The 30 most searched slang terms in America
As any good descriptive linguist will tell you, slang is and always has been a valid part of language. In Victorian times, for example, you might say, “My chuckaboo is choking a parrot” to describe a good friend sipping pure absinthe. And if you happened to say that phrase around someone who didn’t know the vernacular well, their only recourse would be to ask what the hell you were talking about.
Luckily, we now have Google to save us from hinting that we can’t keep up with what the cool kids are saying these days. So what current slang is creating the most confusion for the uninitiated? Digital puzzle platform I’m a Puzzle compiled a list of 200 common slang terms, then analyzed Google search data to find out which people searched for most often throughout 2021.
The top 30 is a fun mix of expressions that can mostly be attributed to social media. Some are specific to TikTok: FYP is an acronym for “For You Page”, the TikTok feed that offers an endless stream of videos organized according to your interests. CC stands for “dance credit,” which you might see in a TikTok description to recognize the person who composed the routine performed in the video.
Other entries, though popularized by social media, are technically older. The first case of GOAT, an acronym for “greatest of all time”, dates back to 1992: Muhammad Ali’s wife, Lonnie Ali, started a company called “GOAT Inc.” to manage and license her husband’s intellectual properties. Stan, which describes any devoted celebrity fan, was coined by Eminem in his 2000 song “Stan,” about an obsessed Eminem fan (named Stan).
Many terms on the list, from baby at finna, come from the African American Language (AAL) – also known as African American English (AAE) and African American Vernacular English (AAVE) – an English dialect spoken by black Americans. The prominence of these terms in mainstream slang can be interpreted as both a testament to America’s growing acceptance of AAL and also its continued cultural appropriation of it.
Put your knowledge of modern slang to the test below and learn more popular terms here.
- Simple: “A man too submissive to women”
- Awakening : “Be knowledgeable and sensitive to cultural issues”
- Under : “Suspect or suspect”
- Busin: “Really good, usually describes the food”
- FYP: “Abbreviation for ‘For You Page’, part of the TikTok app”
- GOAT: “Acronym for ‘greatest of all time'”
- No cap: “To say you’re not lying or exaggerating”
- Report: “When the replies to a tweet greatly exceed the number of likes or retweets”
- FOMO: “Abbreviation for ‘fear of missing out'”
- IYKYK: “Abbreviation for ‘if you know, you know'”
- Stan: “Being a very dedicated fan”
- Yes : “Exclamation of Excitement or Approval”
- Youtube : “White, like skin color”
- Babe: “My half”
- Bet: “A term of agreement or approval”
- TFW: “Abbreviation for ‘that feeling when'”
- OOTD: Abbreviation for “outfit of the day”
- POS: “Abbreviation for ‘piece of shit'”
- A F: “Abbreviation for ‘as f***’, used for emphasis”
- Cheugy: “Not cool and not trendy”
- Grimacing: “Something that causes embarrassment or disgust”
- Boujee: “Upscale and luxurious”
- Karine : “An odious and titled white woman”
- Drop: “Fashionable, stylish or sexy”
- Discreet: “Quiet, discreet or secret”
- CC : “‘Dance Credit’, used to credit a person who invented a dance”
- Finn: “Prepare to do something”
- Savage: “Don’t worry about the consequences”
- Delicacy: “Get away with something, be manipulative”
- Phantom: “Suddenly cut contact with someone”