Earlier this year, Subway Canada did a poll asking Twitter users to vote on their favorite bread, which they called “bread bae.” Not one of their 135,000 followers voted, even though it racked up 13,000 retweets, and some folks think that’s because “bread bae” was created by an out-of-touch marketing person.
Plenty of other brands have tried to reach teens using their vernacular and failed and maybe that’s because we just don’t know how Generation Z talks. So Business Insider did a survey to get some insight into the way teens communicate today. These are some of the words that make them cringe and what to use instead, at least for today.
"Swag" - It means someone who is cool or enviable, or they can “have swag,” but teens say it stopped being trendy back in 2012. Now they describe a cool situation or thing as “lit.”
"Bae" - It’s like “babe” and became an ultra-popular way to refer to your S.O., but teens say it’s overused today. They didn’t offer a trendy word to use instead of “bae,” but say “bruh” is a good word for friend.
“YOLO” - Drake’s song “The Motto” made it popular and it means “you only live once.” But YOLO is definitely out and Gen Zs now prefer DJ Khaled’s “key” or “major key” to describe something essential or important.
"Rad" - This synonym for cool hasn’t been trendy since the 90s, so a better way to call something cool today is to say “chill,” which doesn’t necessarily mean relaxed and calm.
"On fleek" - It means something that’s perfect, but teens today say you should go with “looking snatched” instead.
"Sick" - Starting way back in the 80s this meant cool, but these days use “slay” to describe something really great - as in “she slays.”
"Groovy" - No one’s really used this since the 60s, and now Gen Zs use “it’s Gucci” or “sounds Gucci” to say something is cool.