Speaking Tween: 20 More Words Kids Are Using (And Here's What They Mean)

Learning to speak tween is no walk in the park. With social media having become a huge aspect of modern society, so have a number of covert words evolved out of text-speak. Decoding these isn't always easy, especially since, while the used words may have their usual meanings, they might actually stand for something else entirely to tweens.

While the first lesson, "Learn To Speak Tween: 20 Words Kids Are Using And What They Mean," was an immense success, there simply wasn't enough space to include every word or phrase used by tweens today!

The initial lesson was vastly shared across social media, in Facebook groups and parents from coast to coast contacted us to say how useful they found the “Teen/Tween Speak” list and how, in one way or another, it had genuinely helped them. One mom had been alerted to a bullying situation of which they had previously been unaware and as a result had been able to intervene. Another mom realized that a daughters blossoming friendship with someone she had met online was a potentially dangerous one and was able to nip it in the bud before any harm was done.

This response highlighted how vital it is for parents to have a clear understanding of what is going on with their teens. As a consequence, I came back to my laptop, opened up the research folder and have written this follow-up...

I hope it is as useful as the first.

20 Curve

There are a couple of different but very similar interpretations of the slang word “curve.”

First up, to curve someone is to sidestep their obvious romantic or physical interest in you. For example, you ask someone out for a coffee, and they tell you a story about the last time they went out for coffee and completely ignore your question.

The second interpretation is a little more dramatic. Curving is also considered to be “breaking up” with someone, or ending your friendship. This would happen because you don’t want to have a relationship but the other person does, which is very similar to ghosting someone.

19 Thirsty

via VSCO / cofitorga

In the most modern internet usage, when you describe somebody as being thirsty, you are saying they are needy, or overly eager for something.

It can be used, on some occasions, to mean that you want someone in a physical way. It is the kind of desperation where one acts like an overenthusiastic puppy, jumping up at you, begging you to scratch its head.

18 IRL

via Youtube / Alexander IRL

This stands for In Real Life and is usually used online to distinguish between something real and something that exists purely online. It can, on occasion, be used it quite cruel ways, especially when tweens form strong bonds with an online friend and are then told that they would not be friends IRL. For example:

“Kelsy and I have been friends for years online but I would never be seen dead talking to her IRL.”

It can also be a red flag if you see your child agreeing to meet someone IRL.

17 Cheddar

Via: Daily Mirror

Just to be difficult, Cheddar is another one of those multi-definition words that could mean a number of different things.

Apart from the obviously delicious cheesy usage, Cheddar can be used to refer to cash. This comes from the practice, just after WWII, when citizens of the States who were on benefits would receive their cash payment, as well as a large chunk of hard cheese.

It is also a term for someone from Mexico who lives in the US, so you might want to be alert for your child using it in that way because it can be considered unkind.

With Cheddar, context is everything.


FOMO is the particular type of social anxiety that causes you to open up your cell phone and check your social media in “Fear Of Missing Out” on something important. However, it is not an exclusively online phenomenon, you can also suffer from FOMO in an offline situation.

The abbreviation FOMO can often be seen used in a disparaging manner, for example:

“Lisa should have stayed home but her FOMO made her come to the party, even though she was sick and looked like death. She thinks she’s so important.”

15 Zip Ghost

Via: Men's Journal

If you hear your child using the phrase Zip Ghost, they will not be referring to the floating spirit of someone long departed, perhaps one who has a penchant for secure fashion fastenings on their semi-opaque ghostly clothes.

A Zip Ghost is a person who has consumed so much that they have reached the stage where they are no longer themselves and cannot keep focus.

14 Crunk

Yet another word that could indicate something innocent or something to worry about, Crunk is a genre of hip-hop with heavy bass, but Crunk can also be used in other ways.

“Tig’s party last night was crunk.”

The party was cranked up, it was awesome, which means it was crunk.

In the case of “Wes was off his head crunk last night,” crunk could mean he was partying too hard. The word basically comes from the combination of the words crazy and the usual word people used to describe someone who has had one too many...

13 Swole

The primary definition of Swole is physically well built, buff, ripped, shredded, etc. Think muscular in a Chris Hemsworth from Thor kind of way and you will have the visual definition of swole, which is, incidentally, short for swollen.

Swollen muscles = swole, got that? Or are you still thinking about Chris Hemsworth? Sorry, my fault, I shouldn’t have brought up such a distracting visual.

Now, where was I? Oh yes. Swole can also, but less often, be used to mean bigheaded or angry.

12 Froth/Frothing

The perfect word and definition to follow Swole, is if you are full of froth or working yourself into a state of froth, which means you are stoked, worked up, or over-excited.

Originating in surfing culture to express how great the surf was, the use of the word frothing has evolved to cover being excited about anything.

For example, “Did you see Jessica yesterday? When K said hello, she was frothing.

11 BAE

via Vogue Australia

The definition of BAE depends on who you ask, but it is generally agreed to be an abbreviated pronunciation of babe and is used as a term of endearment. Some would argue that it has the same meaning but that it an anacronym that stands for “Before Anyone Else.” However, it is likely this definition evolved as the result of someone who knew what BAE meant but didn't know where the word came from so made something up. Not like someone on the internet to make something up and pretend it is true of course!

10 Gucci

We are all aware of the luxury brand Gucci, so it should come as no surprise that the word Gucci has been an adopted and used in a way that is synonymous with “fine,” “very good,” or “excellent.”

For example, “How you doin’ Macey, you OK?” “Yeah, thanks, I’m Gucci” or “Hey girl, where’d you get that coat? I love the color and how it looks on you. It’s Gucci.

9 Sus

via VSCO / trentlanesgirl

The perfect example of how words can be used by different youth groups on opposite sides of the globe and decades apart, Sus is short for suspect or suspects. In the 1980’s in London, England, this was in standard use in a particular subsector of youth culture, but never really went beyond that group.

Fast forward 30 odd years and Sus has once again been adopted by teens and is now defined in Urban Dictionary to mean shadey, false, suspicious, or suspect.

Just goes to show that you can't keep a good slang word down.


via People Magazine

One True Pairing refers to the “perfect couple.”

It began as a way of describing your “dream pairing” between two fictional characters either in a book, on TV, or in a movie. For this reason, the abbreviation OTP is often seen in Fandom chatrooms and forums.

Some people have begun to use OTP in real life to describe themselves and their romantic partner or their dream romantic partner. It might also be used for a couple within their social circle.

7 Stan

Via: Complex

In 2000, when Eminem dropped his single “Stan,” the word was nothing more than a nickname for people named Stanley. The song is about an obsessive fan who takes his life after Eminem fails to answer his fan mail. A year later Nas used “Stan” in his classic 2001 diss track “Ether," to which a slow-burning use of the name as both a verb and a noun began. Let's also not forget the fatal blow Eminem recently delivered to MGK by calling him a Stan.

Today, a Stan is a person who is a huge fan, or over the top obsessed about someone or something.

6 Doxing

Doxing is the technique of tracking down and gathering information about someone, using sources on the internet. Coming from the word Docx, meaning documents, doxing can be innocent research but is usually used negatively by people.

The fruits of Doxing can be used for blackmail, “Give us what we want, or we’ll publish what we found.” The practice often results in the publication of information that was not previously available in a public forum.


Most often used in social media posts to signal a mistake, FUBB is an acronym which stands for “Fouled Up Beyond Belief.”

Another excellent example of “there really is nothing in the world that is completely original,” FUBB is very similar to FUBAR. First used in “YANK, The Army Magazine” in 1944 FUBAR means “Fouled Up Beyond All Recognition/Any Repair/All Reason.”

4 Onion Check

Via: Futurity.org

An Onion Check is used to make sure that something you have heard is actually factual and not just a story that a friend has heard.

The Onion is a satirical online newspaper that publishes untrue stories with a ridiculous twist.

Hence, you ask around amongst your crowd and find out all you can about a story or a certain piece of gossip, before fully believing it, sharing, and passing it on, by giving the news the Onion Check first.

This isn't something every teen does but unlike most other terms on this list, this one is a good idea to actually implement.


Via: Blueprint

Do not be taken in as this one mother was. Having seen her daughters text conversations with a friend, the mother asked her youngster what "I'll get NIFOC" meant. The daughter told her it stood for "New Info For Other Colleges" and that all of her fellow teens were using the phrase.

It was only several weeks later when the mom asked about the NIFOC that she discovered it's true meaning.

IFOC is known to mean "In Front Of Computer"... As you can imagine, the mother in this story was surprised to realize that not only had her daughter lied to her about it's meaning but that she had been NIFOC, the N implying less than lady-like behavior.

2 Funnabe

Via: HuffPost Canada

If a person is trying too hard to be funny, or the life and soul of the party, then that person is said to be a funnabe.

It is usually used in relation to the type of annoying, loud, in your face kind of teen who turns up at every party and goes around telling the same joke to everyone.

A funnabe is often a very introverted person with few friends, which is why they are always trying so hard, so if your child is referred to as a Funnabe you might want to take the time to speak with them and discover if they have any friendship issues.


via NerdsOfSydney

Brothers John Green and Hank Green created a YouTube channel, Vlogbrothers, and on it, they hosted a year-long program called Brotherhood 2.0. It was a way for the two brothers to reconnect as adults and they took turns to post a vlog on alternate days. It was the only way they were allowed to communicate for the year.

At the end of each broadcast, one brother would say to the other “I'll see you tomorrow. Oh, and DFTBA” which stood for “Don’t Forget To Be Awesome.”

We thought we'd finish off on a positive note. If you hear your kid saying this you can rest assured...  this is one that we'll also say is cool for parents to use, because everyone could use a reminder to Be Awesome!

References: onlineslangdictionary.com, urbandictionary.com.

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