Technology Tuesday: Decoding the Teenage Code Language


Are you doing your best to keep up with your kids’ texts, but only able to understand a word or two inserted in between cryptic emojis?  Welcome to the world of teenagers today.  They use Acronyms and Emojis to communicate more than words these days.  And, as typically happens, we’re often behind the 🎱 

So, I sat with some teenage girls recently to decode their codes.  I asked them about the slang words they’re using lately, the acronyms, and the emojis.  Buckle up for their answers…they may not be saying or texting what you think they’re texting.   

Common Slang Words

  • “Hook up”—anything from making out to sex, but most agree that it typically means making out
  • “Did it” or “Banged”—had sex
  • “Open House” on Snapchat—the parents aren’t home and they’re going to throw a party
  • “Edibles”—pot brownies.  One of the girls said, “Yeah.  We can’t have bake sales at my school anymore because people kept bringing edibles.”  
  • Texts with periods are considered “micro-aggression.”  The girls all said they really wish their parents knew because evidently we’re all supposed to use run-on sentences so they don’t think we’re upset 
  • “K.” is also considered aggressive
  • … in a text is evidently “super passive”
  • “T”-drama
  • “Beef”-more drama
  • “Shipping”—being in a relationship.  One of the girls said, “As in a lot of people ship Harry and Hermione but I personally don’t.”
  • “Lit”—hyped, but can also mean high
  • “Baked”—high 
  • Vaping—e-cigarettes that more and more kids are using
  • Juul—a type of e-cigarette that we’re hearing about lots lately.  They have a concentrated amount of nicotine and look like flash drives (more to come on Juuls in upcoming weeks on Technology Tuesday)

Relationships Defined

Progression of relationships—

“Friends”—we know what that means, although there is some kissing involved at times


“A Thing”—more exclusive, but not always.  Usually don’t have a thing with more than one person, but haven’t made it official



AF—stands for as f_ _ _ --used in “You’re hot AF” or “I’m tired AF.” Or “You’re pretty AF.” (I tried to ask the girls why in the world that would be a compliment…and they didn’t seem to see the irony).

HU—hook up

HMU—isn’t a bad thing, like “can you hook me up with a ride somewhere”

LMAO—laughing my ass off

LMFAO—same as above with the F word inserted for emphasis

FML—F my life

OTP—one true pairing, as in a relationship


🍑 someone’s bottom

🍆 make phallic symbol

💦 inappropriate in certain contexts

🍆 💦 you get the idea

🔥 “you’re smoking hot”

😏 flirt

🤗 some discussion if this meant a hug or hands off


💙💛 friendship

This obviously is not an exhaustive list, although it may make you feel exhausted reading it.  We’ll keep these coming every so often on Technology Tuesday’s, because we know the words and the phrases (and now emojis) change constantly.  But, more than anything, we’d encourage you to talk with the teenagers you love.  It is harder than ever before to grow up…with all of the social media, pressure, and intensity that pervades the lives of these kids.  We hear about it daily in our counseling offices.  Let’s encourage them every chance we get.  Let’s keep them in places where they can talk openly and hear truth…from their peers, from other trusted adults, and us.  They need us…they need our empathy and our support.  They need us to ask good questions to help them discover more of who God has called each of them to uniquely and bravely be in this world.