US high school teacher creates dictionary of students' slang and it's hilarious

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock 

A high school teacher's translations of his students' slang has gone viral - and it 'slaps' (is of high quality).

After a snippet of sociology Professor Jim Callahan's "Generation Z Dictionary" was shared to Twitter, it quickly racked up 164,000 retweets - and counting.

"My sociology professor keep an alphabetic list of new slang terms he leans from students and I will never get over it," the Tweeter wrote.

Twitter users were quick to pull out their favourites:


Even Roxanne Gay agreed the list was valid ("of high quality")

Such was its popularity that Professor Callahan agreed to release the full document, inviting Tweeters to make a donation to community programs that need funding within his school - Lowell High, in Massachusetts.

The document is full of expressions your teenagers are probably using. Do you recognise any of these?

To beat your face/cake your face: Put on makeup

Cross fade: Doubly inebriated

deadass: I am serious; Are you serious? may be used as a question or statement of fact

Gassing/Hyping: Offering compliments; feeding one's ego; "I'm trying to be like you."

Low-Key: Not obvious

No cap: I am serious/ no lie/ for real

Nunya: None of your business

That ain't it: Unacceptable - I do not approve

And it's not over yet.

With the internet suggesting other options, Mr Callahan's Generation Z Dictionary will only get bigger and better.

Writing for The Lighthouse, Macquarie University's multi-media news website, Dr Nick Wilson, a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at Macquarie University explained that teenagers are "linguistic innovators".

"Languages changes sometimes as fast as fashion or styles of music, and just like fashion, it can be used to mark out a distinct identity," Dr Wilson wrote. "In sociolinguistics, which studies how social factors shape how languages change over time, it has been found that changes are often initiated by younger speakers, especially teenagers." 

And yet, he notes, words and phrases can date quickly.

"Look at the words we use to mean "really good": awesome, sick, rad, dench, lit, wicked. The word you use for this will probably identify you as having been a teenager at a particular time and place, and using it in the wrong context (e.g. with teenagers now) will mark you out as decidedly uncool."

According to Dr Wilson, language changes sometimes as fast as fashion or styles of music. "Just like fashion, it can be used to mark out a distinct identity. Since adolescence marks a period of our lives in which we strive to assert our own identity, and when we are also are very concerned with the respect of our peers, it is no surprise that teenagers are amazing linguistic innovators. This has been the case for a long time."