10 New Gen Z Slang Words You've Probably Encountered Online

Here's what they mean.
by Anton Reyes for Spot.ph   |  May 31, 2023
Art: Pau Moyano
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In a world where it grows increasingly difficult to tell whether the words you’re reading are written by artificial intelligence, the craft and respect for written speech and modern communication similarly becomes more important. And we’re not just saying that as people whose job it is to string words together.

On that note, what clearer example of dignified use of the written word than Internet slang and meme language? These obscure—and oft hard to understand—ways of communicating and conversing may ultimately turn out to be the only light in the darkness when it comes to rejuvenating the individuality of the written word, as simply knowing these Internet slang terms could make one feel as though they’re in an exclusive social club with millions of young and quick-witted people around the globe.

We here definitely know the challenges of keeping up with ever-evolving Internet language (what is “rizz” and why are we deemed not to have it?), so let us let you in on a few of the slang terms we’ve picked up on by spending too much time on the Internet in 2023. 


Also read: “Charot Lang!”: Turns Out ChatGPT Knows How to Speak in Bekimon

Here are 10 Internet slang words, explained:


At the top of the list, we have the slang term that’s both the most popular and with the most threatening aura: rizz. Put aside those nasty guesses. The definition of rizz is quite simple: it’s one’s charisma and seduction game. You think a friend’s got game? Then they’ve got the rizz. Are they chatting up or flirting with another person at a bar? You can say they’re “rizzing up” a potential partner.

You could even get creative with describing your friends’ and family’s level of rizz. If they have bad game, you could say they have “L rizz.” On the other hand, if you think their number one personality trait is their ability to flirt, then you could call them names such as, “The Rizzler,” “Lord of the Rizz,” “Queen Erizzabeth,” “Corona Virizz,” or “The Rizzard of Oz.”

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When someone gives you the ick, you’re essentially turned off to that person (either as a possible romantic partner or even to them as a person to interact with). Icks are the exact unattractive actions or behavior that turn you off to other people. For example, if you don’t like it when your partner is munching on, say, a quarter-pounder burger with their mouth wide open, announcing to the whole restaurant just how juicy the patty is, then you could say your ick is chewing with their mouth open. Not entirely different from a “red flag,” but icks are more person-specific and there’s more room to disagree on them.


Many a generation have had different labels for complicated or underdeveloped relationships; “mutual understanding” (“MU,” for the kids reading this), “friends with benefits,” “flinging,” “thinging,” other less…dignified labels. “Situationship” is the relatively new term that encompasses all of that and more. In most cases, it’s when two people are engaged in couple behavior, but aren’t a couple themselves and have no plans on upgrading to couple status now or any time soon.


Situationships aren’t even just “fooling around”—though you could say those who get involved with situationships are quite foolish—as the two people within the situationship could depend on each other emotionally, financially, in addition to just physically. It’s a situational relationship. Two people can go from the situationship to back to friends without any issue, upgrade into a relationship, or just end up never speaking again. A relatively harmless new level of “relationship,” unless two people within your friend group get in one. That you must beware of.


Sorry, Android users, this one ain’t for you. iPhones have a .5 lens option for their back cameras, which have become the go-to for taking large group selfies due to its wide range. Knowing what a “.5,” also dubbed “the Gen-Z selfie,” is could save you potentially embarrassing moments of cluelessness when, say, a younger member of your staff or company tells you, the boss, to “just take a .5” at your next company outing.


Also read: Cuddling Without Commitment: WTF Is a Situationship Anyway? 

down bad

Simply, being “down bad” is being desperate for a certain thing. As you can imagine, it’s mostly used in the sexual context, like the modern Gen-Z version of Millennials' “being thirsty” or …older Millenials’ “dry spell.” You could get away with plainly saying “I’m down bad” for Internet-savvy people to immediately understand that it’s been quite a bit since you’ve, uh, whet your beak. However, outside of sex, you could also say “I’m down bad for some ramen” or “I’m down bad in the bank account department right now.” in order to indicate you’re craving or desperate in other areas of life.

There are also levels to being down bad. You could emphasize your desperation by going with variations such as “down horrendous,” “down terrible,” or even “down astronomical” to imply depth.


cuffing season

You may have already heard of cuffing season through SZA’s viral TikTok song-that’s-not-a-song. If you thought that the famous pop artist was singing about how tis’ the season of getting a bit kinky in bed, think again. “Cuffing season” just refers to that informal time of year when it seems like mostly everyone is in a relationship. Normally, that season feels the most prevalent in the December to February months, due to all the couples wanting to “show off their love” on Christmas, New Years, and, of course, Valentine’s. The bane of all proudly single people, to be sure. At least if your older family members start looking for your partner, you could just blame it on cuffing season and how everyone worth having is already taken.


Don’t worry, this three-letter slang term is as simple as it looks. “Mid” can be used to describe something average or unremarkable. For example, if you didn’t have any particularly strong opinions either way for a cafe you just tried, you could say “their coffee was mid.” It’s mid, it’s middling. We don’t really have a joke to say here, so you as the reader could say that this section of the article was rather mid.


passenger princess

If you drive around the Metro chauffering friends and family who don't know how, or can't be bothered, to drive, then you can call them your passenger princesses.  Passenger princesses have no intention of learning how to drive and are more than comfortable being fetched and driven from point A to point B all the time, no matter how inconvenient the time or the place is for the driver. Note that the phrase isn’t a derogatory one. Passenger princesses are usually the type to embrace their title of passenger princess and expect the loyalty of their indentured servant.

Also read: Dr. Vicki Belo Tries to Learn Gen-Z Slang from YouTuber Bella Racelis


In the beautiful hive mind of the Internet, to “cook” is to do something great, create something amazing, or achieve something crazy. It’s most likely derived from the thought of someone “cooking up something special.” Therefore, if you hear someone say a sentence to the effect of “hold up, let them cook,” then they’re essentially stepping in on another person’s behalf and arguing to give them more time to get to their amazing point or to produce something remarkable.


You have other variations like “what was he cooking?”, derived from the meme of Thanos’ mysterious unprepared meal in Avengers: Endgame, and “someone cooked here,” derived from the meme of Walter White bewildered that someone else was able to cook a batch of his famous meth in Breaking Bad. Cooking is used to the same effect here, but in a more comedic way, given the meme images. 

f*ck it, we ball

Finally, we have “f*ck it, we ball,” which is a term to exclaim when on a night out and the energy is high but the vibes are bad. We’ve all been there. We’ve all gotten hyped for a spectacular night ahead, only to be met by the crushing reality that nights can flip on a dime and turn sour instead. Friends can bail or be decommissioned after one too many drinks. Clubs could be boring or, worse, too full to get into. You could see your crush hitting it off with someone else at the bar.


It’s at this point you have a decision to make. Do you call it a night or do you press forward with the hopes through the terrible vibes with the hope that it will change for the better? If you’re down for the latter, then that would be when you tell your friend group, “f*ck it, we ball.”

This story originally appeared on Spot.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Candymag.com editors.

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Anton Reyes for Spot.ph
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