Words that teens should know

New words, clever words, some to make you smile


Some are new, so you may be the first in your group to learn them. Others are still finding their feet after being around a few years.

Anyway, we believe they will contribute something to your vocabulary. So have fun with them!

food swamp

An area that has a lot of fast-food restaurants or low-nutrition foods.


A photo of your bare feet, or of your legs and shoes.


To remove unwanted features from a product so that it is stripped back to a more basic form.

troll farm

An organized group that attempts to disrupt an online community by posting angry or fiery comments.

tech-free tourism

Traveling without a mobile phone, iPad, laptop or similar devices, especially to countries that have limited internet access. (Also called tech-free travel.)


Software with certain features disabled in the hope that the user will upgrade and pay for the full working product.

facebook diarrhea

Putting every trivial detail of your life on social media, for example “swatted a fly”, “watching tv”, “just burped.” (Also see personality spammer below.)


Doing absolutely nothing. (In contrast to doing lots of things at once, which is commonly called multi-tasking.)


Someone who is always looking down at their phone so you never see their face. (From phone + faceless.)

digital crowding

Too much activity to manage on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.


A time of great suffering. This could be genuine suffering, as going through a time of great loss, or it could be applied to someone who always seems to be complaining about how bad things are for them.


Stupid. Years ago, a crazy person was referred to as having “lost their marbles”. A marble-free person is also a description of someone who has lost their marbles. A nut-case, numskull, blockhead, bonehead, bozo or birdbrain.


Having too many friends or followers on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media — especially too many “friends” or followers you don't really know or care about.

usie (or ussie)

(Pronounced USS-ee) — A group photograph taken by one of the group. (Similar to selfie, although selfie is a photo you take making yourself the main subject, whereas an ussie is a photo of “us”)


Explain something in a long, boring, overly technical way. (From nerd + explain)


An abusive, foul-mouthed woman.

grinning phone syndrome

When you see someone looking at their phone and grinning, smiling or laughing, you could say they have grinning phone syndrome.


A torrent of tweets from someone about a particular topic.


Being overweight but happy.

trophy kid

Someone who, as a child, was always praised and given trophies just for participating instead of winning. As an adult, they usually expect praise and rewards without doing anything to earn them.

eye broccoli

People who make themselves look unattractive.


A person who decides to stay away from online activities. This may be because they need to stimulate their brain, or they may have been a victim of cyber-bullying or some other uncomfortable online experience.


Someone who is heartless or uncaring about other people's suffering or problems. (Like someone who would walk past an injured person.)


Boring details about someone else's life. (From drivel + trivia)

personality spammer

Someone who bombards Facebook and other online media with endless personal posts no-one cares about. (“im cleaning my teeth”, “i saw an ant.”) (Also see facebook diarrhea above.)

space invader

Someone who stands too close to you while talking to you, and therefore seems to have no concept of personal space.


Snubbing or ignoring someone while you look at your phone instead of taking an interest in the other person. From ph (the first part of phone) and ubbing (the last part of snubbing).


Sneaking out of a party or other event without saying goodbye.


Stuff people wear that the cool kids reject. Clothes that go against good taste, such as wearing socks with sandals, broken Crocs in public, or old-fashioned styles. Also, eyeglasses with frames that were fashionable many years ago but that no-one wants to be caught dead with these days.


Putting too much on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites. Some people just groan when they see oversharing that includes endless photos of someone else's food, pets, weird facial expressions, etc., and non-stop posts and tweets that are as boring as bogwater.

word of post

Gossip and news spread by information posted on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. (As opposed to “word of mouth” — information you tell someone personally.)

word up!

It means you agree with something someone has written. A bit like giving the “thumbs up” to show you approve of something.


(Pronounced “I go!”) — A text message from a boyfriend or girlfriend saying they've left you. Example: “The creep didn't have the courage to tell me face-to-face that he was breaking up with me. He just sent me an iGo.”

pity friend

Someone on Facebook or another social networking site whose friend request you accept out of pity for them.

couch commerce

Ordering food or other goods and services from home.

Shhh car, or quiet car

A train car in which passengers are not allowed to talk loudly or use noisy devices.


A person who is briefly famous, especially someone with little or no talent.


A huge number of people with the flu at the same time in the same area.

Velcro dog

A dog that seems to stick to its owner, especially following the owner from room to room.


You can't pronounce this acronym because it's not a word. The letters stand for Don't Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out. It sort of means “good riddance“, and is always meant in a critical or negative way, such as a bad politician getting kicked out of office. Also lower-case: dltdhyotwo.


An older woman who looks like she would have been very attractive when she was younger.

iPod oblivion

Someone who is not aware of what's happening around them because they are listening to an iPod or similar device.


A word invented by Sarah Palin to mean refute (show to be wrong) or repudiate (reject, disown).


An error made while texting using your thumbs to type. [Blend of thumb and typo.]


A misleading news story designed to seem like news but which merely promotes someone's personal views or hidden agenda. [Blend of information and propaganda.]

cracka (or white cracker)

The new meaning is “an intelligent and sophisticated white person“ (used in response to the racist New Black Panther Party). The old meaning was meant to be an insult to poor whites. (Note: When the New Black Panther Party used cracka to try to insult whites, many whites started using the term proudly with its new meaning to irritate the Black Panthers.)


Someone whose Twitter, Facebook, or other social network page deals only with informing others about themselves. (me + Informer)


Grouchy Old Atheist. GOAs try to ban phrases like “In God we trust”, try to stop people praying or mentioning God in schools, try to imprison the pope, and so on. They often take their grouchiness to court to try to spoil the day for Christians. GOAs belong to groups like the Freedom from Religion Foundation and other activist anti-Christian groups. They don't seem to take to court Muslim or Hindu extremists who kill masses of people, but will complain loudly about a Christian handing out a Gospel tract in a school or a teacher who says God created the world.


A dead celebrity, especially one who has been used to endorse products.


Pedestrians who walk around with earphones in their ears. They often get injured or killed by cars when they cross the street because they have their music so loud they don't hear traffic coming.

tramp stamp

A tattoo on a woman's lower back that can be seen when she wears a short top and low-rise pants.


Someone who shops quickly without much thought because they are short of time or dislike shopping.

yarn bombing

A prank in which statues or other objects in public places suddenly appear wearing knitted items such as sweaters, cardigans, or beanies.


Someone who has a good income but is not yet wealthy. (From the initials in High Earner, Not Rich Yet.)


Telling a Werbeloff is telling a big fat detailed lie about someone or something. It's named after Clare Werbeloff of Sydney, Australia, who told a TV news crew details about a shooting that she claimed to see but didn't. As soon as a reporter and camera approached she said she had seen the shooting and made up an instant story with detailed phoney dialogue.

nanna technology

Outdated machines and devices that your grandmother may have used, such as vinyl-record players, wind-up watches, and toys that don't use batteries.

social not-working

Surfing a social networking site instead of working.


Staying home for your vacation. Example: “The cost of travelling is so high we decided to have a staycation this year.”


A home-made meal that imitates one you would buy in a restaurant.


Driving While Texting. The dangerous, and usually illegal, practice of driving a car while sending or reading text messages.

Wiki hick

A student who uses unreliable information in Wikipedia for homework or assignments without first checking the facts with a reliable source.

white pollution

Litter and trash like plastic bags, paper and cardboard cups, and flimsy food containers.


Someone who eats only what they can get for free. Street kids and misers are largely freegans. The word comes from vegan, which is someone who doesn't eat meat or animal products.

mullet strategy

This means designing a website that has its main pages professionally written, designed and edited, but filling the rest of the site with pages that contain dreary blogs and unedited visitors comments.


A military view that focuses on the next war rather than current conflicts.

second-hand speech

Overheard mobile phone [cell-phone] conversation.

free-range kid

A child who is allowed a lot of time during the day to do what he or she wants.


Computer software that takes up a large amount of memory but has little functionality.


Programs you don't want that are pre-loaded on new computers (e.g. trial versions, services you have to pay for testing them, and outdated programs that charge you to upgrade).

walking piñata

A person who is constantly criticized or ridiculed. (That second word, by the way, is pronounced pin-YAR-ta.)


Walking beside an attractive stranger or someone famous to get people to think you know the person.


Hmmm. You may do this yourself, but we hope not. Uptalkers turn up the last word or syllable of a sentence to make it sound like a question — even though they are merely making a statement. They will say “I'm going to school??”, “I've lost my lunch???”, “I bought some new shoes????”. They are just statements of fact, but uptalkers make everything sound like a question. Weird!


Someone who spends too much time on the internet.


Australian slang for body piercings. People who have them are called skatters.


1. An emoticon.
2. A logo that stays in the corner of a television screen.


Something beside or within reach of a toilet, such as magazines, ornaments, brushes, toilet paper. Example: “All our old magazines go in a toiletside rack for guests to read.”

type T personality

Someone who regularly seeks out thrilling or dangerous experiences.

extreme tourism

Traveling to war zones and trouble spots such as Iraq and the Gaza Strip.


A big new home in incredibly bad taste.


Taking a vacation with your family or a few close friends.

fur kid

A pet whose owner treats it as though it's a child. Also: fur-kid, furkid.

cat typing

Typing in emails and elsewhere that is so bad it's almost unreadable. (Like the random keystrokes made by a cat as it walks across a computer keyboard.)

lunch rage

Becoming hyperactive or acting crazy after eating or drinking something you are allergic to.


A vegetarian who occasionally eats meat.


A special video camera — so small you can hide it inside stereo equipment or a teddy bear — used for spying on baby-sitters. Also: nanny cam, nannycam.


A camera attached to a wild animal.


Addicted to getting a tan.


The fear of guns. You would say that someone who is afraid of guns is a hoplophobe, and is hoplophobic.


A song or tune that keeps wriggling around in your mind after you've heard it on the radio, or in McDonald's. Sometimes you will hear someone whistle or hum a tune, and it will keep coming into your mind even though you don't want it to. That's a bad earworm. Earworms don't have to be songs you like — they just have to be persistent.

hurry sickness

A condition where a person feels chronically short of time, and tries to do every task faster, then flusters over any delay.

red line

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