Dinner Conversations: Decoding Your Millennial’s Tribal Language

“How was your day?” The 15-year-old declared, “It was dope!” Huh?! What did she say? It’s tough enough trying to find out about their day, but sometimes it feels like we’re not even speaking the same language. Language is specific to region, dialect and generation. Learning “Millennialspeak” is fun (and funny). Here are a few translation “cheats” to get you started:

The Word   We “think” it means              Millennial Meaning

Dope                Idiot or Drugs                               Best ever! Awesome

Ratchet            A tool in the garage                     A person or event that was purported to be awesome, but wasn’t. Diva, rude, annoying

Swag                 A window dressing                     Uniquely cool’

Hipster             ? Is that a good thing?                Person in their 20s or 30s with a bohemian, eclectic style and excellent wit

Bae                     Maybe a body of water?             Significant other “before anyone else”

Basic                  No frills, average                         Lame, obvious, square, uncool

Slay                    Kill something living                  To succeed in something great

Zeds                   English form of “z”?                    Sleep and lots of it

Yolo                    um…yeah?!                                   You Only Live Once (often justifying recklessness)

Tool                    See “Ratchet”                                (Insult) loser

Chillax                Rx for regularity?                         To chill or relax

Frothing            Rabid? Foaming at the mouth?  Incredibly excited about something

Additionally, these folks need to text as much as they need to breathe. So they have also created a sort of “shorthand” for ease in communicating with their peers. You might see…

  • IDK – I don’t know
  • BRB – Be right back
  • IKR – I know, right?!
  • SMH – Shaking my head
  • DM – Direct Message, especially used in FB or Facebook
  • LOL – Laughing out loud
  • ROFL – Rolling on the floor laughing
  • PAW – Parents are watching
  • PTB – Please text back
  • ICYMI – In case you missed it
  • MUSM – Miss you so much

Important: If you are going to use them, be sure you know what they mean, lest you risk looking like a “basic tool with no swag” (hashtag)—“#thatssoratchet”