Have you ever paused mid-conversation with a millennial colleague and realised… you don't quite understand some of what they're saying? Fret not! In this article, we come to your rescue by breaking down the millennial lingo so you never have to wonder again!
While I, a millennial myself, don't claim to know all the ins and outs of my own generation's lingo, here's my best shot at detailing a few of the most common terms we use in our daily conversations.
What you think it means:
A shortened form of the word "family".
What it means to millennials:
A term used to address friends (or basically anyone they're talking to).
How millennials use it:
"You understand me, fam?"
"Hey fam, how're you?"
Upstairs or up in the air.
A term popular with Singaporean millennials in particular, the word is used to describe someone who is atas, or someone whose status or skills are perceived to be of a class above.
"Did you know she aced that test? So upz."
"Wow, this photographer's skills are so upz!"
3. Spilling tea
Someone unintentionally causing tea to flow over the edge of the cup.
Revealing secrets, gossiping.
"I heard something happened at the party you attended, spill the tea!"
"Mary got in trouble after spilling the tea on her friend, Jane." Bonus fact! – the word "tea" cannot simply be replaced with any other beverage in this saying – there is no such thing as "spilling kopi siu dai" or "spilling Sprite"!
A shortened form of the word "legitimate".
Cool, awesome, wonderful, "the real deal" – anything synonymous with these terms.
"That meal was legit, man!"
"Congratulations on your promotion! You're so legit."
Past tense of the word "light".
Exciting, fun, "happening", pumped up – usually used to describe parties and other similar festivities. This word is not to be confused with "legit"!
"That event was lit."
"That concert was so lit, I wish I could go again!"
Opposite of sweet; savoury. In Hokkien terms – kiam.
Being upset over something seemingly trivial or insignificant.
"I'm so salty about losing $0.20 to the vending machine."
"Don't be so salty about losing, it's just a game!"
… Korean actor, Bae Yong Joon?
A term of endearment toward loved ones or beloved things; a synonym for "baby". It's also commonly known to be the acronym for "before anyone else".
"I love you, bae."
"That cake is bae, it's so good."
Bonus fact! – it's also a Danish word for poop. Go figure.
8. Throwing shade
Is that even possible?
To insult or judge somebody indirectly or discreetly.
"Are you throwing shade at me?"
"Don't throw so much shade about him, he's my brother!"
??? Is this a typo error?
An acronym for "good game", a term used as a way of expressing one's defeat or disgust with a situation.
"The deadline is tomorrow and I haven't started working on it GG."
"GG I think I forgot to bring my wallet to work today."
Past tense of the word "shake".
Shocked, surprised, taken off-guard, any of the above! Usually said with a notable prolonging of the word.
"He missed that goal?! Shoooook."
"I was so shook by the Game of Thrones season finale!"
As you can tell, some of these might not make a whole lot of sense to the untrained millennial linguist, but perhaps with some practice and the occasional Google search, you'll be spouting millennial lingo to your new colleagues in no time!
Encountered a confusing millennial term that's not on this list? Tell us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Subscribe to our mailing list to get the updates to your inbox