Slang spreads so much faster than it used to due to social media influencing how we communicate with each other.
Overseas slang can make it to the UK faster than a viral video of a dog saying “I LOVE YOU”. One huge influence is pop culture and this year Ru Paul’s Drag Race has become an absolute powerhouse- cultivating an extensive following all over the world, and with that popularity comes a multitude of slang terms!
Another big influence to our list of slang terms is the media itself (social and otherwise) with the use of abbreviations, memes, and taking phrases from viral videos and songs.
Language evolves so quickly that these lists may prove useful to some of us who feel a little left behind!
‘T’ or ‘Tea’ means truth, news, or gossip. If one was to ‘spill the tea’ we would possibly be talking about someone behind their back. According to the Urban Dictionary, this slang term comes from “the custom in the South of women who gather in the afternoon to drink tea and gossip.”
To be ‘cancelled’ is to no longer matter to anyone. Someone (usually a celebrity) is ‘cancelled’ because they have said or done something racist/sexist/or worse. There has been much debate over whether ‘cancel culture’ is a healthy way to deal with people we do not like.
If you are ‘thirsty’ it means you are desperate for attention. It could be in a flirty or sexy sense, but it can also be used in other contexts. In the gaming community being ‘thirsty’ means desperately going after an enemy for the kill.
To ‘throw shade’ or ‘be shady’ is to subtly insult someone. LGBTQ culture is to thank for this one- the movie Paris Is Burning captures it perfectly when drag artist Dorian Corey says: “Shade is, I don’t have to tell you you’re ugly, but I don’t have to tell you because you know you’re ugly.”
‘Mood’ is taken from Black culture and means ‘relatable’. When one comes across something relatable just one comment can be made- MOOD. A GIF of Ralph Wiggum on the Simpsons rolling away down a hill can be ‘a mood’ if you are feeling awkward. Similarly, Bobby from King of the Hill eating crisps with only his tongue is a major mood for me today.
‘Salty’ means upset, crying, bitter, or angry. It comes from the fact tears are salty, drying in crusty, salty streaks down your cheeks. When someone is upset with you they are being ‘salty’. It is usually meant as an insult.
‘Vex’ means to be angry, mad, or hostile. If you have an argument with your significant other, friend, or parent and they get angry with you, you can describe them as ‘vex’. It comes from the word ‘vexed’, meaning to be annoyed or irritated.
‘Adulting’ means to perform tasks or enjoy things grown adults would. It comes about from millennial culture where adulthood seemed to come upon us so fast we had no time to adjust. Folding a fitted sheet and other household tasks are now ‘adulting’ and we celebrate with a shot of tequila and making a dank meme about our anxiety for the future.
‘Sus’ is from the words ‘suspect’ and ‘suspicious’. If someone is being strange, weird, or dodgy then they are described as ‘sus’: pronounced S UH SS.
10. High/Low Key
‘Lowkey’ means to secretly feel/do something, while ‘highkey’ means to openly feel/do something. The phrase in this context originates in the rap and RnB world- like much of the new slang it comes from US Black culture. To ‘lowkey’ love something is to secretly enjoy it- to ‘highkey’ love something is to be out and proud about your passion. It can be applied to many different situations.