23 millennial phrases and what they actually mean

In our recent social media presentation presented by our millennial Social Media Manager Lucy and millennial Director of Trends & Insights Elise, we took you through how important it is to speak the language of our target market.

Our target market is generally a 27-year-old bride-to-be or 28-year-old groom-to-be, so they are part of that millennial market. And with every generation comes another series of slang words and phrases that you might see on social media and think “what?”

While we’re not advocating that you start using some of these terms if they don’t suit your brand, knowing what they mean can help you better understand your target market. Plus, it’s always fun to wonder how specific slang has come about!

So if you see any of these on social media, this is what they mean.

millennial slang

@brooklyncartoons via Instagram

Lit

Describing a fun and carefree attitude on a night out, usually induced by alcohol.

In a post: My hens this weekend is going to be lit.

Cinnamon roll

A being too pure for this earth who must be protected at all costs.

In a post: What a cinnamon roll.

Fam

An abbreviation of the word family, often used to describe friendship groups alongside actual close family groups. Sometimes used colloquially with the phrase ‘fam bam’.

In a post: Can’t wait to celebrate my cousins wedding with the fam. 

On fleek

The definition of flawless, on point, on trend etc.

In a post: Eyebrows on fleek.

Dead

A figurative phrase referring to laughing uncontrollably, but when you’re not actually laughing uncontrollably. Often prefaced by the word ‘literally’ (of course meaning figuratively) or spelled as ‘ded’

In a post: Check out this vid, I’m dead.

Doggo

A millennial and meme-induced term for the word dog. Can also be used with the phrase pupper, referring to a puppy.

In a post: Look at this doggo!

Bae

A colloquial term for the word babe. As with the 90s term babe, often used to describe close girlfriends as well as a partner.

In a post: Hey bae! 

Extra

An accepted term for something being over the top.

In a post: This wedding dress is so extra, I love it.

Shade

A millennial term for slyly or indirectly making fun of someone within a casual conversation. Also known as “throwing shade”.

In a post: Stop throwing shade pls.

millennial slang

@brooklyncartoons via Instagram

Troll

Someone who posts on the internet for the sole purpose of causing trouble, or posts to continually abuse or attack someone. Also known as ‘trolling’.

In a post: She’s being such a troll.

YOLO

You Only Live Once, the millennial version of carpe diem or seize the day. Accepting that there will be consequences to your actions but you don’t care in the present moment.

In a post: Meant to be saving up for rent but just booked flights to Europe YOLO.

Salty

To be obviously annoyed or frustrated at something and letting people know it.

In a post: I’m still salty about the fact that my high school cancelled our Central Australia trip (true story)

Humblebrag

When referred to by someone else, this is when you have been caught talking casually about a situation but could be considered bragging. Alternatively used when you do want to brag about news but not be seen as conceited.

In a post: This is the third time you’ve posted from Europe, humblebrag much?

Spicy

Juicy or interesting news that is worth listening to, often gossip.

In a post: This episode of Riverdale is going to be so spicy.

Spill the tea

To share a secret or piece of gossip to someone else. Often referred to as “spilling the tea”.

In a post: What does this status mean, go on spill the tea!

Woke

To be aware of trending societal or political issues as if ‘waking up’ to the situation around you.

In a post: After attending that lecture I feel so woke.

Savage

To be harsh or critical to someone or something in a way that is endearing or accepted to those around you.

In a post: This rejection is SAVAGE.

millennial slang

@brooklyncartoons via Instagram

Shook

To be shaken up by something that you previously didn’t know or didn’t expect.

In a post: Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin actually already got married and we are shook.

Feels

Similar to its original ‘feeling’, to have feels is to have an emotional reaction to something.

In a post: This movie gave us feels.

NSFW

Not Safe For Work, often prefacing to a crude or inappropriate post on the internet to warn people not to open the post until they’re at home.

In a post: NSFW: What you really want to tell your boss NSFW.

Goals

Pointing towards aspirations of a particular event or situation, referring to life goals and often used under a hashtag.

In a post: This wedding is #goals.

Sorry not sorry

Pretending to apologise for something you know you shouldn’t have said or done but don’t regret. Has a similar meaning but is more apologetic than the phrase “no regrets”. Often used as a hashtag.

In a post: At the Grand Canyon this morning, how’s your Monday? #sorrynotsorry

Basic

A insult for someone or something that is considered plain or boring.

In a post: Her Instagram is so basic. 

Now that you understand what they’re saying, here are some tips on how to further understand selling to the millennial market.

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