It wasn’t too long ago that chat-room abbreviations seemed like a foreign language. Now everyone LOLs and BRBs.
Slang marches on, though. If you’re the parent of a college student, you’ve probably experienced a few moments when you’ve been utterly unable to figure out what your kid is saying.
Internet slang and college slang have become one and the same, although some expressions lend themselves better to writing than speaking. The Internet has accelerated the adoption (and ditching) of slang to supersonic speeds. By the time we finish typing this list, some of these terms will already be obsolete. But we’ll try…
The College Slang Dictionary
Bae: “Before Anyone Else,” signifying a sweetie, baby, significant other, attractive (fictional or IRL).
Idris Elba is bae.
Basic: Unashamedly liking things that are mainstream.
I know I’m so basic, but I have to have my Starbucks frap like, every. Single. Day.
Dead: When something really, really funny or crazy has killed you.
Watched that YouTube video three times. Dead.
Extra: Used to describe someone’s obnoxious/overly dramatic behavior.
I used to like singing karaoke with Mark, but he’s so extra he acts like he really is Sia.
Fam: Not your real family, but your close friends. You may also call friends “dad” or “mom,” in an affectionate way.
I can’t wait till September when I can see my UCLA fam again.
Feel: Feel means “feeling,” in a more expansive way. “All the feels” means a tide of emotion, whether ecstatic or sad.
Watching “The Fault in Our Stars” gives me all the feels.
GOAT: Greatest Of All Time.
Beyonce is the GOAT.
Low key: Signifies something you want to keep to yourself, whether because you’re embarrassed or just want to preserve your privacy. You can date someone low key, or low key enjoy something.
I low key love driving my grandma’s LeSabre. The seats are so cush!
Salty: Upset/bitchy, especially while holding a grudge.
I dated her ex for like a minute, and a year later she’s still salty about it.
Shade: Also, “throwing shade.” To cast aspersions/disrespect.
Will Taylor Swift ever stop throwing shade at Katy Perry?
Sus: The millennial equivalent of shady/sketchy; short for suspicious.
This guy said he could sell me a VIP pass for Jason Aldean, but I had to meet him in the Food Lion parking lot to pick it up — at midnight. Super sus.
TBH: To be honest. Can be attached to any kind of statement, not just a controversial one.
I think avocado toast is gross TBH.
TFW: That feel when. Can refer to experiences both mundane (TFW you realize the French-bread pizza at the dining hall is actually made from hotdog buns) or profound.
TFW you walk the stage at graduation and you realize your days of being a college student are over.
Woke: Someone who’s aware of, and sensitive to, societal problems.
She said she was woke because she saw “Get Out,” and I told her, “Watching a horror movie is not a substitute for following the news.”
Don’t feel bad: There are a ton of things you understand that your college student doesn’t — like the need to protect their college investment in case something goes wrong. Tuition insurance can reimburse tuition and other college costs if your covered student has to hit “pause” on their education.