Teen Slang Through the Ages
Hark! As long as there have been teenagers, there’s been slang. Here at Bark, it’s our job to learn and understand the popular lingo with kids.
To illustrate that words and phrases constantly change throughout the generations—and not the sentiments, which can be universal — we’ve translated a few of the most common slang expressions today into fun, Ye Olde English-style phrases.
And because the parents at Bark are all Gen Xers and Vintage Millennials, we’ve got that translation for you, as well.
WTF? Nay, dear reader, it does not stand for wheretofore. It means … well … it means what the f**k. I know, we’re clutching our pearls, too. Read on for more!
Teen Slang: It’s lit, fam!
Ye Olde Teenspeake: ‘Tis lit, kin!
Gen X Translation: Kids use “lit” to describe something as awesome or exciting. “Fam”? That’s a close friend, fam.
Teen Slang: THOT (That Ho Over There)
Ye Olde Teenspeake: THOT (That Handmaid Over There)
Gen X Translation: THOT can be used either disparagingly to refer to women or as a joke among friends.
Teen Slang: U up?
Ye Olde Teenspeake: “Art thou awake and ready for tomfoolery? Prithee come over, if so.”
Gen X Translation: Teens send this after-hours message to people they’re attracted to, usually with the hope of sexting, or, in some cases, meeting up.
Teen Slang: Bae
Ye Olde Teenspeake: “Yon oft-smooched true love for whom one cares immensely”
Gen X Translation: It’s a girlfriend or boyfriend or romantic partner. Or something you really really like. Example: “Tacos are bae.”
Teen Slang: Bye, Felicia!
Ye Olde Teenspeake: Good morrow, Francesca!
Gen X Translation: You say “Bye, Felicia” when you want someone to get out of your face. It’s generally intended as a dismissive kiss-off. More often, it’s said jokingly as a goodbye with no real bad feelings.
Teen Slang: YOLO (You Only Live Once)
Ye Olde Teenspeake: YOBLO (ye only but liveth once)
Gen X Translation: A sentiment similar to the Latin “carpe diem” (“seize the day”), “YOLO” is often used as a justification for irrational or risky behavior.
Teen Slang: Netflix and Chill
Ye Olde Teenspeake: Fireplace and Bare Thine Ankles
Gen X Translation: While this expression literally means to go over to someone’s house to watch TV, it’s most commonly used as a metaphor to head to someone’s house to hook up.
Teen Slang: Send Nudes
Ye Olde Teenspeake: “Sketch thine whole self and dispatch them posthaste.”
Gen X Translation: A request to send a text message of naked pictures to a recipient.
Teen Slang: GOAT (Greatest Of All Time)
Ye Olde Teenspeake: This one doesn’t translate well, unfortunately. It’s actually just the family goat, Phillip. Kids are weird in every time period.
Gen X Translation: Folks use GOAT usually when referring to a well-regarded sports icon. Ex. Lebron James is the GOAT.