Hey, Bae! 10 Teen Slang Phrases That Are Super Popular

In any language, teenagers always seem to have their own separate vocabulary.

Teen slang words often come from popular music and movies, straight from the mouths of famous musicians and actors, while other teen slang words have come directly from viral videos, social media posts and other funny things on the internet.

Today we’ll look at 10 popular slang phrases that teens use. Let’s go!


Why Learn English Slang from Teens?

Most teens would die of embarrassment if they heard an adult using this slang with them in everyday conversation. But their slang still offers you a chance to gain some new skills.

Interestingly enough, every year Merriam-Webster announces a “Word of the Year,” a word that is most frequently looked up by readers. It reveals what the majority of people, not just teens, might be thinking.

This year, the Word of the Year is “-ism.” This is actually not even a word! Instead it is attached to complete words like bilingualism (the ability to speak two languages) or optimism (having a positive outlook). Words with -ism attached usually describe a belief, ability or characteristic. -Ism has become very popular because people like to attach it to other words for fun. For example, if your friend Sara always says the same expression when she is happy, you could say that this expression is “such a Sara-ism.”

This is the “Word of the Year” because it has received a high volume of look-ups at Merriam-Webster.com and has gotten the attentions of its researchers. (Check out Oxfordictionaries.com for similar word polls.)

Linked together, both 2015 teen slang and -ism represent the wealth of power every language learner should have. There is a strong connection between words of the year and global teen expressions used around the world. Whether parents and teachers are willing to admit it, teens have always been on the cutting edge.

Language, and slang in particular, is no exception. Just as young adult slang changes rapidly, so too do the cultural icons, technology, literature, movies and other methods of communications we have all come to depend on.

Language cannot be pushed forward without culture and teens being on point (simply perfect) at transmitting language around the globe. What follows are some examples of the top slang expressions used by teens in both verbal conversations and text messages. More English words like these can be found on the website Urbandictionary.com. You can also find them in authentic English videos, where you can listen to these words in action. You can find these types of videos with interactive captions on the FluentU program, where you can also use flashcards and interactive quizzes to study new words.

No amount of time in a modern conversation class can provide “real word experiences” such as these.

Top 10 English Slang Phrases Used by Teens in 2016

1. On Point

This slang expression means that something is well done, high quality or perfect. It is especially helpful for describing an accomplishment, or something that is top quality or wonderful. It may originate from the way ballerinas stand “en pointe,” or on the very tips of their toes.

Here’s an example:

Girl 1: OMG! Your hair and makeup are always so on point!

Girl 2: Wow, thanks!

2. On Fleek

Just like on point, this slang term is another way to describe something nearly close to perfection, especially, of course, in the eyes of a teen. You can also use fleekin’ or fleeking. 

Here’s an example:

Girl 1: Hey, your outfit today? Seriously on fleek. Supermodel quality.
Girl 2: Thanks girl, you look pretty fleekin’ yourself.
Girl 1: Thank you!

3. Basic

This is an adjective used to describe when something is typical or ordinary. This term is most commonly used to describe the appearance of females.

Here’s an example:

Boy 1: Look at all those basic schoolgirls with their Starbucks and iPhones!
Boy 2: Yeah, they all look the same.

4. Obvi

Maybe you’ve been in a shop and you’ve heard some teens talking. You might think to yourself, “are they even speaking English?” Well, they are! “Obvi” is just lazy English for obvious or obviously.

Here’s an example:

Girl 1: Are you going to see the new “Star Wars” movie?
Girl 2: Well obvi, I already got our tickets.

5. Turnt

This expression is both a verb and an adjective. Turn up is used as a verb. Turnt is the adjective form. It means to be intoxicated after consuming drugs or alcohol. Of course, not recommended that you get turned up or turnt yourself, but it is always good to know when people are talking about this.

Here’s an example:

Guy 1: Dude, you gonna turn up tonight at the frat party?

Guy 2: Duuuude, I’m soooo turnt already.

6. Bye Felicia

Probably the least polite and the most cold-hearted teen slang expression of the year. The origin of this word is the movie “Friday,” from 1995, before Twitter and Facebook even existed.

When someone says they’re leaving and you really don’t care, their name becomes Felicia.

It is also used when someone wants to get rid of another person who is annoying.

Here’s an example:

Boy: Hey can I get the Biology notes from you?
Girl: Um, bye Felicia. 

Boy: Well, how about a date then?

7. TBH

Much of the teen slang mentioned above is used primarily in speaking conversations. However, you can also be lazy with language when sending text messages. This one means “to be honest.” You use it when giving an honest opinion about something.

Heavily used by the texting generation, it may take the place of the similar expression, “to be fair…” which means almost the same thing.

Here’s an example:

Girl 1: Do you like my outfit?

Girl 2: TBH, I don’t.
Girl 1: LOL, OMG. Let’s go back to the mall then.

8. Bae

This term of affection has been said to stand for “before anyone else,” but it may also just be a shortened version of the word babe. You can call your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse bae.

Here’s an example:

Boy: Bae, you’re so hot.

Girl: Aww, thanks bae.

9. Slay

If you’ve succeeded at something unbelievably amazing, perhaps you’ll earn this term. It means to be the best of the best. If you are the best, then you slay. If you did something really well, you totally slayed. Other similar terms are killed it, or badass.

You can hear slay used many, many times in Beyoncé’s newest hit song, “Formation.”

Here’s an example:

Adele’s new album slayed. It’s been #1 on the charts for 6 months!

10. Zero Chill

So hopefully you’ll never receive this slang expression. It means you have done something very uncool or not very popular.

Here’s an example:

Guy 1: I can’t party this weekend!

Guy 2: Zero chill, man, zero chill.

As you can see there is a connection between teen slang and modern life. According to noslang.com, Internet slang and acronyms (like LOL) were created as an effort to save keystrokes.

Terms have originated from various sources including Bulletin Boards, AIM, Yahoo, IRC, Chat Rooms, Email and Text Messaging. While we don’t type as many complete words, netspeak (Internet language) is hard to understand. Can the same be said for teenage slang? Teens tend to speak in code just like computers—now perhaps their slang will be more obvi than before!

Let’s hope so. Teenage slang words are often quite confusing to parents, but now you can be on fleek as an expert English language learner.

Learning teen slang isn’t just about the bad words anymore! The key to understanding teen slang isn’t just their vocabulary, but the motivation behind their actions.


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