Pop Culture

The Viral Words You Need To Know

Have you always been on top of all the new, viral words young people say?

Great. Of course you have. But even the trendiest among us now struggle to understand how words that definitely have real meanings don't seem to be used properly anymore. It used to be enough to Google "What are the new slang words?" but slang itself is pretty irrelevant these days.


Are you ready to be relevant AF?

You may notice that many of these words lack a certain je ne sais quoi, and that is because they have no “quoi.” They are, for the most part, a bunch of silly, goofy words. But they're so damn fun to use.

We're not getting any younger, and the wild world of viral words is not one to be afraid of — it's one to embrace.

Let's get to it. We've got a lot of ground to cover.

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Ah yes, a beautiful portmanteau. A "belfie" is a "butt selfie," which is exactly what it sounds like. A lot of people on social media like to take these when their backend is looking particularly good, with or without clothing. It is said that the O.G. belfie was taken in 2012 by fitness guru Jen Selter.

Hey, those Lulus make your ass look great.

Really? Hold up, let me take a belfie.
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Wow, who knew a conjunction and a word could fit together so harmoniously? I'm baby became an Internet phenomenon mostly because it means literally what it says. If someone says, "I'm baby," they mean, I am baby; I am sleepy, I am hungry, I need to be held, be kind to me, and do what I want. I'm baby avoids confrontation at all costs.

Hey, I think we need to talk about you coming into work hungover.

I'm baby.
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A zaddy is a man of a certain age who oozes sex appeal, experience, and swag. A zaddy is not a MILF, although the terms do combine the the same two elements: hotness and age. Often, zaddys have grey or silver hair, and are peaking, aesthetically or professionally, or enjoying a comeback later in their careers.

Tony Goldwyn is a crystal zaddy in Chambers.
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Crazy! But you knew this one, right? It would be cray if you didn't.

I'll just say...her little display last night was cray.
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It's not the Italian fashion company. "Gucci" in slang means good, fine, or okay.

"I'm coming over at 10 and we're going to eat pigs in blankets before going out."

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New friends — who needs 'em? You can throw this phrase around whenever you're bragging about your squad, or subtly dissing the people who aren't as committed to maintaining friendship as the members of core group are.

*posts photo of friend group of instagram*

*adds caption: "No new friends"*
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This term is used to describe the kind of behavior that friend groups aspire to. It describes something, or something that you'd like to have one day. Mostly it's just a statement of approval.

*sees Harry Potter and friends gear up to defeat Dark Lord*

"Squad goals."
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Odds are, you've heard the Kardashian-Jenners throwing around the word "Bible" on KUWTK. The sisters will begin a statement with "Bible" if they're about to say the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It's also a way to get someone to stop lying.

Bible, I didn't take your green dress.


Do you like him or not? Say Bible.
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Millennials needed to create a verb that described any and all duties associated with being a bona fide grown-up. This means paying taxes, working through the summer instead of having vacation, changing your car oil, playing nice with coworkers, and having "adult" concerns.

"I can't believe I just spent this much on a vacuum."

"That's adulting for ya, baby!"
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To perfect or smooth things out, both visually and emotionally. Also when someone carries themselves with extreme elegance and style.

"What're you doing tonight?"
"I'm gonna finesse my closet."


"That's so cool."
"No man, that's finesse."
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Turnt is an abbreviation for "turned up." It can either mean being really excited for some upcoming event — or it means you're having fun because you're drunk.

It's New Year's Eve so of course I'm getting turnt tonight.

The morning after getting turnt, roll over and groggily drag yourself to brunch.
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Another way of saying, "Damn — you look good." You can use "snatched" where you'd use "on fleek."

Your outfit is snatched.
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"On fleek" dates back to 2003, when Urban Dictionary defined the phrase as "smooth, nice, sweet." So then why do we always associate the phrase with...eyebrows? We can thank Vine user Peaches Monroe for that association. She coined the phrase "eyebrows on fleek" in 2014; now, Kayla Newman (whose Vine username was Peaches Monroe), is crowd-funding her own make-up line. In general "on fleek" just means looking perfect.

What can I say? Those thick eyebrows that everyone made fun of in fifth grade are now constantly on fleek.
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Thanks, social media for becoming a cesspool of useless plugs. A "plug" is a shameless and blatant endorsement for a product, person, or brand by a celebrity. Think: FitTea ads, make-up promos, or singers dancing to their own songs in a Snapchat. These endorsements are usually paid and often meant to subliminally make their followers want to engage in whatever item or person they're promoting.

"Did you see Kylie Jenner plug her new eye shadow palette on Snapchat every day for the past week?"
"Ugh, yes. And her friend's new song was plugged in there, too."


"Does 50 Cent have to tag his vodka brand in every post?"
"What's the plug?"
"Oh, of course it is."
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Lit means something is popping off. It may have its roots in the cringe-worthy celebratory phrase, “The roof is on fire!” For whatever reason, we have accepted heat-related slang as party phrases. But be warned, lit might be on its last leg of relevance. It’s been quite overused in the past couple months. To give you some perspective, when searching “lit” on Genius, there are nearly 100,000 results.

"How's the party"

"It's lit."


"Drake's Views is too lit."
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If you're keeping it 100, you're acting in a way that's true to yourself and aligned with your values, as well as being respectful to others.

Larry Wilmore always kept it 100 during his daily TV show segment, "Keep it 100."
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Use this response when you 100% agree with a statement. One-hundred percent = hundo p. Only use it when you are positive about something.

"Do you think you're going to go to the party tonight?"
"Hundo p — let's split an Uber."
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If something helped you but no longer serves you, say "Thank U, Next" and move on. But don't, under any circumstances, confuse this Ariana Grande lyric with a similar term like "Bye, Felicia." "Thank U, Next" is, above all else, mature and positive. Let's use it as such.
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Remember that T-Mobile commercial where everyone answered the phone “Wussup?” and it became the most obnoxious greeting ever? This is the 2016 version of that. It is a combination of the word “sup” and “huh,” making you sound confused and interested at the same time. It has its roots in this viral video. It caught on fast enough. Gigi Hadid even did a Vine of herself “suh-ing” earlier this year. (Fun fact: I’m in the background of the video texting.)

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Another simple linguistic equation. True + real = trill.

"Tell me about yourself."

"Dunno. I guess I'm trill."

"That's very trill of you to say."
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"TFW" is an acronym for "that feel when." Naturally, you use the phrase to describe your emotional landscape at any given moment. It's typically used in texting.

TFW you realize you've poured orange juice into your cereal into milk.

TFW you're about to go cliff-jumping but realize your bathing suit is dangerously loose.
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An acronym for "one true pairing," OTP is especially used in fandoms to describe a person's favorite fictional couple.

Doctor Who fandom: While I love River Song, Rose and the Tenth Doctor are my OTP.

Harry Potter fandom: Sure, I acknowledge that Luna Lovegood married another person, but she and Neville are my OTP.

Parks and Rec fandom: Leslie Knope and waffles are clearly the correct OTP.
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Dare we even reveal the meaning behind this very, very simple slang word? Like "v," "p" is just a shortening of a word. When people say "p," they mean "pretty."

Beginner slang: That new Netflix show is p cool.

Advanced slang: I'm p much not going to do anything when I go home, and I'm high-key excited for it. No FOMO for me.
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Here's the alternate to FOMO you never knew you needed: JOMO, aka "the joy of missing out." Because sometimes, there's nothing sweeter than curling up in bed with a book on a Friday night, even as the city parties and swirls around you.

*passes by a line of people waiting to get into a club on a slushy weekend in February*

You: Ah. Sweet, sweet, JOMO.
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No, this doesn't describe an aggressive barnyard animal. Goat is actually an acronym for "Greatest of All Time." The term's actually been used in sports broadcasting to describe athletes since the 1990s, and pops up in hip hop tracks.

You: "I'm the goat."

Me: *raise single eyebrow skeptically*
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To be exceptionally bitter or agitated. This particular irritation typically stems from a past event that you still haven't gotten over.

Melissa didn't ask me to be her bridesmaid even though she promised me she would while we were in college, and I'm totally salty about it.


"Do you see how salty Jen is being? I think she just rolled her eyes at me. Get over it, Jen, the wedding was six years ago."

"But Melissa, I mean, you were best friends."
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In the game of life, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Of course, there's a new way to say that in 2017. For the good times, just say "W" (pronounced ‘dub’) and for the bad, simply state "L." Each initial stands for "a win" or "a loss," respectively.

"I just copped the new Yeezys."
"Damn! That’s a W."

"I just failed my midterm, bad."
"Man, sometimes you gotta just take the L."
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When you're just over it and can't even for a minute longer.

"So, how was work?"
"I'm DONE. Done. "
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Here's a bit of social media knowledge for you: If you use Instagram and follow celebrities, you have surely seen a few "FB!" and "LB" messages in their comments sections. No, FB doesn't mean Facebook, but that's a good guess. It actually means "follow back," while LB means "like back." The purpose of writing these is to get more likes and followers on your Instagram page. Give it a try! (I don't think it works.)

"Why does every photo on Kylie Jenner's account say 'LBLBLBLBLBLB'?"
"Oh, those are teens begging for people to visit their Instagram pages and like their photos."
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Shout out to Taylor Swift for this one. She gave a word formerly reserved for boring book reports a 2016 make-over when she unknowingly created one of the best memes and viral words of 2016. This phrase is best used in response to a request that you would really rather not perform or take part in. This includes: doing work, paying rent, going to meetings, and other laborious activities.

"I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of, since 2009."


"I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative."
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Birdman made "respek" into an iconic term after his rant on radio show The Breakfast Club. He urged the hosts to show him some respect, by adding some "respek" on his name.

"Please put some respeck on The Dutchess because it is an album of bangers."


"You need to put some respeck on Beyoncé’s name.”
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The traditional definition of the word "dead" is, of course, when someone is no longer alive or living. So the social and viral use of the word is obviously a bit of a stretch, but relates back to the real meaning. One “dies” or is “dead” when a celebrity “slays” or “kills” them.

"Did you see Kanye's contacts at the Met Gala?"
"Yes. Dead."
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The new "vibe."

“I just found this new Instagram account and I love the aesthetic.”


“I just don’t like that artist because I don’t get her aesthetic.”


“This is so my new aesthetic.”
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An abbreviation of the word "relationship." The word describes fans', or stans', approval of fictional or desired romances.

“I ship Larry.”
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We already learned “dead,” so now we’re ready to move onto another variation on the word. TD stands for "to die." Most often used when something is too amazing and you’re worried you might just…die.

“Do you like this jacket on me?"
"It's TD. Buy it."
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When someone acts, looks, or comes off as classless or tasteless. It's a take on the term "trailer trash" and is quite the insult to either a person or a place, so be wary when using it.

"Did you read Piers Morgan's comments on Beyoncé?"
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FR means "for real." That's all.

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Low key can be used in place of the formerly popular phrase "down low," because usually people say low key when they are about to say something they don't want everyone to know about. It's almost like a guilty pleasure. It is also the antithesis of high key.

"I low key tripped walking onto the subway today."


"I am low key addicted to using Kimoji."
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An expression of approval and appreciation, most often used as a term of positive endearment. The opposite of the formerly popular “Bye, Felicia.” Both have their roots in '90s one-liners. The expression was first used in the sitcom Martin, in exchanges between Martin Lawrence's character and his partner, Gina.

"Damn Gina!"
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Celebrity feuds are often described as “savage.” Unlike many of the words on this list, the use of savage in today’s online world follows the accepted definition of the word. The only difference is that, as with most of the words on this list, it's often used hyperbolically.

“Did you see the GIF of Leonardo DiCaprio rolling his eyes at Lady Gaga?”

See also: petty.
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An abbreviation of the word “suspect” and "suspicious." A word to describe a shady situation or person.

“This frat bathroom is so sus."


"Why is he sussin?"
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To delete someone, or something, out of your life. A broader version of ghosting. It's often used in the past tense.

"Have you talked to that guy from Tinder?"
"Nah, it's cancelled."
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This word is BIG right now. There’s a whole #WokeBae phenomenon happening. But the word has its roots in an Erykah Badu song, “Master Teacher.” I like the way The New York Times Magazine puts it: “Think of ‘woke’ as the inverse of ‘politically correct.’ If ‘P.C.’ is a taunt from the right, then ‘woke’ is a back-pat from the left.” Woke statements might also low key stir up drama. The more woke one is, the more sympathetic and knowledgeable one is about a topic or type of person. It is most often used to describe a man who is also a feminist (as most men should be.)

“Did you hear about the guy at the gym who had tampons to give to a girl who needed one?”
“Damn, he’s woke.”
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A term of endearment among female companions, especially for your most responsible friend.

"Mom, what's the weather tonight?"
"Chilly. Bring a coat."


"Hey, mom."
"Hi, mom!"
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An abbreviation of the word "sister" as well as an acronym for "sisters in spirit," a.k.a. your besties. The new way to describe girls in your squad. You probably take lots of Snapchats together.

“SIS, let's take a group selfie Snapchat!”
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The new way to greet your group of close friends, or even an individual friend.

"Hey, fam."


"Sup, fam."
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We've already covered low key, now we have high key. When something is high key, it is the straight-up truth and there is no denying it. Once you proclaim something to be high key, you are all in.

"High key love Refinery29."
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Stan is the combination of the words stalker and fan. The plural of the word is stans. A good visual reference is first seen in this Eminem music video, "Stan."

"I am legit Justin Bieber's number one stan."
"Really? Cause that's kinda creepy."
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In case you ever feel the need to say the most passive-aggressive insult of all, there’s “hunty.” A favorite on RuPaul’s Drag Race, the word combines the terms “cunt” and “honey” to create a dangerously creative term of endearment.

[Walks in late to friend’s birthday dinner]

“Hey hunties, sorry I'm late!”
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Anyone who isn’t necessary to the situation. Or someone who you or your friends don’t know or like.

“Do you know who that is?”
“No, he’s extra.”
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An informal way to address any male. Can also be said with a slight inflection to signify an interest in said male.

"Hey, dad"


"He is a da-ad."

Note: TOTALLY different than "daddy."
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RT is short for retweet. It is now also used to show agreement.

"Do you like Taylor Swift's new hair?"
"Yesss, RT RT RT."
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This one letter takes the place of the entire word “very.” It can be used in a plethora of ways. The possibilities are endless.

“This margarita is v strong.”


“Are you excited tomorrow’s Friday?”



“Did you read the latest piece from Refinery29 about all those new viral words you need to know?”
“Why yes, I did. It was v helpful and v much appreciated.”
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hosted by Lucie Fink.
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