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Slang Words: What Are Young People Saying These Days?

'Dip,' 'Merked,'Swag' — Is This What Teens Are Saying These Days?

"Moss," "merked," "reach" and "dip." If you have no idea what those words mean, don't beat yourself up too much — this is just everyday teenage lingo.

Teens tend to have a language of their own, but if you feel like infiltrating the crowd (or even just trying to understand some tweets), we have a guide to help you sort through the jargon. And with the holidays just around the corner, it could be useful to pick up a few key phrases to blend in with the younger folks at your holiday dinner — without looking completely out of place.

Rachel Metalin, a high school English teacher at Upper Canada College in Toronto, says these terms even make their way into class discussions with students.

"I often ask them how terms have morphed and changed to the slang words we use now," she says.

Last year, our teenage slang list included words and phrases like "epic fail," "photobomb" and "lipdub," which just goes to show that some things never change — they just get reused over and over again.

Most of the words and phrases on our 2012 list are seen on social media sites, text messages and heard in high school hallways and popular song lyrics. But Metalin says the way young people (and adults) are communicating could be taking a toll on their performance in the classroom.

"In a way, you get all these charming new catchphrases that are appropriate for their ages, but at times I see their writing suffer. People begin writing the way they are speaking and everything becomes short-form," she tells The Huffington Post Canada.

And this year wasn't just about the kids. 2012 had a mix of strange catchphrases and words like Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte's "Jeah," which he explained was a mix of both "yeah" and "good," (good one) or the overuse of the word "baby bump" in headlines and magazines pages. The Atlantic's list of the worst words of 2012 include these two, and other awful culprits like "butt-chugging," "plus-one" and "retweets are not endorsements."

But 2012 also brought about mainstream recognition for a few words, like "f-bomb," "sexting," "bucket list" and the Oprah-inspired "aha moment," which were all added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary's 2012 list.

Now it's time to take a look at what this year has wrought. It's not meant to stereotype tweens and teens' vocabulary as one big list of these specific words, but rather, to share what could be the next "radical" or "hepcat." And yes, these words were not specifically only from 2012, but they do seem to have the most staying power.

What would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments below:

LOOK: We asked Canadian teachers and teens to share what they hear the most, these are some of our favourite (and most creative) finds:


Slang Words 2012


WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: "Merked" has several definitions — it can mean anything from being drunk, high, tackled, knocked out and even if you just had great sex. And yes, them be fightin' words.

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: "I passed out this weekend at the bar, I got merked." or "Did you see the Raptors get merked last night? We suck."


WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: An acronym for "You Only Live Once.' We can thank rapper Drake for this phrase, so live life to the fullest people. YOLO is often used before taking a risk or questioning a situation. YOLO has also been named the worst word or phrase of 2012 by our very own associate books editor Zoë Triska.

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: "Hey, should I chop off all my hair?" "YOLO"


WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: Nothing surprising or new about this one. "Swag," from the slang word '"swagger," means being or having something cool. "Swaggy" in particular was used by Justin Bieber when he whispered it while singing his song, "Boyfriend." How swaggy.

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: "Check out this blazer I found at the thrift store." "Swag."


WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: When you "reach," you are literally reaching somewhere or attending an event.

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: "Are you heading to this party tonight?" "Yeah, I'm reaching" or "I'll reach tonight."


WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: "Styll" is pronounced like still, but it means agreeing with someone or the truth.

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: "That episode of 'The Vampire Diaries' was good, styll."


WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: "Cray" or "cray-cray" is just a shorter (kind of) word for crazy. "Cray" was also used in rapper Jay-Z's 'N*ggas in Paris,' where Kayne West repeatedly tells Jay 'that sh*t cray.'

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: "You're going to do all your holiday shopping on Christmas Eve? That's cray."

My Mains:

WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: "My mains" also refers to my close group of friends or my family.

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: "Jay and I go way back, he is one of my mains."


WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: "Yute" is another word for youth.

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: "All these yute these days keep thinking they're cool, saying things like YOLO."


WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: "Rachet" is when someone is rude, loud or obnoxious. It can also be used to describe someone who is acting like a diva.

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: "I can't believe that guy just dissed his mom, how rachet."


WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: "Flex" could mean both having cash on you or someone who loves to show off ... possibly show off their cash.

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: "I hate when my best friend thinks she has to wear all her designer clothes, she keeps flexin'."


WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: "Boost" or "boast" can mean bragging or exaggerating a situation.

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: "It only took me 30 minutes to finish my work report." "Stop boosting."


WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: This is tech lingo exclusively. An "R-bomb" is when someone receives and reads a message on BlackBerry's messenger system (BBM) but doesn't respond. Hey, we'd be cheesed too.

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: "You wrote her after your date and she never got back to you?" "Nope — total R-bomb."


WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: "SMH" stands for shakes my head. You'll see it often used in text messages, Facebook chatter and in memes.

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: In a text: "I just spilled coffee all over my white shirt." Reply: "SMH."


WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: A derp is another name for a dumbass, while a derpina is a female dumbass, according to some high school students we talked to in Toronto.

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: "Ugh, he lost my keys again, such a derp."

Bless Up:

WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: "Bless up" is another way of saying goodbye or hello.

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: "Bless up my friend," or, "It was nice seeing you, bless up."


WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: If you "dip" or you're "dipping," it means you're leaving the joint. Maybe the party was boring or maybe it was getting close to your curfew.

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: "Are you reaching [see what we did there?] her party tomorrow night?" "Yeah, but I gotta dip by 11 p.m."


WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: It might have nothing to do with the green fluff that grows on walls, but similar to that type of moss, this word means to chill out or relax.

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: "Why are you always working? You need to moss."

Hundo P:

WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: "Hundo P" is just the sexier way of saying one hundred per cent. We approve.

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: "I just merked my test, I got hundo p."


WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: "Chirp" is what you're doing when you insult or "diss" someone. We get it, birds can get annoying.

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: "My older brother can be such a jerk, he's always chirping at me."


WHAT YOU'RE SAYING: Scrilla is another word for money.

USED IN EVERYDAY LIFE: "I just got paid. I'm rolling in scrilla."

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