can be a tough pill to swallow for older generations, who are accustomed to dictating the professional rules of communication.”

According to BBC, while slang is not new, the way that Gen Z uses it is different than other generations. Jonah Stillman, author of “Gen Z @ Work,” told BBC that Gen Z values authenticity. Since they value authenticity, they are redefining what is considered professional.


Gen Z age range

Gen Z or Generation Z includes anyone who was born between 1997 and 2012, according to Pew Research.

What’s the next generation after Gen Z?

Generation Alpha follows Gen Z. Millennials are the generation before Gen Z.

What’s the most popular Gen Z slang word?

Letter Solver did research to determine the most loved Gen Z slang words. The terms “sleeping on” and “yeet” were the most popular. “Sleeping on” is used when someone is saying a person is missing out on something good, while “yeet” is used to mean “throw,” but also as a generic positive exclamation.

Other words which made this list were catch these hands, ratio, bussin’, glow up, mid, smol, low-key and rent free.

What’s the least popular Gen Z slang word?

The least popular Gen Z slang terms are clapback and cheugy, per Letter Solver. Other words which made this list were facts, valid, boujee, flex, big brain, bop, slay and sending me.

Gen Z slang explained

If you’re an older colleague who doesn’t understand Gen Z speak, here’s a quick primer on some common Gen Z terms for you, so that you can communicate effectively.


Glow-up: Think of this term as a way of describing how someone improved from where they used to be.

Slay: This word means to do something well or to do a good job.

Bet: Bet is a way of saying “yes” or “OK” or “it’s on.”

Vibing: Gen Z is big on vibes. Vibing describes a generic positive feeling that someone has about something.

Stan: This word is synonymous with supporting something.

Sus: Short-hand for suspicious.

Facts: This word is a way of saying that something is true.

Simp: A term for someone who admires another person. It’s usually used in a derogatory way to imply someone is paying weird amounts of attention to another person.

Slaps: If someone says that something “slaps,” they mean that it is really good.

Understood the assignment: If someone tells you that you “understood the assignment,” that means that you did something well and understood what you are supposed to do.

Cap: Cap is a word that means a lie. If someone says “no cap,” it means something like “I’m being totally honest.”

Tea: Refers to gossip aka spilling the tea.

Valid: This is a word that people use to express that something is understandable.

W or L: This is shorthand for “win” as in a good thing or “loss” as in a bad thing.

Big yikes: This is a way of saying something is bad.

Basic: This word is typically used adjectivally in connection with a person who is being described as unoriginal.

Ghost: This word is often used in dating. It means to stop talking to someone without telling the person that you are doing that.

Main character: This means that someone is the center of attention. It’s often used reflexively, not descriptively.

Hits different: This means that something is received in a positive and unique way.

Dank: Fun fact, per Mental Floss, this is the most popular slang word in Utah. It’s typically used in meme culture to refer to a hard-hitting meme and doesn’t have a typical definition.

It’s also important to know that Gen Zers often don’t use capitalization or punctuation when communicating over text or messages.