Get With the Groove: Kids’ Slang Terms

By Diane Hernandez

Language evolves. Language changes. Language reflects. Children, especially those with access to TikTok, understand this. They emulate new phrases. They change. They evolve. They create. 

So, if you don’t spend 5 hours scrolling through TikTok or Instagram each day, you might lose the ability to communicate with your kids. Luckily, I spend 5 hours on TikTok every day and know Fortnite. I’ll let you into the secret “For You Page” world generation Z built in the past three years.

 Here’s what you’ve missed out on. 

  1. “That’s so extra.”

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, extra means “more than is due, usual, or necessary.” This definition still applies on TikTok. It’s just been copied and pasted in a different font. 

When someone calls something extra, they are saying something acted in an exaggerated fashion. It’s used negatively most times. For example, I called a driver that cut me off yesterday “extra.” 

It’s simple – the driver was swerving in and out of lanes on Archer Road. That was “more than was due, usual or necessary.”  

2. “Pop off!”

Unlike extra, pop off is a good thing. To say pop off is to praise someone. For example, if your friend won the lottery, you would say,” Pop off!” If your friend earned a promotion, you would say, ”Pop off!” If your friend looked good at dinner, you would also say, “Pop off!” 

Pop off is a way to congratulate another person on their achievements and to point out how good they are at something. Pop off point outs when someone is popping off. 

3. “Those shoes are lit.”

The word lit means something is fire. When something is fire, something is dope. When something is dope, something is cool. 

All these words simply mean that something is really, extremely cool. Congratulations if you’ve heard this word used! 

4. “That’s highkey messed up.” 

“Highkey” and “lowkey” express something loudly or quietly. For example, “I highkey want to fight” indicates the speaker really wants to fight someone! The speaker also really wants the audience to know. 

 “I lowkey want to fight her” means the speaker wants to fight but doesn’t want it to seem obvious. Lowkey is a sneaky word. Highkey is a passionate word.  

5. “Pushin P” 

I didn’t know what “Pushin P” was until last week. The phrase stems from rapper Gunna’s song “pushin P” and means keeping it real. If something is P, that means it’s a good thing. If something isn’t P, it’s a bad thing. 

For example, cheating on an exam isn’t P. Studying for an exam, on the other hand, is P. 

Most of these words are fluid, especially Pushin P. Most of these words will also lose popularity within the next few years. Throw away the dictionary and try to stay in the groove.



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