Gen Z educates adults on using current slang

Pierce County youth ambassador shares tips and tricks to using Gen Z slang.

Photo by Katie Scott

In changing times, one thing is consistent: the older you get the more out of touch with the newest slang you will probably become. In 2023, Gen Z has taken control of the internet and shown that they reign supreme in all things trending. From collective social movements to online fame, Gen Z has taken the internet by storm. 

Being the first, and only, generation to completely live in an age where the internet has existed, Gen Z has created their own form of slang that is not only linguistically unique to their age group, but also unique in that the user must understand the culture of an internet generation to understand the context to their slang. 

Youth ambassador, L. Reed, a Pierce County 8th grader and Middle School track district champion, has partnered with the old folks of the Ledger to educate us on the need-to-knows of Gen Z slang.

Reed has thirteen years of experience being a child and has spent the past three years deeply emerged in youth culture at the middle school level. Reed, mostly out of pity for adults trying to keep up with the changing times, has volunteered her expertise on modern-day teenage linguistics, to illuminate five of the most important words in the ever-elusive world of Gen Z slang.

“When adults use slang they sound goofy. Goofy is kind of like a dumb decision. (They sound) Silly. And like weird,” Reed said.

With that in mind, let’s get into it. Here are five of the most common Gen Z slang words and their meanings:


Rizz is the essence of cool that an individual possesses when talking to someone they are attracted to. Millennials often refer to this as “game.” Rizz is achieving a level of charisma and attraction that evokes the interest of others.

Reed said “Rizz is like ‘W rizz. Or W moves. Or like they rizzed up to them, like they are cool and want to get with them.”


W, derived from the word win, is when someone has achieved success in a situation or interaction. It can be applied to many different contexts and is usually used as a signifier for the person or thing being referenced. 

“W is like good. Like ‘I took the W. I took the win.’ I would say to someone ‘W fit. Like nice outfit!’“ Reed said.

The ick

Just as it sounds, the ick is not a good thing. Explained as something that an individual does that makes you feel gross, uncomfortable, or simply makes you want to leave their presence. 

Reed explains “if someone has an ick, it’s basically like they have L rizz. Or, when someone gives you bad vibes. It’s like the feeling you get when someone is being cringe. When you’re just like….ew to something.”

Fell off 

Fell off refers to the phenomenon when something or someone had high popularity but eventually became unimportant, or no longer relevant to popular culture.

“Like Kanye West. He fell off,” Reed said.

I’m her/them/him

This term is a way to celebrate oneself in being great or achieving high success in something. It refers to the subject being so skilled at a particular thing, that there is no other individual that can achieve the level of success they have achieved.

Reed says “ ‘I’m her’ or ‘I’m them’ is like I’m the best and no one can be on my level with this. I am the best at what I do.”

Older generations may not have grown up with the internet, smartphones or social media, but we were once cool in our own right. We asked Reed’s advice on what adults today can do if they are interested in using Gen Z slang to sound cool. 

Reed’s response was simple.

“Stop being interested.”

As a hopeful millennial, this reporter tried to clarify by asking Reed what is one way adults can use Gen Z slang and sound cool?

Reed simply said, “They can’t.”