Interpret These Millennial Phrases and We'll Guess Your Age

By: Emily Maggrett

Interpret These Millennial Phrases and We'll Guess Your Age
Image: John Lamb / Photodisc / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Are you really adulting if you're commenting "goals AF" on your crush's thirst traps while pregaming in your jorts? The answer depends on what age you are. Gen Xers and baby boomers probably think we're trolling them with this question, which makes Gen Zers roll their eyes and millennials pause thoughtfully, as they wonder whether this struggle is, in fact, real. 

The truth is, each generation has its own problems to confront, which leads them to develop their own lexicon of phrases. The Silent Generation dealt with a very patriarchal culture. Hence the scornful term "daddy-o," which they liked to throw at authority figures. The Silent Generation's children, the baby boomers, prioritized their personal expression above all. Their slang was heavily influenced by California's psychedelic surfer/hippie culture and included drug-related phrases like "lay it on me," "crash," "groovy," "beat feet" and "that was a trip." 

Today, millennials are overworked and exhausted, causing them to invent a language that makes avoidant behavior seem more jaunty and socially acceptable. Hence phrases and concepts like "I ghosted," "sorry not sorry," "doing a slow fade," "no chill" and the like. 

You may think millennial slang is silly, but do you understand it? Test your knowledge by taking this quiz. In return, we'll guess your generation and exact age. Think we can't even? We can!

How would you define "adulting"?
"Adulting" means "functioning in a mature, adult way." I struggle with it every day!
Not sure. Is it like adultery?
It's outdated slang that means "accomplishing dull tasks," such as paying bills or making doctor's appointments.
My grandmother talked about "adulating" Rudolph Valentino. Is this the same thing?

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If someone comments "goals AF" on your Instagram or Facebook photo, what are they saying about it?
"Your life seems cool." However, they may mean it sarcastically.
I have no idea!
"Goals" means something good, I think... Maybe they mean "goals on fire"?
"It appears you lead an enviable lifestyle."

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If your co-worker asks you to "Netflix and chill" with them, are they asking you over for movie night?
They're trying to seduce you using some corny slang they read about in "Newsweek."
My favorite Netflix show is "Ozark." I thought "chill" meant "cool" and I don't see what's cool about watching Netflix with your co-workers!
Yes, probably. A movie and a "chill" night sounds nice to me!
Um, no. Report them to HR.

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What does "because duh" mean?
It's something basic people add to the end of statements to emphasize them. It's as done as "BOOM."
Not sure. Wasn't it Bart Simpson who came up with that whole "duh" thing?
I've never heard it said, but I'm guessing it means something is self-explanatory?
It's just a cute way of emphasizing obvious things (vacations are fun, Friday is the best weekday, etc.).

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If someone tells you that "[name of celeb] is canceled," what are they saying?
They're saying that a celebrity screwed up, probably by doing something disrespectful, and people should protest on social media until the companies supporting the celebrity drop them.
They mean that your meeting with the celebrity is canceled. Which is weird, because you don't recall scheduling that meeting!
Maybe they mean that the celebrity's eponymous sitcom or talk show is canceled?
They're saying that a celebrity did something really bad, so we should stop paying attention to them. I have mixed feelings about that concept.

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What does "humble bragging" mean?
It means you're the worst.
I don't know. Sounds like a real oxymoron!
Is it like secondhand embarrassment?
It means that you only complain about things that you're proud of. It's very awkward for your listeners.

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If you call someone's eyebrows "on fleek," what are you saying?
Uh, FIVE YEARS AGO, you might have meant that their eyebrows looked good.
Gosh, I don't know. When did everyone get so obsessed with eyebrows? It seems arbitrary to me.
Is "on fleek" like "on point," or is that a different thing?
You mean that their eyebrows look great!

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If you put your foot in your mouth with an offhand comment and another person says "shots fired," are they commenting on your faux pas or just randomly babbling?
They're being snarky.
They're probably randomly babbling.
They're saying they want you to buy them a shot.
They're making a witty joke about your screw-up by implying that you said the wrong thing on purpose!

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What's the meaning of the phrase "break the internet"?
It's an old-fashioned way to say that a given piece of content has gone viral.
I don't know, but I wish I could break the internet. It's good for shopping and not much else.
It refers to when your internet goes down.
It's when everyone on the internet is talking about the same thing at the same time!

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If your new love interest says you two are "low-key dating," how does that define their wishes for your relationship?
It means your relationship is not very serious (and they want to keep it that way).
It means they want to take you to a key party.
It means you are playing the dating game at a lower, or deeper, level.
It means you're not officially dating and there's no expectation that either of you will be sexually exclusive (for now).

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If your sister accuses her ex-girlfriend of "posting thirst traps" on Instagram, is this a reference to water management?
No. She means her ex is hungry for attention. But they're just stories, so whatever.
Yes, probably!
Probably not. Ugh, why do I have to learn a new social media platform and its attendant lingo? I'm fine with just Facebook, Twitter and Nextdoor.
No. She means the ex is posting photos that cause other people to make flirtatious comments. This break-up is very messy and dramatic; I'm living for it.

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If a friend says she "can't even," how should you interpret it?
She's saying she can't handle something and she's used cliched language to do so.
Can't even WHAT?
She... can't even finish her sentences? Like a small child?
She's expressing exhaustion. I feel that so hard today!

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When a neighbor comments that the Trump presidency has him "shook," what is he telling you?
He's saying he's concerned with the chaotic nature of the current presidential administration.
He's saying he's shocked by what a terrific president Trump is.
He might be trying to say "shaken" but his grammar is off.
He's saying he can't stop reading Twitter. Neither can I! What is happening?

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If someone says "sorry not sorry" to you, what do they mean?
They're not sorry for whatever they did.
They mean "I'm sorry in the sense of feeling apologetic, but not sorry in the sense of being pathetic."
It's like saying "I'm sorry... not!" And it's equally obnoxious.
They're proudly not ashamed of whatever they just said or did.

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If you mention you can play the tenor sax like a virtuoso and someone says "pics or it didn't happen," what are they trying to say?
They're implying that you're lying.
They're saying they want you to play the tenor sax at a bluegrass-style pickin' party.
They're saying that any undocumented activity, such as playing music without a camera there to capture you playing the music, is worthless. What a bleak view of reality; it implies that our identities are merely social constructs, as if we have no inherent reality as individuals.
They want to see some cool photos of you in concert!

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If someone says you and your partner are not "OTP," what are they saying about your relationship?
They're saying you're not meant to be together. Whatever, they're not the boss of you!
They're saying the two of you are rarely "On The Phone."
They're saying you two are "Only Terrific Playmates," i.e., that you're better as friends than as lovers.
They're saying you're not the "One True Pairing." Usually this is something you'd only say about a TV show couple, so it's weird that your friend would say it about you and your partner.

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What does "the struggle is real" mean?
It's something you say when someone else is whining.
It means that life is full of struggles. It's true!
What struggle?
It's an ironic saying. I use it when I get self-conscious about how easy my life is!

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If a new friend asks if you'd like to "put on some jorts and pregame," should you contact the police?
Haha, maybe. But they just want to put on jean shorts and drink a few beers before going out.
Yes. Sounds like drugs.
I think they're talking about wearing jean shorts to a tailgate party, but aren't those held in autumn? Won't I get cold?
No! Because I'm wearing jorts and pregaming as we speak.

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If a co-worker squeals that the office holiday party gave her "all the feels," what on Earth is she saying?
She's saying she liked it (via baby talk).
In my day, "feels" meant something very different.
She's... saying she encountered various textures at the party?
She's saying she had a great time! Me too!

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If your new sexual partner asks you to "DTR," what do they want?
They want you to Define The Relationship and are too weak to say it without using a bizarre acronym.
They want you to go "Down The Road" with them, i.e., they want you to go on a fun road trip!
They want you to detour? Are you in traffic?
They want you to Define The Relationship. It's an important turning point in any modern romance!

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How should you feel if someone is "ghosting" you?
Annoyed. They should have had the guts to at least dump you by text.
Good. It means they have wrapped themselves around you as you're spinning a clay pot (usually a sexy moment between two people).
Is that like being haunted? I'm afraid of ghosts!
Awful! It's so embarrassing when someone doesn't even bother to break up with you in person.

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If someone claims to be suffering from "FOMO," should you worry it's contagious?
No. I'm all about JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out).
What does that mean? "For Owls More Owls"? I think not!
That's why I always carry waterless hand sanitizer.
FOMO just means Fear Of Missing Out. Sadly, I suffer from it myself.

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If someone asks you to stop "trolling" them, what is the nature of their request?
They want you to stop baiting them online, but it makes you feel so alive!
They want you to let them cross the bridge regardless of whether you can answer their riddles.
They want you to stop trying to catch salmon with a net in their country's waters.
They want you to stop harassing them online with faux-sincere questions and comments.

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How should you feel about a person who claims to be your "frenemy"?
You should think they're dumb for using a portmanteau phrase to describe your lousy relationship.
I'm not sure, but it's probably just as well to be polite to them. They sound weird.
What's a frenemy? Is it a "friend enemy"? Do people really say that?
You should hate them, grr!

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If your sister says your girlfriend is "giving you the slow fade," what is she implying?
Your girlfriend has already dumped you, in her mind. Hopefully she doesn't zombie you the second you get over her.
Your girlfriend is gradually turning your spotlight down as you stand alone on a stage.
Your girlfriend is partially shaving your hair in a leisurely manner. That's nice of her!
Your girlfriend is slowly ending your relationship.

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If someone calls a movie you like "so basic," are they referring to the primal nature of the film, or are they saying something else?
They're implying the movie doesn't live up to their superior taste, without realizing that calling things basic is basic.
Yes, they're saying the film deals with the most basic, or important, things in life.
They mean it's an amateur film, i.e., it was made by a newbie filmmaker?
They're implying the movie is not very good.

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If someone texts you "let's meet up rn," what do they mean?
"Let's meet up right now!"
"Let's meet up 'round noon!"
"Let's meet up, Ruth Negga!"
"I want to see you immediately."

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When your friend says you "have no chill," should you feel complimented?
No. But by randomly criticizing you, they're proving that THEY have no chill.
Yes, because it means you're a warm person!
Probably not; I think it means you're not cool.
No. They're saying you're kind of high-strung. I'm having a hard week at work, okay????

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If a sentence is prefaced "TFW," what do those letters stand for?
"That Feeling When." I hate it because it's overused by Twitter locals.
"The Following Week"
Hmm. "Travel For Work"?
"That Feeling When." It's such a relatable way to write about your emotions online!

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If your uncle claims a restaurant's tacos are "the GOAT," does he mean that they serve goat meat tacos?
He means the tacos are delicious. BTW, cabrito tacos are dope.
He means they're Good Or Almost Tasty.
I don't want goat tacos. I want fajitas!
He means they're the Greatest Of All Time.

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