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Common Teen Slang Phrases

author image Erica Loop
Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.
Common Teen Slang Phrases
Your teen might seem to speak another language. Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Think back to your youth and remember the totally radical phrases of the 1980s or the mellow speech of the 1970s. Common teen slang changes with each generation, and it's something you should pick up on to better understand and communicate with your child.

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Technology and Texting

With the popularity of social media sites, e-mail and texting, modern teen slang often comes in the written form. The American Academy of Pediatrics, on its Healthy Children website, maintains a fairly comprehensive list of teen tech and text slang abbreviations. While this ever-growing list is far too lengthy for any parent to memorize, a few abbreviations are worth knowing. For example, P911 means, "My parents are in the room," BBS means, "Be back soon," IDK means, "I don't know," PLZ means, "Please," and THX means, "Thanks."

Combination Words

While your teen's speech might seem foreign, some of it might appear as actual English words -- just in a combination form. Some teen slang takes two commonly used words and combines them into new forms. For example, "chilaxing" is a combo of chilling and relaxing that teens may use when asking someone to calm down -- such as, "Chillax, I was going to do my homework later." Another combination slang term is "tope." This odd-sounding word is a blend of "tight" and "dope." When using tope, your teen is referring to something that is good or positive such as, "Your new car is tope."

Realtionship and Peer Slang

Whether your teen texts or speaks, some of her relationship words might take the form of abbreviated or slang phrases. When it comes to friends, her favorites are her BFFs -- or best friends forever. In terms of romantic relationships, BF stands for a boyfriend and GF for a girlfriend. While BFF, BF and GF are typically positive slang phrases, some words that your teen uses with peers aren't always so kind. "Hater" or "h8tr" refers to a negative person who doesn't have anything nice to say. For example, "She's always hating on me just because I'm prettier than her." While calling someone a hater isn't entirely mean -- chances are it's the other person's negativity that is making your teen use this slang -- other words such as "ho" have a much worse meaning. A shortened form of "whore," the slang "ho" refers to a promiscuous or not well-liked female.


Just because your teen might think you're a noob -- slang for someone who has little knowledge of technology or pop culture references -- it doesn't mean he's incapable of compliments. Teens have an array of slang compliments when referring to people, places and actions. For example, the slang "sick" typically means "awesome" or "cool." If you hear your teen call his friend's new outfit "money," he isn't referring to the cost. The slang "money" is another compliment, meaning cool. Other teen slang words that are complimentary include "dope" and "off the chain."

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