A Parent’s Guide to TikTok Slang
If you’ve ever wondered why your teen or tween spends so much time on TikTok, you’re not alone. TikTok is an incredibly popular app right now, and for Generation Z it’s an important part of their cultural landscape. While there’s a ton of new content added every minute — and much of it has a flavor-of-the-week type of popularity — there’s an entire collection of words and phrases that kids regularly use on the app that has spilled over into regular slang.
Here are some of the phrases you’ll see over and over again on TikTok (and now other social media platforms) — with a translation for parents so you’ll know what your kid is actually saying.
It’s the for me
This incredibly popular fill-in-the-blank phrase is used in two primary ways: a conversation where you go back and forth stating things you either love about something or can’t stand about something. For example, if you’re talking about why you don’t like school, you could say: “It’s the early mornings for me,” and your friend would say, “It’s the Zoom calls for me.”
He on X Games mode
ESPN’s X Games are the Olympics of extreme sports like skateboarding, BMX biking, snowboarding, and more. The phrase originated on the now-defunct video streaming platform Vine — a guy films his friend doing a cool trick and reacts by saying, “He on X Games mode!” This audio is now played on TikTok over all kinds of activities where someone does something impressive — but always with a heavy dose of sarcasm.
Say sike rn
Remember saying something false when you were growing up and then screaming “SIKE!” to indicate you were joking? Kids today have a similar version of it. “Say sike rn” translates to “please tell me you’re joking right now.”
You’re wrong but go off
This is a sassy way to acknowledge that someone is incorrect about an idea, but that you know they’re determined to keep spouting their opinion no matter what.
Need to add a definitive closer to something you’re trying to say? Instead of saying “AND THAT’S FINAL, MISTER,” like your mom would have said, try using “PERIODT.” As in, there’s nothing more to add to this sentence or conversation — it’s over. The final T makes the word even more crisp and clear.
Want to ask how someone is doing? With your friends, you’d probably just ask, “How ya been?” But your kid may just ask their BFF: “Vibe check?” If your kid thinks you’re easy-going, fun, and forgiving of small mistakes, they might say you “pass the vibe check.”
We stan a queen/king
As you may know, to “stan” someone or something is to be a fan of that person or thing. When you say you “stan a _____ queen/king,” that means you’re supporting someone who truly deserves it — a compliment. As in: “Harry Styles was really cool about asking for permission before touching people while shooting the music video for ‘Watermelon Sugar.’ We stan a consent king.”
It really do be like that sometimes
This simple saying is akin to “it is what it is” — an acceptance of life’s ups and downs. It’s also used to show that what someone is going through is relatable.
A “simp” refers to someone (usually but not always a boy) who goes out of their way to do things for the person they’re attracted to in the hope that they’ll start dating — but who ends up stuck in the “friend zone.” Because of this, it tends to be used as an insult. Simp nation, then, refers to this collective group of people. It’s often a warning, as in, “Don’t become a part of Simp nation!”
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