Help me out here.

Miss13, after I hand her the sliced berries she asked for: Thanks.

Me: K.

Miss13: What’s wrong?

Me: Nothing, why?

Miss13: You don’t have to get all sassy.

Me: Huh??

Anyone spot the problem?

No? Can’t find it? Me neither.

It took some probing on my part to discover exactly where the communication gap occurred. A few questions, a few shrugs, a few eyerolls, and then, finally, a few answers. Apparently, I am constantly saying K instead of You’re Welcome and for awhile, the use of this monosyllable (which flies off my tongue and my fingers many, many times a day) has been bugging my teen.

That’s because in teen language, saying K is being sassy (sarcastic). K means you’re agreeing to do something but you’re kind of pissed off about it. Sort of like saying, Fine – which means you’ll do it but you’re pissed off completely. Ohhhh, now I get it.

Keep in mind that the teens don’t talk all that much around here unless they’re talking to each other, and then we can jump in. But for the most part, unless the tween is home, the house is about as loud as a library (with computers open instead of books). Many times a day, I’m peeking into their rooms to ask what’s up, or if everything’s OK. That’s when I get a one, maybe two, maybe three-word answer.

These words tend to require thinking on my part, ie. translation skills. In fact, some have downright twisted meanings. I’m starting to catch on but in some cases, they’re anything but obvious. So after a little digging, and a lot of listening, here’s my handy-dandy guide to understanding teens in 2012.


TEEN SLANGUAGE: WHAT YOU HEAR VERSUS WHAT THEY MEAN (NOTE: Tone is key here, so use your imagination)

K – OK but I’m a little pissed off

Fine – OK but I’m completely pissed off

What – Stop looking at me

Stop – I said stop looking at me

Thanks – Legit thank you

Thanks a lot – Completely sarcastic. No thanks to you

Nice – Not at all nice

Nothing – Something, maybe even Something Big, but there’s no chance I’m telling you

OK, cool – Leave me alone. Please

Whatever – End of conversation

Sorry – I don’t know what I did. But whatever

I’m sorry – Legit apology

Congratulations – Duh, took you long enough to figure it out

Awesome – Couldn’t care less

Sick – Cool, love it

Fail – Ha! Loser

Epic – Classic, huge

Sure – I may or may not have heard the question. You should probably ask it again

Hilarious – About as funny as a funeral

That was random – I didn’t understand what you just said and I’m not going to bother trying

I’m just tired – I’m really upset. You can hug me – briefly – but don’t ask questions or I’m outta here


Got any more teen words or phrases to add to the list? Please. I need all the help I can get.




About randi

Randi Chapnik Myers & Mara Shapiro don't get fazed by their teens. At least they try not to.


  1. Leora Schachter says:

    What about fat? Is fat good? Bad? Both? Totally not used at all anymore? Of is it Phat?

    • PHAT is out. But that reminds me, when Miss13 gets the FAT comment on her FB photos, it’s meant to be sassy (sarcastic). Means she looks great.

  2. Leora Schachter says:

    Sweet? Still good?

  3. Leora Schachter says:

    I also think that a lot of this depends on the tone, right?

  4. Fat or Phat is NOT used anymore. 🙂 Tone is everything!

  5. Ben Shapiro says:

    It’s correct.

  6. My personal favourite – the eyeroll and deep sigh accompanied by Whatever. And let’s not forget the epic use of ‘epic’.

  7. Leora Schachter says:

    And let us not forget…I know, right?

  8. My kids are still young. However, I have some experience in teen speak from my day job – High School Teacher. I think when my kids reach that age, I might need a new dictionary.

  9. Daliah Chapniik says:

    I’ve discovered NEVER to use ANY of the above language. The cooler I try to be, the uncooler I’m told I am. I end up an epic fail. Whatever!!!


  1. […] I think I’m quite smart. Quite cool. Quite with it. So one day, I put the question to my kids: What’s with all the eye […]

  2. […] all know that relationships are built on communication and yet, with teens, we take for granted that it’ll just happen – the way it did when […]

  3. […] So don’t complain that your kids won’t talk to you.  Instead, learn how to speak their language. […]

  4. […] where they’d be on that divine summer afternoon: on the bed plugged into their laptops losing their grammar skills by the second on Facebook. Then I’d picture them tanned and free, sailing, waterskiing, playing tetherball […]

  5. […] a friend could go “chill” at some guy’s house. I accepted the new word into our mutual vocabulary without flinching – cool mom that I am. But then I raced to my computer and emailed […]

  6. […] I’ve got teens, I said. Gotta go […]

  7. […] Say phrases that their friends use in every other sentence, such as “That’s boss” or “True dat.” […]

Speak Your Mind