You're not the only person overwhelmed by the influx of new words these days — 'slang overload' is happening by design

By now you've probably at least heard the words "fanum tax," "Skibidi toilet," "rizzler" and "gyatt." If you're really in the know, you might even understand what they mean. But if you're feeling overwhelmed by all this new lingo, then you are unwittingly a part of a trend yourself — it's called slang overload.

Slang overload is the grouping of internet-born jargon that when mashed together yields a sentence with little meaning. Even if the terms are technically used correctly, the humor comes from the struggle to understand what on earth the speaker is talking about.

It's the crux of the TikTok trend replacing song lyrics with a series of indecipherable slang terms, like "sticking out your gyatt for the rizzler / you're so Skibidi / you're so Fanum Tax." The influx of slang is purportedly making Gen Z nervous about the rise of Gen Alpha, the ever-expanding generation of kids born after 2010.

One such instance of slang overload went viral in June when TikToker Henry De Tolla, known online as h00pify, announced (in an eerily monotone voice) that "Livvy Dunn rizzed up Baby Gronk."

"Am I going crazy or is this all gibberish," one commenter wrote."This just sanded by brain down to a chicken cutlet," another said.

Astrid Star, an artist, created a video about slang overload for Know Your Meme and told In The Know that the appeal of slang overload comes from the "youthful aura of irony and boundary-pushing" that naturally appears in younger generations. In a way, their delight in perplexing those who were born before them is a display of optimism that they can have an impact on the world around them.

"Kids have big ideas, big dreams and want to tear things down," Star explained. "In a weird, subconscious sense, I guess running around on the schoolyard screaming about Garten of Banban is sort of a big, fat middle finger to the man. I think that's fun."

On the other hand, harnessing slang to make a joke signals an awareness that older generations are not always going to know what's going on. In a viral video, man-on-the-street TikToker Kyle Keller approached an older man to ask, “Am I a simp for mewing to looksmax, or is edging goated?" The man, seemingly unfazed, replied that "edging is goated."

“He’s giving sus Ohio NPC vibes. Save your rizz for Baby Gronk or Livvy Dunn, please," Keller said, ending the video. Comments on the video called the interaction "brain rot," poking fun at just how nonsensical these slang terms can be.

Of course, slang overload isn't a new trend — it's just evolving. According to Know Your Meme, It first appeared in 2020 in the form of text memes in which a confused-looking person is surrounded by various terms. Back then, the words included "cringe," "simp," "anon" and "e-girl."

Star told In The Know that the word "cringe" was considered fringe internet slang in 2016 but has since gained widespread use. It's possible that could happen to many of the terms that are popular now.

"I'm not sure about some of the more basement-dwelling, terminally online phrases like 'Jumbo Josh,' but I could definitely see a word like 'rizz' cementing itself in our lexicon for a while," Star said. [Older generations are probably] slinging words like 'cringe' and 'based' at the local diner eating oversalted eggs Benedict. Everyone loves a fun new word."

With every generation comes new terminology that's unique to their experience, temporarily baffling those who came before them and rendering past slang deeply uncool, like "groovy" or "YOLO." In TikToker Nicole Pellegrino's viral video, her Gen Alpha sister and friend declared that words like "slay" and "bet" are thoroughly out of style, much to Pellegrino's dismay. It's all just a part of life — being a member of the youngest and most forward-thinking generation, aging, then fighting to keep up with the hottest, newest thing.

It's not entirely a generational issue either. Gen Alpha might not even be the originators of these terms, as the oldest members of the generation are 13, though they are responsible for spreading them. Many start within Black culture or among gamers, only to become popularized with people who spend lots of time online and are comfortable posting.

"In 2084, aliens are going to crash down on Earth and we'll all be saying words like 'grobbis' and 'glooble' certainly," Star told In The Know. It will overwhelm us earthlings at first, but we'll eventually come to accept or move past the slang terms, as we always do.

Thumbnail credit: @mmmjoemele, @h00pify, @kylemkeller / Screenshots TikTok