List of neologisms and slang 2023

I started my newsletter English in Progress in October 2022. I started collecting neologisms and slang as a newbie, amateur lexicographer, presenting lists to my readers once a month. I have learned a lot along the way! I started off grouping neologisms and slang terms together, then I decided they needed to be seperate. My sources have changed along the way, and my notations as to where the words come from and how long they have been around.

Below, you will find an alphabetic list with words from my first collections. They are very mixed in quality, and my list for 2024 is going to be a lot better! But you never know, perhaps someone will land here via Google, and will find something below that they needed.

Any underlined word means you can click on it for my source.

Gen Zalpha slang 2023

These are the slang words featured in my newsletter that (as far as I can tell) did not exist before 2023. You can click on the word to see where I got it from.

Q1 = first quarter, in other words January, February or March

bare minimum Monday – a phenomenon where employees decide to do the bare minimum work required on Monday, often as a way to ease the anxiety that comes with the beginning of the week

bed rotting – the practice of lying in bed doing nothing all day, as self-care (oldest entry on Urban Dictionary: 2023)

circumboob – based on sideboob and underboob, for the circumboob look, both sidebook and underboob need to be visible (in use since Q1 2023)

de-influencing – influencers on Tik-Tok giving critical reviews of products, telling consumers what not to buy.

frogisation – when your crush starts appearing less attractive the moment they start fancying you back (July 2023: not (yet) on Urban Dictionary)

to give Barbenheimer – apart from referring to the two movies, this phrase is now also being used for two phenomena with contrasting vibes. “interesting contrast, it’s giving barbenheimer!” (On Urban Dictionary since 2023)

to glaze – The act of overly obsessing about someone else and constantly praising them (first entry in Urban Dictionary for this definition: Q1 2023)

goblin-timacy – (goblin + intimacy) showing yourself for who you really are from the first date, goblin-mode tendencies and all. (In use since Q1 2023)

Older Gen Z slang that I discovered in late 2022/ 2023

This list is obviously subjective, as the title will tell you. I started collecting neologisms in October 2022

From March 2023 I always put a link in the word itself, and made a note from when I think the neologism came. When I started collecting them, I did not do this. For those words, I have tried to make a note of where I found the word for the ones that came to me when I just started doing this, so that there is something at least.

This list will grow with each newsletter that I publish.

🌽⭐ (corn emoji star emoji) – porn star, a way to get past content filters (in use since 2022, I think)

adorkable – dorky and adorable (added by MW in 2022)

air mattress Ashley – a low-quality woman (hence the comparison to an air mattress) who offers herself up to married men on TikTok, saying that if his wife isn’t treating him right, he can come over. (On Urban Dictionary since 2022)

bougie broke – not having as much money as you want, but still able to buy and do relatively expensive things (on Urban Dictionary since 2019)

boujee – people who enjoy wearing fancy clothes, being affluent and wealthy (from bourgeoisie) (earliest Urban Dictionary entry 2006)

bussin – very good (first entry on Urban Dictionary: 2006)

cake – buttocks. Possibly fat, possibly female. “All this cake, but you’re still hungry” (On Urban Dictionary since 2005)

Cap / no cap – a lie / not a lie (first entry Urban Dictionary: 2016)

centennial – someone who was born between the late 1990s and the early 2010s (observed by Cam Oct 2022)

cheugy – (pronounced chew-gee) out-dated and lame, often used to refer to styles as worn by millennials or from the 2010s (oldest entry on Urban Dictionary: 2018)

choong – describes someone attractive: “That girl on the train was choong.” (On Urban Dictionary since 2003)

cuffing season – a term popularized by SZA’s song “Big Boy” that refers to the time of year when single people are actively searching for short-term romantic partners to spend the colder months with. (On Urban Dictionary since 2010; the song came out in Dec 2022)

dank – a term used to describe something of premium or excellent quality. “This bag is so dank.” (oldest entry on Urban Dictionary: 2003)

daterview – the kind of date that makes you feel you are at a job interview (On Urban Dictionary since 2022)

to deep it – to think about something deeply, to overthink something “I’m not deeping it” (oldest entry on Urban Dictionary: 2017)

delulu – delusional (on Urban Dictionary since 2016)

demisexual – experiencing sexual or romantic attraction to another person only after having formed a deep emotional bond with them (added by Col 2022)

desk-bombing – the activity of suddenly going to talk to someone who is working at their desk, rather than phoning them or sending them an email, seen by some people as impolite (observed by Cam Dec 2022)

drip – Clothing, shoes, accessories (I love the example from this teacher-centered website: Student: Love the drip today. Teacher: Thank you. I got it on sale at Target.)

dub (take a dub, get a dub, earn a dub) – win, be successful. Short for double-u, the text response for “win” (On Urban Dictionary since 2016)

to eat – to do a great job, to look good. “She really ate in her Insta pic.” (On Urban Dictionary since 2019)

fafo – f*ck around and find out (the outcome is not necessarily positive)

funcle – fun uncle

gagged – to be “gagged” is to be shocked, amazed, et cetera. (In use since 2017 according to urban dictionary)

glucose guardian – gender-neutral form of the term “sugar daddy” (On Urban Dictionary since 2016)

GOAT – greatest of all time

grammable – suitable to be posted on Instagram (on Urban Dictionary since 2013)

high-key – To be the utmost of something (opposite of low-key) (earliest Urban Dictionary entry 2012)

hot girl walk – a 4-mile (6.4 km) brisk walk outdoors during which you think about your goals and what you’re grateful for (On Urban Dictionary since 2021)

imaginationship – a relationship that is only in one person’s head (first Urban Dictionary entry: 2008)

IJBOL – I just burst out laughing (pronounced “eej-bowl”), the new LOL (on urban dictionary since 2009)

iykyk – if you know, you know (on Urban Dictionary since 2016)

kizzy – I am not lying (first entry urban dictionary for this meaning: 2019)

L (take an L, such an L, giant L) – to lose, you lost, loser. Used in text and speech when someone fails at something. (On Urban Dictionary since 2009)

the landlord special – a janky repair job made to a rental unit by a property owner or building super (oldest entry on Urban Dictionary: 2022)

micro-cheating – actions or behaviours by your partner that make you question their emotional or physical commitment to your relationship, like regularly texting someone they find attractive or obsessively liking their social media posts (oldest entry on Urban Dictionary: 2008)

Mid — Insult meaning “low quality” or “average.” Derives from “mid-tier”— not awful, but not great. Example: “The new Bad Bunny track is mid.” (In use since 2020, popular since 2022, if Urban Dictionary is to be believed)

mogging – shaming or asserting dominance by targeting  weaker, smaller, less confident or attractive individuals (on Urban Dictionary since 2018)

mother is mothering – an iconic female figure who shows up in dramatic or extraordinary style “Looks like mother is mothering hard tonight.” (not (yet) on Urban dictionary, used since early 2022 according to Know Your Meme)

ngl – not gonna lie (on Urban Dictionary since 2004)

phubbing – snubbing someone by taking out and staring at your phone

poggers – good, exciting, amazing. “That match was poggers!”  (On Urban Dictionary since 2018)

purr – saying “purr” is a way to express approval or contentment of something. (On Urban Dictionary in this sense since 2021. I think. Not sure if it is short for “period” (as in “full stop”) or if it refers to the sound a cat makes. I think it used to be the first and now it’s the second?)

to be ratio-ed – when a reply to a post on social media gets more likes than the original post, that original post was ratio-ed (On Urban Dictionary since 2020)

rizz – chaRISma, swagger. TikTok slang, funny article here.

to rizz someone up – to seduce someone

salty – to be upset over something little, angry, in a bad mood (oldest entry on Urban Dictionary: 2005)

to simp – to allow the other person to always get what they want, often used in terms of a relationship (On Urban Dictionary as a verb since 2020)

situationship – a relationship between two people that is more than a friendship but not a fully committed romantic relationship (in use since about 2012)

Snatched – Fits well, looks good, and is flattering. (first entry urban dictionary in this meaning: 2011)

sneaky link – having a rendez-vous with someone without anyone else knowing (On Urban Dictionary since 2020)

to stan something – to be a true fan of something, to idolise. Etymology either stalker + fan, or Eminem song “Stan” about an obsessed fan (oldest urban dictionary entry for this definition: 2017)

slept on – ignored, overlooked, underappreciated. “Everyone slept on that group’s latest single” (on Urban Dictionary since 2002)

W – text response when something good happens, short for “win” (On Urban Dcitionary since 2009)

wig snatched – (adj.) used to express extreme surprise, usually in a positive way “When I saw that she had won it got me wig snatched” (on Urban Dictionary since 2017)

yeet – to throw with force (added by MW in 2022)

Zaddy — A well-dressed, attractive man of any age (In use since 2012, but this meaning seems to be newer)

Neologisms 2023 and earlier

The neologisms below were sourced from the Cambridge Dictionary New Words blog, “field X buzzwords”-type lists, and stuff I noticed myself. My admittedly subjective criterion for words to make the list is that they seemed new and interesting to me. Click on the word for my source.

bossware – a type of software that employers can use to monitor what their employees are doing on their computers (In use since 2022)

boomerang employee – someone who goes back to work for a company they have already worked for in the past (observed by Cam Dec 2022)

doughnut city – a city where most people live in the outskirts and the city centre does not have many amenities such as shops, restaurants etc (in use in this meaning since 2021?)

dry texting – texting one-word answers to chatty messages (first entry Urban Dictionary: 2010)

dumbphone – mobile phone that is not a smartphone (added by MW 2022)

effective altruism – a movement and area of research that aims to work out the best way of helping other people and solving the world’s problems (observed by Cam Nov 2022)

energy-positive – An energy-positive building generates more energy than it uses (observed by Cam Dec 2022)

exposome – the measure of all the exposures of an individual in a lifetime and how those exposures relate to health (in use since 2008)

flurona – infected by the flu and covid-19 at the same time

gender non-conforming (GNC) – relating to a person or people who do not conform to the socially and culturally defined norms associated with a specific gender (added by Col 2022)

greenwash – make something appear more environmentally friendly than it really is (added by MW 2022)

hustle culture – the idea that work must be the the most important thing in your life and that working long hours and not taking time off is the only way to achieve success

Indie sleaze – a fashion style that mixes grunge, vintage and hipster aesthetics (in use since 2021)

laggy – as in a laggy video call (added by MW in 2022)

megadrought – a drought period spanning 20 years or more. (in use since 1996)

milestone anxiety – a condition in which someone feels frightened or very worried because they have not achieved the same things in life as other people of the same age (observed by Cam Oct 2022)

nepo baby – the child of an actor, a musician etc. who achieves success because of their famous parent (observed by Cam Oct 2022)

Mullet trip – adding a few days of leisure travel to a business trip “business in the front, party in the back” (Invented in 2022)

phygital – a combination of physical and digital, e.g. for a marketing campaign or a retailer concept. When I first heard it last week I thought it was so ugly that it surely wouldn’t take off, but it has been around since about 2013 and is rising in popularity according to google N-gram

productivity theatre – a way someone behaves at work that makes them appear to be working very hard, even if this is not the case (observed by Cam Dec 2022)

Proximity bias – managers prefer work done in the office to that done by staff members at home (popular online since 2021)

Regenerative tourism – going on holiday to a particular destination and making a positive impact on the place and the people who live there (observed by Cam Dec 2022)

recommerce – the practice of buying and selling used goods online, usually on websites created for this purpose

rentvestor – someone who rents where they live and own property elsewhere as an investment

romantasy – part romance, part fantasy (observed by Cam Oct 2022)

shadow pandemic – the increase in violence towards women during the Covid-19 pandemic

She-cession – The pandemic’s harsh effect on women

shoppable – something is shoppable when it is extremely easy to buy an item being promoted, eg by adding a shopping cart to on online advertisement (in use since 1996, new surge since 2021)

social omnivore – a person who never eats meat at home but sometimes eats it when in a restaurant or at someone else’s house (added to Urban dictionary in 2009, but boomed online in Q1 2023)

Sourfaux – bread that is labelled “sourdough” by the shop that sells it but actually contains cheaper ingredients and is made in a way that takes less time (observed by Cam Dec 2022)

sibling novel – a novel with the same characters as another, but not part of a series (observed by Cam Oct 2022)

stealth help – a story that is “self help” without the reader noticing (observed by Cam Oct 2022)

strawberry generation – used to describe the generation born from 1990s onwards who “bruise easily” like strawberries. A term originally from Taiwan, has been popular in Asia for a while, and is now perhaps moving to the rest of the world (my conclusion from a quick google, not from in-depth corpus research!)

thriftifarian – someone who is well off but pretends they have to spend less money and not buy certain things so that they appear to be in the same situation as most other people (observed by Cam Nov 2022)

Trip stacking – the activity of booking more than one holiday for the same time period in case one has to be cancelled, for example because of new travel restrictions (observed by Cam Dec 2022)

up lit – genre of novels in which people are nice to each other (“lit” is literature, compare “chick lit”)

vivovore – an organism that eats viruses

warm bank – a place such as a library, museum or other public building where someone can go to get warm in the winter if they cannot afford to heat their home, run as a public service by a town council, charity etc. (observed by Cam Dec 2022)

wearapy – the activity of wearing particular clothes as a form of therapy, with the clothes chosen to make the wearer feel happy or comforted etc. (observed by Cam Oct 2022)

Heddwen Newton is an English teacher and translator. She is fascinated by contemporary English and the way English changes. Her newsletter is English in Progress. 1100 subscribers and growing every day!

Follow me on LinkedIn or Bluesky