TikTok has soared in popularity over recent years and for Gen-Z it’s an increasingly important part of their cultural landscape. As its popularity has grown, so have the number of TikTok sayings used on the platform. Some of these expressions are unique to TikTok, while other slang is spilling onto other social media sites. Inevitably, a number of TikTok phrases are also starting to infiltrate everyday life, leaving many parents flummoxed.
It is not just words and phrases that are baffling parents, there are also TikTok abbreviations, acronyms and emojis to decipher. If you’re the parent of teens and often wonder “What does it mean?” when they are using TikTok slang, we can help. Our A-Z guide explains the most common slang terms used on the platform and includes a comprehensive TikTok abbreviations list.
TikTok slang meanings
Here are some of the most common phrases on TikTok decoded:
Abow – Similar to wow, damn, or OMG and is used to express shock or disbelief
Accountant – Sex worker or stripper
ALR – All right. The #ALR hashtag is used on videos to get more views
AS – Adult swim. #AdultSwim or #AS hashtags are used when creating short clips known as ‘bumpers’ in the style of the US Cartoon Network late-night programming block, Adult Swim
ASL – Age, sex, location. Not a new phrase, but it is used on TikTok to mean ‘as hell’
ATP – This abbreviation has a couple of meanings on TikTok: ‘at this point’ and ‘answer the phone’
Baka – Means ‘stupid’, ‘idiot’ or ‘fool’ in Japanese. Mainly used by Anime and Manga fans
Banger – Awesome, great – often used when talking about music
Bones Day or No Bones Day – Jonathan Graziano films his dog Noodle waking up each day and posts it on TikTok. If Noodle stands up, it’s a Bones Day, if he flops back down, it’s a No Bones Day. In short, Bones Days are good days. No Bones Days are bad
Brain emoji 🧠 – Oral sex
BBL – Brazilian butt lift. Used when TikTok users share before and after pictures of cosmetic surgery
BMS – Broke my scale (attractiveness scale). Used when commenting on videos about someone’s physical appearance
Bussin – To describe something really good or delicious in Gen-Z slang
Caught In 4k – To capture someone’s reaction to a situation
CEO – To be called a CEO of something means you do that thing a lot or are good at it
Chair emoji 🪑 – Used instead of a laughing face emoji to show something is funny
Cheugy – Uncool and untrendy
Crop – When someone comments ‘crop’ on a video, they are asking the user to reload the video so it’s not obscured by anything such as a like or share button
DC – Dance credits. Used in TikTok captions alongside the name of the person who came up with a dance to give them credit for it
Devious lick – A trend that involves posting pictures of stolen goods or drugs
DNI – Do not interact. To show that content is not meant for anyone under the age of 18. Also used when someone doesn’t want to interact with people who support or post certain things
DTB – Don’t trust boys or don’t trust bitches
Face card – Used on different social media platforms to mean that someone is and always will be very attractive. Users post selfies with captions such as “face card always valid” or “face card never expired”
Finna – Getting ready to do something
Fingers touching emoji 👉👈 – Shy or nervous
Fire (or lit) – Crazy or cool
FR – for real. If someone asks if you’re ‘for real’ they are wondering if you’re being serious or truthful
Fruity – Someone who belongs to the LGBTQ+ community
FYP – For you page. An individual landing page displaying videos that TikTok thinks you might like based on your personal algorithm
Glow up – A physical or mental transformation
GYATT or GYAT – Short for ‘goddam’ and used when a guy sees a girl he finds attractive. Often mentioned on Twitch streams
Heather – From the Conan Gray’s song, Heather. The singer “wishes they were Heather”, who is desirable and everyone wants to be her. In TikTok lingo, to say, “You’re such a Heather” is a compliment
Hogging – Competition between guys to hook up with the fattest girl at a party
Hot girl summer – Living your best life: having fun, looking good, feeling confident and not caring what others think
IB – In a TikTok caption, this acronym means the video has been ‘inspired by’ another video
Karen – A demanding or aggressive woman
KLM – Calm, meaning fine or ok
Live rent-free in my mind – A person or a thing (often a catchy song or video) stuck in your head
Looted – Good style or fashion sense
Mid – Average or mediocre
Mutuals/Moots – People you follow on social media who follow you back
No cap – Means you’re not lying
NSFR – Not safe for Ramadan. Used as a hashtag on certain videos during the month of Ramadan
OOMF – One of my followers
Pick me girl – A popular girl who craves attention, especially from the opposite sex
PFP – Profile picture
POV – Point of view. Used in captions when a video shows the viewer’s perspective of a certain situation
Pushing P – Means something is positive
Ratio – When a comment has more replies than likes, which is usually not a good thing
RT – Retweet. Someone agrees with something so much, they would retweet it on Twitter
Shadowbanned – When content is blocked by TikTok without your knowledge
Sheesh – An expression to show you are shocked or impressed by something
Simp – Being so besotted with someone that you would do anything for them
SMH – Shaking my head. Used to show disappointment
Sneaky Link – Hooking up with someone in secret. Their identity is known as the ‘sneaky link’
Straight TikTok – The mainstream side of the app
SW – Sex worker
Tea / Spill the Tea – Gossip
TikTok Brain – The term ‘TikTok brain’ is used to describe some of negative aspects associated with the platform. The endless stream of short, fast-paced videos that offer instant and constant gratification is leading to shorter attention spans – with kids struggling to focus at home and school – and, in some cases, addiction.
TFW – That feeling when
Valid – Something that is very good or of a high standard
Vibe check – Judging someone by the vibes you get from them – they either pass or fail the vibe check
W – Used in gaming and sport to mean ‘win’ or to congratulate someone on their success
YT – Not an abbreviation for YouTube but a TikTok slang term for ‘white’. Used to refer to a person’s skin tone
#xyzbca – A jumble of letters with no specific meaning that’s used as a hashtag on TikTok in a bid to get more video views
4Lifers – People who will always be in each others’ lives
1437 – I love you forever
Other Gen Z slang
TikTok isn’t the only platform where kids have their own slang these days. Other social media sites such as Snapchat and Instagram have their own unique terms and phrases. Unique language also extends to TV shows such as anime and video games such as Roblox.
Spending too much time on TikTok?
Although TikTok is a popular social media platform, it can be highly addictive and lead to individuals struggling with TikTok addiction.
Many users – particularly teenage girls – are spending too much time compulsively consuming content to the detriment of other interests and activities, their education, relationships, and mental health and well-being, leading to what some experts call TikTok brain.
In this article, we take a closer look at TikTok to help you understand more about the app, the risks involved and why TikTok is so addictive.
If you’re still struggling to communicate with your teen, despite reading our TikTok slang guide, and you’re worried about their gaming or social media use, we can help.
Get immediate help for your loved one’s TikTok and social media use. Book a free Gameplan call now to learn if our program is the right fit for you.