For the past 30+ years, the internet has had its own language, jokes and cast of characters. For those who are always online, it’s easy to keep up … but we can’t always be logged into TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and so on.
As TikTok and its 689 million global monthly users gain influence over young people, it can be exceptionally hard to understand where slang terms and other references are coming from, because the app’s interface makes it difficult to link out to external information. Curious users are often left digging through the comments for an explanation for something living rent-free in their heads, and one isn’t always available.
In addition to keeping up with all the definitions and backstories that make up Gen Z pop culture, we also need to keep in mind that much of “Gen Z culture” has been borrowed from and inspired by other cultures. Those communities deserve credit for their influence.
To help decode and demystify the lingo used by young people online, we put together the In The Know Glossary to be your guide through all the latest trends, memes and influencers you need to know to be a part of the conversation. As a new craze pops up every day, this page will stay updated with links out to explainers.
Have at it, besties.
Editor’s Note: Last updated January 24, 2022
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If you enjoyed this guide, check out our coverage of TikTok aesthetics.
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