10 English slang terms you need to know in 2023
As we well know by now, slang moves fast. 2022’s terms? Dead and gone. In their place, a whole new array of words, phrases and acronyms being hastily thrown into dialogue.
Similarly to last year, we mostly have TikTok to thank for the advent of these English slang terms. Some of them are new on the block, while others are getting a second wind. Regardless of their origin, for now it seems as though these words and phrases will pull through into 2023. How long they’ll stick around beyond that is, as always, anybody’s guess.
1. It’s giving
You can throw this one into conversation to describe the vibe something is giving you. Is a dress you’re trying on a little too long and formal? Maybe it’s giving prom. Your friends have choreographed a particularly cheesy dance? Maybe it’s giving High School Musical. In fact, if something is just great, you can also use “it’s giving” as a standalone compliment.
Think of this as a substitute for “phase”. Super into ramen lately? Looks like you’re in your ramen era. Maybe someone’s been causing a lot of drama recently — they’re in their villain era.
This one is a pure and simple acronym. Ikyky = if you know you know. And now you know.
Okay okay, hear me out: I know this isn’t new. In fact, at this point “slay” is practically vintage slang. But she’s having a resurgence, and this time not only as a verb, but also as an adjective. “She slayed that” = she killed it. “That’s so slay” = that’s amazing/cool/great. This one also works as just a standalone compliment: “slay”.
5. Fell off
Has a celeb who previously reigned supreme, really not been killing it as much lately or totally disappeared off the radar? For cases such as these, you could say they fell off.
This one stays pretty close to its original definition, but it’s used in a slightly different context. Don’t want to share that new cute cafe you found? Or maybe your friend is being cagey about where they got their new top. This is referred to as gatekeeping. And, for the record, cool kids don’t gatekeep.
Not just friends but also not really in a relationship? Sounds like you’ve got yourself a situationship. This handy term can be cracked out for that in-betweeny zone, where you’re not quite sure where you (or another person) stand.
8. Bad take
If your friend says something or shares an opinion that makes you cringe, you might tell them it’s a bad take. This can apply to anything from a poorly-formed stance to a take you just totally disagree with, no matter the context. Your friend hates bananas? That’s a bad take.
9. Private not secret
This one is particularly relevant on social media and applies to couple pics where someone is being private, but not secret, about their significant other. Maybe it’s a simple shot of their hands intertwined at the dinner table. Or a selfie where the phone is conveniently covering their partner’s face. They’re keeping their relationship private, but it’s not a secret. Can also be used as a verb à la, “Oh she’s private not secreting him”.
10. Touch grass
Sub this one in for the old phrase “get a grip”. If someone’s gone off the deep end, spiraling or said something totally inappropriate, you can tell them to “touch grass”. Time to go ground yourself.
Coined mid-2021 and especially popular in recent months, someone who has “rizz” has great charisma. You can use this for anyone who’s super engaging and has a particular knack for charming others (especially love interests).