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Top 20 Gen Z Slang Terms That Baffle Older People

“Every generation invents their own fresh take on slang. 

Gen Z slang “hits different” for middle-aged people and these are the top 20 terms that leave them most baffled.

A poll of 2,000 adults found “choong,” “leng” and “it slaps” are most likely to leave over 45s scratching their heads.

While “snatched,” “peng” and “boujee” are also terms Gen Z use that baffle those older adults.

Others are confused by “charge it,” “aired” and “shook.”

Gen Z slang “hits different” for middle-aged people and these are the top 20 terms that leave them most baffled. PHOTO BY MEHMET TURGUT KIRKGOZ/UNSPLASH

As a result, 26 percent of older adults have turned to Google or Urban Dictionary to work out the meaning behind their kids’ or younger colleagues’ cryptic utterings.

But nearly one in 10 (seven percent) wouldn’t dream of owning up to being unsure about the meaning of a slang word or phrase.

The research was commissioned by Mentos Gum, which also took to the streets with top influencer Nella Rose to ask Gen Z about the slang words they use that their parents don’t always understand.

It also emerged 70 percent of Gen Z – the generation born after 1996 – find it easy to pick up new slang, compared to just 22 percent of those over 45.

While 34 percent of Millennials – those aged 25-41 – are likely to attempt to keep up with the latest lingo, compared with just eight percent of Boomers in their 60s and 70s.

A spokesperson for Mentos Gum said: “Every generation invents their own fresh take on slang, and for some, it’s very important to feel up to date with current phrases.

“Staying in the loop with slang is almost like learning phrases in a new language before you go abroad – it can sometimes feel like a necessary way to feel involved in a culture.”

The study also found 49 percent of all respondents believe Gen Z own the book of the quirkiest terminology.

However, the term “far out,” often used in the 1960s, was recognized and understood by just 32 percent of Gen Z.

Gen Z slang “hits different” for middle-aged people and these are the top 20 terms that leave them most baffled. PHOTO BY MEHMET TURGUT KIRKGOZ/UNSPLASH

But the word “groovy” is still going strong, with 75 percent of Boomers and 51 percent of Gen Z familiar with the term.

When it comes to modern slang, if it wasn’t for hearing the unfamiliar jargon on social media (38 percent), TV and film (36 percent) or on public transport (26 percent) – many would be none the wiser.

And 28 percent of those over 45 said the new slang they hear comes from their own children.

But for 21 percent of older adults, it feels “difficult” to relate to the youth because of the vocabulary, with 29 percent just smiling and nodding to save face but having no idea where to chip in.

It also emerged 25 percent of those polled, via OnePoll, reckon they hear one or two words a day they don’t recognize.

Nearly four in 10 (38 percent) notice some slang phrases are said in an exaggerated way and 34 percent have seen them accompanied with a hand action for best effect.

While 26 percent have also observed it performed with an accent.

Once they’ve wrapped their heads around all the rules, just 15 percent of middle-aged folk will attempt to use the saying themselves.

Mentos’ spokesperson added: “It’s up for debate as to which generation has the best slang words and phrases.

“But it’s interesting to see that the Gen Z slang “phrasebook” is considered by so many to be the quirkiest.

“It looks as though Millennials are still saying ‘yes’ to fresh new words as they come along, but will they drop the words as they get older?

“And which of these new slang terms will still be going strong in 20 or 30 years’ time – who knows?”


  1. Choong – describes someone attractive: “That girl on the train was choong.”
  2. Leng – describes a beautiful object or person: “That guy is leng.” or “This painting is leng.”
  3. “It slaps” – when something is desirable or good: “This meal slaps.”
  4. “This hits different”– something out of the ordinary or better than usual: “I haven’t eaten all day, this pizza hits different.”
  5. “Charge it”- accept it and move on: “I’m heartbroken” – “Oh well, charge it.”
  6. Aired – to be ignored: “I’ve been messaging her all day but she aired me.”
  7. Shook – shocked, when you can’t believe what you’re seeing: “I’m shook.”
  8. Peng – someone or something very attractive or desirable: “He’s peng.” or “That’s peng.”
  9. Boujee – something luxurious: “This restaurant is so boujee.”
  10. Snatched – beautiful body or face: “Your make-up is snatched” or “Her body is
  11. Fire – something that is really good: “This song is fire.”
  12. Lit – good review / drunk: “This party is lit!” or “He’s too lit, don’t let him have more to drink.”
  13. Slay – succeeding or looking great: “Your boots slay” or “You slayed in that audition.”
  14. “Did that” – if something amazing was done: “You did that” or “That film was amazing, Emma Stone did that with her role.”
  15. Gassed – excited: “I can’t believe we got tickets to Glastonbury – I’m gassed!”
  16. Drip – describes an outfit, accessory or person: “Your outfit is drippy” or “He had insane drip.”
  17. Ick – cringe, something you get: “He ate like a dog, it gave me the ick” or “She’s way too clingy, it’s such an ick.”
  18. Fresh – how someone carries themselves, someone that is dressed well: “You look fresh!”
  19. Period – ends a statement or to strongly agree: “I’m not talking about this anymore, period”
  20. Swag – confidence or charm, someone who is dressed well: “Check out his swag” or “He just has this swag about him.”

Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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