Don’t Be Clueless About Gen Z Slang on TikTok: A Guide to Decode the Lingo

Lost in translation on TikTok? Don’t fret, I’ve got you covered!

The Rise of Gen Z Lingo on TikTok

TikTok, the social media sensation, has become a breeding ground for viral trends and slang, particularly popularized by Generation Z. In this dynamic platform, Gen Z influencers have managed to create an entire language ecosystem. From mocking millennial trends with terms like “cheugy” to reintroducing age-old African American Vernacular English (AAVE) phrases, the TikTok universe is a fascinating blend of creativity and cultural influence.

Generation Z using TikTok

Decoding the Jargon

Here’s a rundown of some popular Gen Z terms, complete with definitions and examples to help you navigate the TikTok-sphere:


Describing millennials who try too hard to be trendy or stylish.

Example: “Did you see that older girl attempting a TikTok dance? She’s so cheugy.”

No Cap/Capping

“Cap” means lying. Saying “no cap” implies truthfulness, while “capping” denotes someone lying.

Examples: “I’m actually going to be productive today, no cap.” “You actually got tickets to the Bad Bunny concert? You’re capping.”


Referring to a song or album that is incredibly good.

Example: “Have you heard ‘Castaway’ by The Backyardigans? It’s a bop.”


A trendy, stylish, or cool sense of fashion. It is similar to saying someone has “swag.” People will complement someone’s outfit by requesting a “drip check.”

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Example: “Hey dude, you’ve got serious drip. Drip check!”


Used to hype someone up for looking good or accomplishing something remarkable, often accompanied by the famous “ice in my veins” pose, a tribute to basketball player D’Angelo Russell.

Example: Witnessing your friend walking down the aisle at their wedding. “Sheeeeeesh.”


Equivalent to “yes” and can be used as a question or confirmation.

Example: “Want to grab some boba?” “Bet?”


Expressing extreme laughter. The skull emoji replaces the laughing emoji.

Example: “That girl who imitates seagull noises has me ded๐Ÿ’€.”


Being an avid fan of someone famous. It can also signify approval when someone does something morally commendable.

Examples: “My brother loves Megan Thee Stallion. He’s a stan.” Witnessing Jesse buy his mom a new car. “I stan Jesse.”

Hits Different

When something is remarkably unique or better than the rest.

Example: “This new Olivia Rodrigo album hits different.”

Iykyk (If you know, you know)

Used for inside jokes or things that only a certain community would understand.

Example: “Nothing beats the feeling of seeing the elote man coming down the street. Iykyk.”

Living Rent Free

When something occupies your mind continuously. It can also serve as an insult when someone is bothered by something.

Examples: “That song lives rent-free in my head.” “He hates LeBron James so much, he lives rent-free inside his head.”


Used to emphasize a point made.

Example: “Beyoncรฉ gave us the greatest performance in music history, periodt.”


Refers to someone who openly expresses their affection, sometimes even for someone they don’t know, or goes above and beyond for their significant other.

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Example: “Did you see his Instagram post about how much he loves his girlfriend? He’s such a simp.”

Vibe Check

Assessing someone’s energy or personality. It can be a fixed impression or based on someone’s actions. It’s a pass or fail situation.

Examples: “I love hanging out with them. They pass the vibe check.” “That guy yelled at the server, he doesn’t pass the vibe check.”


Expressing shyness when complimenting someone or asking for something.

Example: “That looks like fun. Can we go do that? ๐Ÿฅบ๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿ‘ˆ”


Taking mental notes, similar to noting something in a tutorial video. It is often used after each word in a sentence.

Example: “Makeโœ๏ธ sure โœ๏ธ to โœ๏ธ buy โœ๏ธ her โœ๏ธ flowersโœ๏ธ.”


Denoting an increase or decrease in something, or discussing someone’s or something’s popularity after an event.

“Car sales after seeing this video๐Ÿ“‰.”


Expressing complete shock or uncertainty on how to respond to something.

Example: “Me when I saw those photos of Jennifer Lopez with Ben Affleck๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘„๐Ÿ‘.”


Making a word or phrase appear fancy or exciting. It can also make a statement stand out.

Examples: “Today I did โœจnothingโœจ.” “I have some โœจpersonal newsโœจ to share.”


Although it resembles a smiley face, it is used to depict awkward situations.

Example: “Me just trying to ignore the person screaming behind me๐Ÿ™‚.”


The versatile emoji that represents various dramatic emotions such as sadness, anger, happiness, excitement, or feeling overwhelmed.

Examples: “Guys, I got tickets to Disneyland๐Ÿ˜ญ.” “This ‘Friends: Reunion’ has me in my feels๐Ÿ˜ญ.”


Now equipped with this guide, you can confidently navigate the world of Gen Z slang on TikTok. Remember, it’s an ever-evolving language, so keep up with the latest trends and stay in the loop.

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Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jord_mendoza.

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