The TikTok Lexicon 101

TikTok Lexicon 101

The impact of Internet culture cannot be overlooked. 

Especially its impact on communication and linguistics. 

2023's Oxford's word of the year selection of "Rizz" clearly demonstrates that. 

Rizz is a word that originated from YouTube Creator Kai Cenat, adopted and popularized on the TikTok platform and has now infiltrated mainstream culture.

Like Rizz there are many phrases originating from various cultures, countries, eras, experiences and backgrounds on the TikTok platform. This amalgamation of linguistic and cultural influences has resulted in a shared lexicon for the TikTok community - creators and viewers alike. 

And this TikTok lexicon has taken over out marketing minds and our feeds. 

However, as the TikTok lexicon becomes more ingrained in internet culture, a significant gap has emerged between those immersed in the platform and those who are not. For those outside the TikTok sphere, understanding the meaning behind the phrases can be akin to decoding a secret language.

If you want to be a part of the TikTok community (or just speak to your Gen Z colleague) it's important to learn what the phrases mean. 

As active TikTok creator with a two-year journey and a following of 18K+, I've gained a lot of insight into the platform's unique lexicon. I've also learnt a ton about what makes the algorithm click so if your brand is struggling I have my TikTok Masterclass

This blog is not meant to be at etymology lesson (please do your research to learn the cultural or creator origin of these phrases before using them). But below is a curated list of phrases that have become integral to TikTok culture, offering a glimpse into this space to help with your brand's marketing efforts:

  1. Rizz - Comes from a shortened form of Charisma - defined as style, charm, or attractiveness.  
  2. Beige FlagUnlike red flags (or signals of bad attributes) and green flags (good attributes) beige flags are used to describe someones endearing and often weird quirks. 
  3. Vibe Check A playful expression used to evaluate someone's current mood or emotional state.
  4. Canon Event - Describes a life changing event. 
  5. Weird Flex, but okay - Flex is to brag about something and this phrase is to brag about something very irrelevant. 
  6. Lowkey - Secretly wanting to do something, but don't want to be obvious about it. 
  7. Rot - To relax and do nothing. Often used in the phrase rot in bed. Which means never getting out of bed all day. 
  8. That’s lit - That's excellent or exciting.
  9. He/She/They are the CEO of ____ - If you're the CEO of something it means you have mastered that.
  10. In her/his/their ___ era - Describes a stage of life someone is in. 
  11. It’s giving - Describes the vibe of something. 
  12. Just morning cause if I was a good morning…
  13. Jumpscare -  A surprising or unexpected element in a video or image.
  14. Fyp - For you Page - the central feed of TikTok. 
  15. Slay - Doing an awesome job. 
  16. Lives Rent Free in my mind - Used to describe someone or something that occupies a significant amount of space in a person's mind or thoughts to the point of being intrusive. 
  17. Barbiecore - Aesthetic inspired by the stereotypical "Barbie" look, characterized by pink and glamorous themes.
  18. GRWM - Get ready with me - a type of video or content where creators film themselves getting ready for an event, outing or any occasion. 
  19. Sprinkle Sprinkle - Blessings or Excessive gifting. 
  20. Sheesh - Means they are shocked or impressed at something. 
  21. Love this for you - Expressing support or enthusiasm for someone's situation.
  22. Yeet - To throw something at a high velocity.
  23. Pressed - Feeling bothered or upset about something.
  24. Leaving us on Read - When someone reads a message but doesn't respond. Or when someone teases something but doesn't give the full details. 
  25. Cringe - describes something awkward or weird.
  26. Spill the tea - tea = gossip. Spill = tell. So tell the gossip.
  27. Delulu - Coming from the full word Delusional - it generally meant in a light hearted or joking manner to playfully tease someone's intense admiration or obsession for something. 
  28. Took a L - Took a loss or experienced a failure.
  29. Main Character Energy - Refers to a feeling or aura of confidence, uniqueness and signifigance that a persona may exceed as if they were the protagonist or main character of their own life story.
  30. Cap or no Cap - Cap is a lie. No cap means no lie or no exaggeration. Used to emphasize the truthfulness of a statement. 
  31. Not the vibe - Something that doesn't match the desired mood or atmosphere. 
  32. A Bop - when music or an album is exceptionally good. 
  33. A Stan - a huge fan or advocate of something. 
  34. Camp - Something that is ironically trendy. 
  35. Say Less - Used to convey agreement or understanding without further explanation.
  36. Periodt: Add emphasis to a point made.
  37. ATP: Answer the Phone
  38. You’re a real one - Compliment meaning someone is genuine, loyal, or trustworthy.
  39. Drip - Cool sense of style. 
  40. Caught in 4K - Means you have been caught red handed. 
  41. Salty - Being upset or bitter about something.
  42. Fit - outfit.
  43. It hit different - Something was especially impactful or emotionally resonant.
  44. Daddy - A variation of the term "daddy" which is used to refer to an attractive and stylish older man.
  45. It’s a flop - Something that didn't succeed or is not popular.
  46. Fire - Something is excellent, cool, or impressive.
  47. It’s the ____ for me - A way to express appreciation or preference for a specific quality.
  48. The Cheese Tax - pieces of cheese that you feed your dog while you are cooking because they are begging. 
  49. Cheugy - Uncool and untrendy. Usually used by Gen Z to describe Millennials' style. 
  50. FR - For real? An expression of surprise. 
  51. It’s like a reward - Something enjoyable or satisfying after completing an awful task or adult admin. 
  52. She / He’s so real for that - A compliment or expression of admiration for someone's genuine or authentic behaviour. 
  53. _____ we don’t know him / her - Disassociating from someone or rejecting their behavior.
  54. Unhinged - Acting in a crazy or unpredictable manner.
  55. Unwell - Feeling emotionally or mentally distressed.
  56. Soft / Hard launch - While in business it means a successful and impactful release or introduction of something. In personal it means first showing your new partner's face on social media. 
  57. Pop off Queen / King - Celebrating someone's success or confident expression.
  58. TNTL – Trying not to laugh.
  59. IJBOL - I just burst out laughing. 
  60. IYKYK – If you know, you know
  61. Loud Repost - You agree with this statment, post, comment A LOT. 
  62. Simp - Someone that shows excessive support or admiration. 
  63. Do it for the plot - Encouragement to engage in an activity for personal development or advancement or just to say you did it. 
  64. Left no crumbs - Being discreet and leaving no evidence behind.
  65. Fam – A term to describe a close friend, who is 'like family'
  66. Get that bag - Focus on making money or achieving success.
  67. Glow up - when someone or something has gone through an incredible transformation.
  68. Shook – Shocked or surprised.
  69. Mid - Mid-tier or mediocre. 
  70. Extra - Someone that is out there and extravagant. 
  71. Unalive - Substitute for kill to get around censorship in the algorithm. 
  72. Huge W - A big win or success.
  73. Bet - Commonly used to indicate agreement, confirmation or a willingness to do something. 
  74. Deadass - I seriously agree. 
  75. Boujee - Someone that enjoys extravagant or lavish things. 
  76. Clap Back - Verbal Retaliation to criticism. 
  77. NPC - Non Playable Character. A derogatory term for those that cannot think for themselves or do not have an authentic POV. 
  78. A Heather - An IT girl. A popular girl.
  79. Sending me - It's hilarious.
  80. Skrt - This is the sound tires make when you stop. Can be used as a synonym for stop. 
  81. Sus - Shortened version of suspicious. When something doesn't seem right.
  82. Whip - Car.
  83. Ghosted - Rejection without a concrete explanation. 
  84. Ok BOOMER - An expression of generational tension. To say okay I disagree with you, but can't be bothered to argue with you.
  85. Their energy was off. Someone's behavior or vibe was not positive or welcoming.
  86. Smol - Small.
  87. Side Quests - Adventurous breaks from a dull regular life. 
  88. The Ick - Something that immediately turns you off. 
  89. Finsta - A secret private instagram - often used for celebrities. 
  90. Ate that - When someone does a remarkably good job at something. This replaced Slay.
  91. On god - No lie. 
  92. HELP - Now used instead of LOL (laugh out loud) - but must be in caps. 
  93. Squad - a group of your besties. 
  94. Left no Crumbs - Someone did something flawlessly. 
  95. GYAT - Get your Act Together. It's used when discreeting admiring someone. 
  96. Fire - Something that is awesome or cool. 
  97. Lore - The background information on someone or something.
  98. MFW - My face when. 
  99. YKTV - You know the vibes.  A phrase indicating shared understanding or agreement with a particular mood or atmosphere.
  100. This is not a drill - This is important and requires attention.
  101. Sleeping (on) - Ignore or not pay attention to something great. 

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