How to speak like one sick dude: A handy guide for older readers

By Mark Andrews | Features | Published:

Keeping up with youth lingo can be hard – but fortunately the Star is here to help! Here’s our guide to what your children are saying.

Do you know what’s peng and what’s howling? If not, you had better wise-up now, bruh, otherwise da peeps are going to think you are a bit of a salt daddy.

Of course, the idea of young people having their own rather baffling terminology is hardly a new one.

Many of today’s confused parents and grandparents are the baby-boom generation who half a century ago would have left their own families – or ‘fams’ as they are known these days – nonplussed with their endless references to what was ‘fab’ or ‘groovy’.

But the rise of social media and text messaging has not just created a few new buzz words, it has led to the rise of a whole new language.

A mixture of abbreviations, acronyms and street slang imported from all around the world via the worldwide web means that today’s teenagers speak a lingo which seems undecipherable by anybody much over the age of 25.

FYI – for your information, of course – ‘peng’ refers to something that is stylish and of top-notch quality; like an Ozwald Boateng prom suit, or a luxury supercar.


‘Sick’, a phrase which originated among skaters and snowboarders, means pretty much the same thing.


But ‘howling’ is the opposite, meaning something that is extremely ugly and undesirable.

A bit of a munter, you might say.

And if your kids tell you you’re ‘Goat’, there’s no need to take offence.

It means you are more peng than peng. The Greatest Of All Time, in fact.


You might have noticed that beards are all the rage at the moment – particularly those huge bushy ones reminiscent of those people who used to cover themselves in honey bees at agricultural shows.

But you have to be careful.

Get lit

If your facial hair is too big and straggly, the yoot will probably say you’ve got a ‘face fro’, which basically means you look like a bit of a tramp.

On the other hand, if you spend too much time looking in the mirror, you will come across all ‘lumbersexual’: this is a man with a well-groomed beard and plaid shirt, who tries a bit too hard to look outdoors-y, but actually spends all days sipping flat whites cafes while tapping away on a laptop.

And that is not ‘chung’ at all.

If your kids seem to be a bit down in the dumps, it could be they are feeling a bit PPD, or post-party depression.

As has always been the case, young people love to ‘get lit’ and have a party, but they may end up feeling a bit ‘black cloud’, ie miserable, after the fun has stopped.

Be careful not to pry too much, or they may tell you to ‘sip tea’, or mind your own business.


If they start talking about Bae, it does not mean they have suddenly developed an interest in the aerospace industry.

Rather it means that romance is probably on the cards, as it is a term of endearment for a boyfriend or girlfriend who comes ‘before anyone else’.

You might also find they spend a lot of time ‘muploading’ pictures on their ‘phablet’, a super-sized mobile phone which is almost the size of a tablet.

Tablet computer, that is, not an aspirin. And if you have got a phablet of your own, they might tell you there are well jelly.

Don’t worry, that’s safe. It means they are jealous, but in a good way. Take it as a compliment.

On the other hand, if you hear them say you are hangin, you might be in need of a bit of a makeover.

They mean you are not only ugly – a bit of a munter – but scruffy as well. Time to ‘glow up’, and improve your appearance.


The big question, though, now that you’re familiar with youth lingo, is how often should you use it?

If you are a middle-aged man in a ‘ship’ (relationship) with a twenty-something girlfriend, you might need to make a bit of an effort, because you won’t want people to call you a ‘salt daddy’ ­– an older man with very little going for you.

And if you at least show that you are at least a little au fait with young people’s terminology, they will probably at least respect you as being a bit of a straight fire, i.e. hot and trendy.

On the other hand, many youngsters say they would find it a bit weird if grown-ups started using their phrases.

After all there is nothing so uncool as something that has entered the mainstream, and if you overdo it, you will probably find the kids start ‘throwing shade’ at you by giving you a filthy look.

Still, if you think it will be fun, why not use the dictionary on this page and throw in a few of these expresssions.

Yolo, as they say.

Your handy guide to youth speak:

Ah nam, verb: to tell on someone. Has been used in street gangs and by teenagers since around 2005.

Ala, adjective: very nice

Bae, noun: term of affection for boyfriend or girlfriend

Bare, adverb: a lot of, very. “She’s got bare crisps”

Beast, adjective: to describe something that’s really cool. “You got me an iPhone? You beast!”

Bicurean, adjective: describes a relationship between an omnivore or carnivore and a vegan

Boom, exclamation: a declaration of approval in inner-city areas. “I’ve just had a delicious sandwich... BOOM!”

Bruh, noun: brother

Buff, adjective: sexy, fit. “That fellow over there is well buff”

Bum, verb: to enjoy something, “You absolutely bum Emmerdale”

Chung, adjective: extremely sexy “I’m on the lookout for a bare chung lady”

Derp, exclamation: used as a substitute for speech regarded as meaningless or stupid

Face Fro, noun: An enormous, messy beard

Fo sho, exclamation: urban version of yes, for sure, certainly. “Do you want to go to the pictures?” “Fo sho!”

Get lit, verb: Have a fun party

Goat, adjective: Acronym of greatest of all time

Hangin, adjective: ugly, most likely with an unattractive body and bad dress sense as well. “Did you see that politician on the news? He was hangin.”

Hater, noun: A person with a negative attitude

Heavy, adjective: cool, interesting “Did you see England in the World Cup? It was heavy!”

Howling, adjective: ugly

Hundo P, adjective: 100 per cent, definitely

Idek, IDK, IKR: ‘I don’t even know’, ‘I don’t know’, and, for when you are exasperated, ‘I know, right?’

Jelly, adjective: jealous, usually as a compliment

Lumbersexual, noun: Somebody who cultivates a well-groomed outdoorsman-type look, but who is really more at home tapping on his MacBook in a branch of Costa

Mint, adjective: cool

Munter, noun: ugly

Owned, verb: to be made a fool of

Peeps’, noun: people, friends

Peng, adjective: Super duper

Phablet, noun: a smartphone with a screen which is intermediate in size between that of a typical smartphone and a tablet computer

PPD, noun: Post Party Depression

Rinsed, verb: overused, used up, all gone

Safe, adjective: cool

Safa, adjective: coolest of the cool, superlative version of safe

Salt Daddy, noun: an older guy, dated by a younger girl, who has nothing to offer

Salty, adjective: showing bitterness about something

Ship, adjective: in a relationship

Sick, adjective: interesting, cool, never seen before. The more sick something is, the better. This usage originated with skaters and snowboarders.

Sip tea, verb: to mind your own business

Sofa-surf, verb: to go from house to house, sleeping on different peoples’ sofas

Squee, exclamation: used to express great delight

Straight fire, noun: something trendy

Throw shade, verb: to say something insulting to somebody, or give them a nasty look

Yolo, exclamation: you only live once, the 21st century equivalent of “carpe-diem”

Vom, verb: be sick: vomit

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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