Gen Alpha's Slang Even Makes Gen Zers Feel Old

Jamie Lerner - Author

Nov. 28 2023, Published 9:23 a.m. ET

Every generation has its own way of speaking, as well as its own fashion, music, and other trends. Now that Generation Alpha is coming into their own as young teens, they have no problem slamming Generation Z for their slang (and probably some other cultural norms). Just for reference, Gen Alpha consists of anyone born after the early 2010s, while Gen Z is anyone who was born between 1997 and 2012.

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As a millennial myself, there’s nothing more fun than watching Gen Z succumb to the same criticism we received from them. But at the same time, I’ve never empathized more with a Zoomer than when one is confused by Gen Alpha’s inexplicable slang. In a TikTok video posted by Nicole Pellegrino (@nicolepellegrin0), we see firsthand how the vernacular changes throughout different generations.

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Gen Z TikToker Nicole Pellegrino asks her Gen Alpha sister for advice on slang.

It’s always fun to see how generations differ, and although many millennials are familiar with Gen Z slang, we’re really separated from Gen Alpha’s vocabulary. Zoomer Nicole took to the app of her generation to see which Gen Z slang still holds up.

Nicole asks her sister and her friend if “slay” is still a word that they use, to which they respond with an avid no. They wouldn’t be caught dead saying that something is “slay,” and honestly, neither would I. “It’s not even funny how out ‘slay’ is,” Nicole’s sister says.

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Gen Z also uses “bet” frequently as a term of agreement, but Gen Alpha says that they don’t really use that. When Nicole suggests using the laughing emoji, her Gen Alpha cohorts look horrified. They claim that a crying emoji should actually be used to signify laughing, and a skull is used to laugh at someone as a joke.

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I’ve also heard Gen Z make fun of millennials for using a laughing emoji, but what could possibly be more fitting? At least we don’t still say “lmao”... or do we…? Even still, I fully support the use of the laughing emoji.

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The slang lesson takes a turn when one of the Gen Alphas brings up the term “GYAT,” which they believe stands for “Girl, your a-- is thick,” but it actually comes from Twitch and YouTube gamer YourRAGE. He first used the term as an abbreviation for “god----” to signify a curvy woman or a woman with a big butt appearing on the stream.

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Gen Alpha claims that “period” is an OK word to use, which Gen Z uses to add emphasis to something. Funnily enough, “period” reminds me of when my parents would get mad at me and they’d end an argument by saying, “period.”

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Gen Alpha also uses the word “preppy” now, but it doesn’t have the same meaning it did for millennials. Lululemon is preppy, but Polo is “Vanilla Girl,” which is what all of Gen Alpha apparently aspires to be. However, when they describe it, they say that a vanilla girl is someone who’s “beige.”

While preppy may have changed meanings, Vanilla Girl sounds like exactly what it is — a girl who’s vanilla, beige, and other words for boring. We hope that Gen Alpha doesn’t really want to become that because so far, they’re already hilarious.

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