A Dozen More Gen Z Terms You Should Know

By Tim Elmore

Something’s happened since the spring of 2020 that needs to be addressed. Many of us, especially those under 21, lost some of our communication skills. The lockdown, the anxiety levels, and the diminished interaction between a variety of people changed the way we socialize. And the generation gap widened. Good communication between adults and teens (or young people in general) declined.


So, what do I mean by good communication between an adult leader and a young person?


I’m talking about the ability to “share” and “receive” information, emotion, and directions, which includes both observing, and empathizing. 


The skill is lacking these days. Zillennials might have been affected most. 


If you’ve not heard this term, a Zillennial is someone who embodies traits from both Gen Z and Millennials. They are “Tweeners.” A young adult who was born at the tail end of the Millennial generation or the front end of Generation Z often adopts characteristics of each generation. They could be called “screenagers” as they’ve spent long hours each day on a portable device. Some default to that device—and grow most comfortable interacting on it. In our niche (our homogeneous demographic group), we can develop a vernacular that is foreign to outsiders. 


I know a family that includes a pair of twins who are adolescents. Over the last two years, the twins have been prone to interact less with their parents (or other extended family members) and seclude themselves to each other. It seemed as if an entire language was developed by those teens that mom or dad could not interpret and that left everyone weary of the effort required to communicate. It became work. 


May I remind you: it is, indeed, work, but it is worth it. 


Terms from Generation Z You Should Know

Since each “niche” has a language, we may have no idea what different terms can mean. I offer interpretations every year for the educators, parents, coaches, and employers who want to understand “next gen” terms. Let me provide some of the language you should know. 


1. Stan

No, it’s not short for the name, Stanley. It’s a combination of “stalker” and “fan.” It means you really like someone. If you “stan” them, you’re obsessed with them, but not in a creepy way.

2.  Pressed

If you are pressed, it simply means that you are stressed, upset, or annoyed about someone, something or a situation. It is also used when someone is confused about why someone is mad over something little that has nothing to do with them.


3. Salty 

In past times, this term meant a variety of things for younger generations. Zillennials use this term when they’re feeling jealous. It means they envy a person, achievement, or situation. 


4. Boujee

I know you’ve heard this one and likely figured out what it meant via context. The term is used if you’re describing someone or something that is fancy or extravagant. 


5. Sus

This term describes someone or something that is suspicious and is short for the word “suspect”. If someone or a situation is sus, then you might want to stay away. 


6. Take Several Seats

If someone is really getting on your nerves, you might tell them to take several seats. It underscores that you not only want them to sit down and shut up, but extremely so. 


7. Iykyk

This acronym is short for “if you know, you know.” It’s commonly used in reference to an inside joke or something that only a particular community would understand. 


8. Catch These Hands

This is a term that means to start a fight. It is usually used in a confrontational manner. If someone says this to you, you’d better get ready for a conflict. 


9. I’m Weak

This term is similar to another Gen Z term, “Ded” or “I’m dead.” It simply means you find something so hilarious that it “kills you” or makes you weak from laughing.


10. Hits different

This term is used when something is notably better than how it usually is. It can also be used when comparing two things. Something might be okay but something else just hits different. 


11. Snatched

A Gen Zer may use this term to describe someone looking really good, specifically what they’re wearing, their outfit or ensemble. You can feel good if a teen describes you as snatched. 



If you drag someone, you’re criticizing them or making fun of them. It’s not unlike the older generation term: “roasting someone.” It can border on derogatory. 


Now you can recognize the foreign language a student is using and be able to decode it. You’ll at least be able to understand them and connect. And I can say to you: “iykyk.”


A Dozen More Gen Z Terms You Should Know