Unlike the vocabulary of the ‘70s, ‘80s, or ‘90s, most slang terms unique to Gen Z originated online. This has led to language trends changing and spreading rapidly, making it hard for people outside the know to keep up. If you want to better understand the Zoomer in your life, check out the graphic below.
To create this map of the most popular Gen Z terms by state, Crossword-Solver compiled a list of popular slang words in various categories, including dating, gaming, and crypto. Using Twitter’s geotagging feature, they searched millions of Tweets to determine which terms were uniquely popular to each state.
Many words on the map (which you can view zoomed-in here) have been in common parlance for years. On fleek—the top slang in South Carolina, Connecticut, Arkansas, and Colorado—blew up in 2014 when Chicago-area teen Kayla Lewis used it to describe her perfect eyebrows. Ghosting is the most popular slang term in North Carolina, and it’s been recognized as “the practice of suddenly ending all contact with a person without explanation” by Dictionary.com since 2016.
Many of these words may look familiar to people born in the 20th century, while others may leave them scratching their heads. If you think simp is a nickname for that long-running cartoon show, or poggers is related to the collectible cardboard discs, you can find the real definitions for those Gen Z slang terms and more here. (And maybe schedule a colonoscopy, while you’re at it.)