The latest on travel, languages and culture by EF Education First
Menu

10 English slang terms you need to know in 2021

10

Last year’s slang? Forget it. It’s gone – tragic. I’ve taken a humble pledge to keep you up-to-date on the ins and outs of English slang, and with the booming popularity of Tiktok, there’s a whole new generation of words to keep up with.

They may not all have been coined this year, but it’s looking as if they’ll go the distance, so buckle up and get ready for 10 of the English slang terms you need to know in 2021.

1. Big yikes

An extension of the word “yikes” you can use this one when you see something that makes you recoil in mild horror or embarrassment. In scenarios when a simple “yikes” just doesn’t cut it, you can sub in the much more severe “big yikes”.

2. That ain’t it

Seen something that makes you wince? Perhaps someone doing something unsavory or taking a prank on a friend just a little too far? Then that just ain’t it. A handy alternative for when you’ve big yikes-ed just one too many times.

3. Go off

This one can be used in two ways. One is to hype someone up (à la: “Yas, go off, queen”). As of late, however, this has more commonly been used to mean angrily complaining about something.

You can also go off on someone, which refers to losing your cool (hence the escalation into angry complaining).

4. Simp

A hotly contested one, this term is used to refer to someone who does “way too much” for someone they like or are fond of. So someone who is being overly sappy towards another person to win their affections be called a “simp”.

People often disagree with the use of this word, since – as we all know – it’s nice to be nice, and calling someone out for that is unnecessary. However, it seems this is mainly used in extreme cases if someone is really sucking up to another person.

5. Mutuals

This one is nice and easy, but crops up a lot on social media. If two people are following each other, they are mutuals – be it on Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok or whatever your social media fix of choice is. They have been brought together through their shared liking for one other.

6. Sleeping on

When you’re not paying enough attention to something or someone, you’re said to be “sleeping on” them. This can be used for anything from a talented celeb to a certain brand of chocolate. For example “Dude everyone is sleeping on Sriracha cookie dough, that stuff’s the best”.

7. CEO of

Essentially something that you’re very good at, hence making you the CEO of it. This is a big one on Tiktok and is commonly a comment on what someone did in the video.

If a person filled a shoe with baked beans (it gets weird over there), they might be “CEO of putting baked beans into shoes”.

8. Hits different

If something (be it an emotion, song, food, etc.) hits you in a better or new way, it hits different. For example, if you hear the same song before and after heartbreak, it might “hit different” the second time. On a less sentimental note, you can go to a brand new pizza shop (yes, another pizza example) and the pizza there may just hit different.

9. We move

A phrase for when you just keep chugging on, no matter the circumstances. Missed your flight? No matter, we move. It can also be used as an alternative for “yes” when asked to hang out. For example: “Do you want to go grab a coffee?”, “We move”. Because who doesn’t love slang that makes the original words longer?

10. Yeet

This refers to throwing something away from yourself at high velocity. If someone chucks their water bottle across the room into their bag, they’ve “yeeted” it. This action is sometimes accompanied by said person yelling “YEET!” as they throw it. It’s about as charming as it sounds.

Practice your new lingo on a language courseLearn more

Test your English in minutes

Learn more