Have you listened to a TikTok, Instagram reel or even just your middle school-age child recently and been confused by the words they’re saying? If so, you’re not alone. 2024 has seen a prodigious wave in slang terms.

Here’s a guide to the latest words that have entered the public lexicon. Prepare to wow your teen and tweenaged children.

Feeling lost with Gen Z slang? OK boomer, here are the basics
Your guide to Gen Z slang — to help you understand what your kids and Gen Z co-workers mean

Top 10 slang words of 2024


“Mid” translates into “middle,” “lukewarm,” “bleh,” “meh” — anything that’s not that great but not terribly bad. Here are some ways to use it:

  • “How was that test?” “I did pretty mid on it.”
  • “What do you think of the new song?” “I thought it was mid.”

“It can ... be used very neutrally to mean something is not worthy of substantive remark, capturing perfectly Gen Z’s blasé attitudes about most things, as in ‘I have no feelings one way or the other. It is the middest of mid,’” wrote researcher Ayesha M. Malik in a journal article entitled “Among the New Words.” “It’s all somewhere near the middle — the spin is up to the speaker.”


You can stylize this term either as “bussin’” or just “bussin.” When something is bussin, it is great, excellent or delicious (the term is often applied to food). Here are some ways to use bussin:

  • “That was a great trip. It was really bussin’.”
  • “You did an excellent job on the meal. It was bussin’.”

Bussin’ has actually been around for a few years, although in 2024 it solidified its part in American vocabulary, according to Today. Two years ago, rap artists Nicki Minaj and Lil Baby released a song titled “Bussin,” helping the word take off.

Skibidi toilet

What in the world does “skibidi” mean, and why is it so often followed up by “toilet”? The story is stranger than it is for most words.

Skibidi toilet traces its roots back to a viral YouTube music video released in 2023 featuring strangely animated heads dancing in urinals, according to Forbes.

The music video often plays a mashup of the songs “Give It To Me” by Timbaland and “Dom Dom Yes Yes” by Biser King, per Mashable. The mashup’s line “so give it to me, give it to me” sounds like “skibidi” when sped up.

Skibidi toilet is very popular among Gen Alpha, but has received more flak than other slang terms because of its strange source.

The weird thing about skibidi is that it doesn’t actually have a set meaning.

“Unlike a regular word ... it ... can just be used as an adjective anywhere,” said Adam Aleksic, who runs an account called the Etymology Nerd on TikTok.

To determine what exactly your kids mean by “skibidi toilet,” you’ll have to ask them directly.

Rizz or rizzler

“Rizz” was Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year in 2023, making this word a little older than others on this list, according to USA Today. However, it earns a spot because it is so firmly entrenched in the modern lexicon now.

It is short for “charisma.” Someone with rizz is very good at flirting ... and a rizzler is an excellent flirt. Here are some examples.

  • “Why did you go out with him?” “He is an excellent rizzler.”
  • “I’ve been working on my rizz so the date goes well.”


“Delulu,” short for “delusional,” is a highly popular phrase referring to people who are, well, delusional, according to Later.

People who are delulu generally are delulu concerning romantic relationships. A growing number of Instagram reels are popularizing the term in this context. Here’s some ways to use it:

  • “I thought he would text me, but I was just delulu.”
  • “This is giving me hope. It’s making me delulu.”

The ick

If you give someone “the ick,” you can bet that your relationship is on the decline. Giving someone the ick means you weirded them out or grossed them out just enough that their initial positive feelings toward you have “flipped,” according to The Guardian.

The ick is now so well-entrenched in modern vocabulary that an Instagram account titled “guywiththeicklist” has amassed over 700,000 followers eager to learn what society’s newest “ick” is.

So far, the account posted 521 times — meaning there are 521 official ways to give someone the ick.


Pookie is one of the nicest words on this list. It is a term of endearment meant to refer to someone special, like a close friend or significant other, according to Fox 59.

Per Queen’s Journal, “pookie” actually originates from 1900s Germany, where parents used it to refer to their children. In modern days, a very loving couple has popularized it on Instagram.

Influencer Jett Puckett frequently refers to his wife, Campbell Hunt Puckett, as “pookie” while he does nice things for her, like complimenting her clothing or surprising her with breakfast in bed.

While the Pucketts first gained a reputation for seeming vapid, followers quickly fell in love with their love for one another.

Here are some ways you can use pookie:

  • “I love you, pookie.”
  • “You are my pookie and I care for you.”

Let them cook

To let someone “cook” is to give them the space or time to pull off something amazing, per the Daily Dot.

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Someone who has cooked has done something very impressive. On the other hand, if someone is cooked, they are exhausted, overwhelmed or hopelessly in love.

How to use cook in context:

  • “I’m not sure his painting is going to turn out too well.” “Shh, let him cook.”
  • “I’m in love with her but I don’t know if she loves me back. I’m cooked.”

Where is all this slang coming from?

Slang has always been a big part of youth culture, according to PBS. It circulates its way through social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

As trends emerge, terms pass from student to student and from friend to friend, especially in high schools and middle schools. People in their 20s frequently lose track with these evolving terms.

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