The Origins of Phrases All the Kids Are Saying These Days

Slang is an ever evolving way of speaking that's hard to keep track of if you're not continually keyed in with the mutating world of Internet culture. When you're 19 and don't have much to worry about other than if your English 101 final is going to be easy AF, it's a breeze to understand the complexities of getting turnt as opposed to going HAM. But if you've got a full time job and the bills to go with it, it's harder to figure out what the heck all these kids are talking about. On this list we’re going to take a look at the origin of slang words and try to solve some of the greatest mysteries of our time, like “what does on fleek mean?” You know you’re dying to know. It’s time to learn the origins of phrases all the kids are saying these days.

If you’re wondering "what does bae mean," or are trying to figure out if "ratchet" means something more than a car tool, we’re here for you. On this list we’ve plumbed the depths of the Internet to learn the etymology of the current slang words and phrases that are driving you up the wall.

After all of the informative AF data on this list, you’re going to be the hippest person in your town. Until, inevitably, the slang changes - like the cells in your body replacing themselves every seven years - and you’re once again trying to figure out what the heck all these kids are talking about. But don’t worry, when that happens we’ll be here for you once again.

  • Bae

    Photo: flickr / CC0
    According to Rap Genius (the final word in all things etymological), bae traces back to about 2005 but it doesn't include what song the word was used in (which is more indicative of a rap novice and not a rap genius ANYWAY), general consensus on the Internet says that the term actually means "Before Anyone Else" and no one knows where it really comes from.
  • Yaass

    Video: YouTube

    Yaass is a weirdly traceable slang term in the evolving cultural stew pot. Supposedly, yaass came from '80s drag queen culture, but its first 21st century usage has been traced back to a video of Lady Gaga in 2013. Yaass is a positive statement used to encourage someone's appearance. For those further interested in yaass, may we suggest looking at these informative images?

  • On Fleek

    According to most of the users on Urban Dictionary, when something is "on fleek" it means that whatever that thing is is perfect. Why don't we let Peaches Monroe show you how to appropriately use on fleek?

    ###VINE Embed
    That Vine spread like wildfire, and soon, even IHOP was using it to describe their pancakes.

    After IHOP's post, "on fleek" exploded into one of those catch all phrases that old white guys try to use after they hear their daughter say them. We're 100% sure that Howard Shcultz from Starbucks has said, "Our Pike Place roast on fleek" in a board meeting.
  • Extra

    Photo: Metaweb / CC-BY

    You know when something, or usually someone, is hanging out and being over dramatic or just, well, way too much? "Extra" is the perfect word to describe whatever that thing is. For instance: 

    That's some next level slang use, y'all.