An Attempt to Translate a Teenager Today

Three cheerful  girls playing board game.

When we were young, things we liked were called “groovy,” and anything pleasing was “cool.” Our children aspired to be Valley Girls and gave the two words “as if” a special meaning 25 years ago, demonstrating again that every generation develops their own vocabulary.

Today’s young, generally white, most often female, teenagers have their own language, fueled around hydroflask water bottles, a passion for hair scrunchies worn as bracelets around the wrist, a love for shell necklaces, and gibberish sounds spelled “k-s-k-s-k” when typed on a keyboard for social media but when articulated are generally obnoxious. It’s a rite of passage for teenagers.

They are called VSCO Girls, pronounced “Visco.” It’s an app for a camera, which is an essential element of language in a digitally-driven world. Should you encounter one of these young people and find yourself struggling to make sense of their conversation, USA Today provides the following translations:


VSCO girls can often be heard saying "sksksk," to the confusion of many. Yes, this is the sound you make when you hit lots of keys at once on your keyboard. Buzzfeed notes this term didn't begin with the VSCO girls but started in the black community (as does much viral online chatter).

And I oop

Still with us? Drag queen Jasmine Masters said "and I oop" in a viral video clip, which sent the internet (and yes, eventually, the VSCO girl section of the internet) into a tizzy. You can say "and I oop" when someone says something unexpected or provocative.

OK, boomer

Gen Z and millennials are retaliating against the baby boomers' perception of them with the phrase, "OK, boomer." When someone responds to someone or something with "OK, boomer," they are basically calling that thing old, out-of-touch and resistant to change. "Boomer" catchphrases have existed for some time, but "OK, boomer" has gained traction through TikTok.


Poor Karen. She's right up there with Felicia. A "Karen" is typically used to refer to an entitled mom, who can be a bit irritating with her frequent requests to "talk to the manager." She may also have a giant bob haircut and drive a Volvo.


Generally used to start off a story. You can call anyone a bruh but should probably reserve it to friends and not, say, a supervisor. For example: "Bruh, you won't believe what just happened to me."


These days, a Chad would be a hyper-masculine and overtly sexual young man.


Sis can be used in multiple ways. If someone asks you what happened and you respond with "Sis," it means there's a whole lot of drama that unfolded and there's a whole lot more to the story. "Sis" can also be used as a term of endearment.


A stan is a fan. But like a super-obsessed fan. It originated from Eminem's music video for "Stan" where an obsessive fan by the name of Stan (look at that) commits suicide after sending multiple unanswered fan letters to the rapper.


Garbáge. Horriblé. Used to refer to something that is absolutely unacceptable because it's all-around terrible. Like when you tell your friends your boyfriend is celebrating Valentine's Day on Feb. 15 because he has to "work" on Feb. 14. Yeah sis, that man is trash.


Similar to the literal meaning of goals. When you see something you want or aspire to be like, you say "goals." Like when Beyoncé and Jay-Z closed down the Louvre for a music video. Goals. Often, you'll find a word in front of it like "couple goals." Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard are "couple goals."


The people you hang out with, like your family or your close group of friends. These are your "ride or die" kind of friends. If you see a squad that you admire or want to have, that's "squad goals."

Hundo P

Short for "hundred percent." Absolutely, for sure, you are definitely confirming that thing 100%. Want to go to Costco for free sample day? Hundo P.


Savage is when someone does or says something completely outrageous and doesn't fear the repercussions or consequences of their actions. For example, if you told your friend you wanted the last cookie out of the cookie jar and then they took it and ate it right in front you, that's savage.


In this case, fire is good. It means great, amazing, wonderful, all the good things. If you go over to your grandmother's house and she makes that sweet potato pie you like so much, you can say, "Thanks grams! This pie is FIRE!" The fire emoji can work too.

Also used to compliment outfits, hair, glowing skin and, of course, food.

Sorry to this man

In a Vanity Fair video featuring a polygraph test, Keke Palmer was asked about former Vice President Dick Cheney in relation to her time on the TV series "True Jackson, VP." When the interviewer presented her with a photograph of him, she said she didn't know who he was and that if he came up to her on the street, she wouldn't know a thing. "Sorry to this man," she said, pushing the photo back. And a meme was born.

"Sorry to this man" is said when you don't know who a person is (either because you genuinely don't know who they are or are pretending not to know them in a way to diminish their existence).


People say "same" in response to things they have in common with someone. You are putting up your Christmas decorations early and don't care what anyone else thinks? Same. But it can also be used sarcastically. For example, if you tell a friend, "OMG guys, Justin proposed," they might respond with "same" to mock your happiness.

A mood

"Mood" is similar to "same" except that it is a full-body relatable feeling. Let's set the scene: There is snow on the ground and it's 9 degrees outside. Scrolling Facebook, you see a photo of a cat wrapped up tight in a fuzzy blanket with just his nose sticking out. Mood.


Either said in strong agreement to something or to hype someone up. When one of your friends posts a photo on Instagram looking extra hot, it is appropriate and even encouraged to comment "yassss!"

Or when someone says something you really agree with because it spoke to your soul, you can say "yasss!"

I'm dead

The person saying this is not actually dead. This phrase is used in response to something that's so hilarious it has you figuratively dying from laughter. Also used in place of physically laughing.


Very. That's it. That's all you really need to know. "V" literally is short for "very," providing emphasis to any statement. That "unicorn dog?" He's V cute. See also: "p," short for "pretty."


"Chill" can mean, well, a lot. If someone tells you to "chill," it means you need to calm down a la the Taylor Swift single. If someone invites you to "chill," that means they're asking you to hang out. If someone asks you to "Netflix and chill," that means they're asking you to "watch a movie" – which will undoubtedly lead to sex. Context matters.


There's creative variety with this word. It can mean to throw something, said in excitement, in agreement and can also be a dance move. Take your pick. Either way, don't yeet your baby like the woman here.


Not your mother's designer handbag. This basically just means some variation of "good." Can be used in multiple ways: Let's say Karen brought a casserole over but she accidentally dumped it on your white carpet and after repeatedly apologizing she can tell you're still a little irritated. Karen may ask if you're OK, and because you don't want to create any more tension, you can say, "I'm gucci" or say, "It's all gucci."


This has nothing to do with sleep – in the literal sense. Being "woke" means to be socially conscious and aware of racial, gender and myriad injustices.


Shade is usually thrown, meaning you'll most commonly hear it in a sentence like, "He threw shade." But it can also be used like, "Why are you so shady?" To throw shade means to make an underhanded critical remark toward someone.


Bet is used when you're in agreement with something. If someone makes plans and you say "bet," that means you are confirming said plan.

No cap

This basically means no lie. When someone adds "no cap" to a sentence, it serves as a statement that they're not lying. It can also be used as the converse "cappin,'" which means lying. "Why you cappin'?" is asking someone why they're lying.


There are multiple ways to have your tea. You can sip it, or you can spill it. If you're "sipping your tea," it means that you're minding your own business – basically side-eyeing the situation and keeping it moving. If you're "spilling tea" or "having tea," that means you have some gossip you're about to share.

Eboy or egirl

The internet says these are active internet users, often stereotyped has having an "emo," punk-rock style. The terms seem to be gaining on TikTok.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content