A sociology teacher has a running list of all the slang words his students use
Did you know that the phrase “run that” means to start? And “rashing” means to make fun of someone? Welcome to the vocabulary of Generation Z – it’s a wild, confusing, youthful world. So confusing in fact that James Callahan, a high school sociology teacher, has come up with an alphabetic list of all of the slang words he’s learned from his students, alongside their definition.
A 17-year-old student who asked to be identified as Mew told Buzzfeed that Callahan’s list was revealed when “someone said something stupid and [Mr. Callahan] asked ‘What does that mean? It’s not in my dictionary.'” Naturally, students wanted to take a look at this mysterious dictionary and Callahan shared it with them, which led Mew to take a stealth picture and post it on Twitter.
“My sociology professor keeps an alphabetic list of new slang terms he learns from students and I will never get over it,” they wrote.
The tweet quickly went viral, racking up more than 500,000 likes and nearly 170,000 retweets. People really, really wanted to see the full document and Callahan obliged, posting the four-page dictionary in a public Google document along with the message: “Hello internet! Hope this comes in handy! Stay up, Mr. Callahan.” (A quick cross reference in the Gen Z dictionary reveals that “stay up” means “you will be okay.”)
A quick preview:
Are you officially feeling very, very old? Wondering if you will ever be able to pull off saying the words “no cap” (I’m serious) and “yurrr” (call to attention”)? Yup, same boat.
People were loving Callahan’s dictionary. And they had feedback. Members of the Gen Z crowd hopped into Callahan’s Twitter mentions to suggest a few more important words to the list, including “stan,” “savage,” “straight up,” and “lit.” The sociology teacher was very agreeable and promised to add the slang to his list, pending a peer review from his students.
He also had a civil discussion with one Twitter user who felt that “low-key” was not a new slang word.
“Of course- it is an imperfect document that I never expected to see such widespread distribution,” Callahan tweeted. “Often students will say “Mr., you need to put _______ in your dictionary.” I always oblige.”
Callahan told BuzzFeed that his underlying observations on his Gen Z students is that they are “creative and funny.” Also, he was pretty in awe of how his dictionary was able to circulate so quickly and widely through social media.
“It is interesting to see how Gen Z kids use social media and memes to not only communicate with each other, but also to share and spread cultural information,” he said. “Case in point: this list! I never, ever, ever thought this would see the light of day outside of my laptop, but here we are.”
Let’s all tip our hats to the legendary Mr. Callahan, without whom we would never, ever know/understand the words “bang 30s” and “crackie.”
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