Their grandparents, the Baby Boomers, first brought youth slang into the spotlight with words like cool, man and dude, but the youth of today draw from a larger repertoire of slang which is radically different from previous youth lexicons, compounded by new technology and opened up by a global youth culture. Generation Z could be termed the ‘cut and paste’ generation, having whole conversations using phrases they’ve picked up from movies, viral YouTube clips and other media they consume.
Here are just some of the thousands of words that have come into being over the last few years…
‘bromance’, ‘cray cray’, ‘defs’, ‘harro!’, ‘jks’, ‘kgo’, ‘mybad!’, ‘onesie’, ‘probs’, ‘selfies’, ‘totes’ and ‘yolo’.
Here’s the alphabet according to Gen Z.
For more information on youth slang and language, Mark McCrindle has written a book titled Word Up: A Lexicon and Guide to Communication in the 21st Century, which boasts such chapters as Influences on 21st Century Language, Literacy and the New Generations, and Youth Slang.