Identifying the Meanings of “Common” Teenage Slang

Imagine this:


It’s a Friday night, you just completed the three hours of homework and missing assignments for that one class you’ve been brutally neglecting since the beginning of the school year, and you decide to reward yourself with a nice, long social media break. You log onto TikTok (Quick PSA: if you’re one of those psycho’s who prefers Instagram Reels-or worse-YouTube Shorts over TikTok, you deeply concern me and I hope you get better soon) and the VERY first video that pops up on your FYP contains the most unintelligible phrase known to mankind, yet somehow everyone knows what it means. 


Another PSA: The contents in this article will not be referring to/discussing slang derived from AAVE, and my above statement doesn’t apply to that category of words. 


Perhaps it’s just me. Maybe I’m just uncultured in the ways of Gen-Z lingo. Scratch that, I’m DEFINITELY uncultured in the ways of Gen-Z lingo, and I have no one to blame but myself. However, if on the off chance that you also have an aversion to the pop-culture side of social media and have also been left in the dark about the new ways of speaking of our generation, then don’t you worry, because I’ve got you covered. Side note, if I ever tell you not to worry because I’m handling something, just completely ignore me because chances are, I’m lying. But I swear, this time, I’m not. 


Phrase #1: “Situationship:” Alright, I think most of us have a general idea of what a situationship is. I’m uncultured, but I don’t live under a rock. But for those of you who don’t, don’t worry. I’m only SILENTLY judging (like I have any right to). A situationship is basically the complicated in-between of “in a relationship” and “no, they’re just a friend.” This is a family friendly article, so I’m just gonna pretend that’s the jist of it and move onto the next phrase. 


Phrase #2: “Mood:” Okok, this one may seem self explanatory to some, but it genuinely did puzzle me when I first saw it. Whether or not that was a universal experience, or I just have an unmatched level of stupidity, we will never know. Turns out, “mood” doesn’t refer to your present emotion, but instead the general vibe of a statement or situation. Go figure.


Phase #3: “Lit:” And no, folks, I’m not talking about a lightbulb. Although the two do have similarities. Lit as slang tends to be used to describe an exciting or “fire” event. And ironically, I’m using slang, to describe slang. My ruthlessness clearly knows no bounds. 


Phase #4: “GOAT:” Turns out, not only is this phrase considered slang, but it’s ALSO an acronym. A double whammy, if anyone even says that anymore. Maybe I could be an honorary boomer, or perhaps a baseball announcer. I mean, they still say that, right? Anyways, GOAT stands for Greatest Of All Time, so obviously not me, but I digress. Humor at the detriment of myself is a coping mechanism, ok? Don’t judge me. 


Phase #5: “Dead:” I understand spooky season has just passed, and although I haven’t planned on writing any articles with any relation to the popular holiday (which is subject to change), I felt a little nod to the 31st was adequate. To say “dead” in this day in age can either mean the cease of function of the physical body, or laughing so hard you accidentally spray milk right out of your nose. That’s absolutely not a personal experience. I’m lactose intolerant, and it was Coca Cola, which makes it 10 times worse.


Before we wrap it up and call it a day, I would just like some recognition for a moment. You have no idea how difficult it is to look up “Gen-Z slang 2023” AS a Gen-Z. Maybe you think I’m overreacting, so I implore you to do it. Right now. This second, preferably. If I had to suffer, I’m at least gonna take you all down with me. Maybe that’s a little cruel, but I didn’t really care before, and I’m not gonna start now. Look at me, acting like I have a spine. I guess people really can change. 


(I researched all of these terms in order to make sure they weren’t AAVE before I included them. If I was mistaken, and I accidentally did include one of those terms here, please email me at so I can remedy the issue. Have a lovely day!)


Works Cited

Klein, Elana. “16 slang terms Gen Zers are using in 2023 and what they really mean.” Business Insider, Axel Springer SE., 8 May 2023, Accessed 25 Oct. 2023.

Morin, Amy. “Teenage Slang Dictionary for Parents.” Edited by Andrea Rice. VeryWell Family, DotDash Media, 22 Aug. 2022, Accessed 25 Oct. 2023.


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