Millennial language

Millennials or Generation X – people who were born between 1985 and 2000 and have no idea of what life was like before mobile phones are the current generation in their prime years. True, they get a lot of bad press but they have created a language of their own. In this Academic Blog, our Director of Studies Marianne will look into the most common words and phrases Millennials created as well as their complex online communication codes.

Surfing the net in the city

Ah Millennials… If you were born between 1985 and 2000, chances are you have been accused of a lot of things – snowflake, self-entitled, avocado-eating narcissist… you’ve most certainly been on the receiving end of  a lot of (often unjust) criticism. But here is a very positive thing you created: Your own words and online language.

People often love to criticise young people and their ‘wrong’ or ‘poor’ use of grammar but millennials have managed to achieve something the previous generations haven’t. An ability to convey nuances of tone through text. By taking away letters or adding more, by careful use of punctuation and coordinating text with emojis, this new generation can express anger, sorrow, despair, happiness, excitement, surprise, amazement (or even degrees of these emotions) quite accurately without the help of voice intonation or body language. And even use sarcasm and irony to effectively make jokes.  Pretty impressive huh? Not to mention the new words and phrases. Some are silly and not quite catchy – on fleek? What on earth is on fleek and does anyone use it anyway? Some are funny and sooo needed – the struggle is real for example – an answer to a person treating a situation that is really not that bad as a tragedy – like a said, sooo needed nowadays. Want to hear my favourites ones? Here’s a list:

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Best adjectives:

1 – Woke – You know how the world works, what’s real and you’re often concerned with animal welfare or social justice. “Paul stopped eating meat, went to the #MeToo marches and has now started a crowdfunding campaign to fight plastic pollution. He’s so woke!”

2 –  Dead – When someone says, or types, something so funny that you get killed with joy.

3 – Sick – Simply replace great, amazing, cool with sick. “The film we watched last night was sick” or “Mark you don’t have to come early tomorrow” “Sick!”

4 – Basic – Not an insult but basic means that your personality, opinions and physical attributes are not particularly special – just standard. Most commonly seen in combination with a not-so-polite word – do your research!

Best verbs 

1 – Bounce – Leave. “Lovely party but I’m afraid I’m gonna have to bounce” .

2 – Swerve – Go away. Leave me alone.

 3 – Adulting – When you no longer live with your parents and wash your clothes, cook your food, pay your bills – you’re a grown up, you’re adulting.

 4 – Ghosting – When someone you’ve been texting and exchanging heart emojis with suddenly disappears.

 Fantastic Expressions:

1 - Because duh – Because when you want to stress that something you just said is so true or so obvious that you end with because duh. “I’d love to go on a date with Ryan Gosling, because duh”.

2 – I can’t even – You can’t even what? It doesn’t matter. It could be something specific, it could be reality in general. The point is, the world has gone insane, and we can’t even.

 3 – Netflix and chill – Secret code for “come to my house and let’s fool around”.

 Honourable mentions

1 – Bae – it started as a short for baby / babe, meaning boyfriend and girlfriend but now it generally means the one you love before anyone else. “Look at this picture of me and bae in Paris”.

2 – JOMO – Because FOMO (fear of missing out) is so. last. decade. Now we feel the joy of missing out – JOMO.

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Do you want to talk like a true millennial or are simply interested in learning English in London? Check out our website for information on the courses we offer at





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