Don’t be so salty: TBH this lexicon is lit AF

Parental hacks to deciphering the not-so-secret language of teens


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This new lingo is bare good

“Ugh, she’s so extra!” said my teenage daughter Bridget, 18. 

“Extra fun? Extra cool?” I responded in my nerdy mom voice. 

“No, extra as in ‘extra.’ ” As in OTT (over the top, ahem), as I would have said back in the day. 

I asked Toronto teen Grace, 15, to give me a rundown on all the hip words kids today are using. I’ve provided some helpful tips on how parents might work these words into their own convos.

Bare: To add an exaggeration. As in “That movie was bare good.” Like using the word “very,” but with a “b” and dropping the “y.” In a parental sentence: “Putting together kids’ lunches is bare annoying.”

Dope: Good. “Those sunglasses are dope.” Wait for this one: in 2018, you can say, “This dope law is dope, Justin.”

Lit: Fun or getting hyped. “This concert is lit.” This is a tricky one for parents to use because frankly the things we think are lit are not. “These new tax laws are lit.” Just doesn’t work. 

Jam/Mixer: A small party. Add the word “fam,” and you have a “famjam” or a family get together. Personally, I’d like to try dropping this one on my mother-in-law because I have a sneaking suspicion she’s not listening to me anyway. “So, see you at the Thanksgiving famjam. Can I bring some wine?”

Rate/Back: To agree. “I back that.” First of all, I feel like this is an expression you’re unlikely to hear your teen direct to you. But parents might be able to get away with, “I back that!” when the suggestion of a Thursday night glass of wine is made from one to another.

Dry: Acting mad. “Why are you being so dry?” Funnily enough, being dry could cause parents to get mad or be mad. (See “I back that,” above.)

Although Grace was able to provide me with “on the street” advice above on what teens are saying, the Zeitgeist tells me you’ll want to add these to your own internal urban dictionary.

Squad Goals/Goals: Thanks to Taylor Swift, you don’t have a group of friends anymore, you have a squad. If your squad is bare lit and has many jams, you’re hitting a dope goal. I back that.

AF: Teens (and moms) have always tried to find a way to say the F-word without actually saying it. This “AF” means “as f**k.” “My mom was as bare dry AF over my report card.”

Salty: A little bit snarky or snippy. The important thing here is that you will witness/experience this behaviour very, very often with a teen or a tween, but pointing it out is the equivalent of saying to a toddler, “I think you’re tired.” They’re going to get dry.

TBH: To be honest. Teens have the belief that if they add, “I’m just being honest,” they are no longer in trouble for saying something incredibly rude.

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Kathy Buckworth is the author of I Am So the Boss of You: An 8-Step Guide to Giving Your Family the ‘Business.’

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