The UK is one of the most linguistically diverse countries in Europe. In fact, there are currently 82 living languages spoken in the UK, including 71 immigrant languages ranging from Afrikaans to Japanese and Greek to Hindi.
However, there appears to be a 72nd, lesser known, foreign language not catalogued by Ethnologue, the most extensive catalogue of the world’s 7,099 living languages. And that is: Millennial slang.
Okay, it’s not really a language, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be one.
While words and phrases like ‘bae’ and ‘smol’ are okay (and I use the word ‘okay’ lightly) for everyday text speak (or ‘txt spk’), they should never be spoken in the workplace, like annoying corporate jargon.
Here are 20 Millennial slang words and phrases you need to avoid using in the workplace.
1. On fleek
Used originally to describe one’s eyebrows, ‘on fleek’ means that something is ‘on point’, ‘flawless’ or ‘perfect’. In a business context, you could say something like: ‘Your presentation was on fleek’. You could, but that doesn’t mean you should.
When something or someone ‘triggers you’, it makes you uncontrollably mad or irritated. For example, ‘I was triggered when Mark stole my idea and passed it off as his own’.
Although technically not a word, ‘V’ is short for ‘very’ and is extremely common among Millennials, especially when texting. However, that doesn’t mean that it should be used at work when sending emails to colleagues, your boss or, worse, clients! ‘We’re v excited about our partnership’ might save you from typing three extra letters, but it won’t present you in a professional light.
This word means the ‘local neighbourhood’ or ‘haunt’. To put that into perspective, if you work near the Shard in London, your ‘bitz’ would be London Bridge.
This is one acronym you definitely want to avoid in the workplace, not least because it will most likely get you in trouble with HR. ‘THOT’ is typically used to refer to a woman who is considered to be sexually provocative or promiscuous, and stands for ‘That h*e over there’.
There are plenty of ridiculous reasons for getting fired, and turning up to work ‘wazzed’ – and bragging about it – is one of them. ‘Wazzed’ basically means ‘drunk’, ‘hammered’ or ‘hamstered’.
Like ‘wazzed’ above, ‘turnt (up)’ refers to your state of inebriation. It means being energetic, happy or excited, especially as a result of alcohol or drugs. Therefore, mentioning that you’re ‘turnt up’ to your colleagues or, worse, boss will most likely end in a nice little drug test for you.
While ‘neek’ is supposed to be an insult, some people might consider it a compliment. However, regardless of whether you intend it as an insult or a compliment, it’s best to avoid using it in the workplace altogether as it could end up inadvertently offending someone and, therefore, be considered as workplace bullying. A ‘neek’ is a combination of ‘nerd’ and ‘geek’.
While it may appear so, if we’re to go by the previous slang word’s meaning, ‘teek’ is not a combination of the words ‘turd’ and ‘geek’. It actually refers to an ‘old timer’ –a Baby Boomer, for example. Call someone this at work, though, and you’ll no doubt be labelled ageist and swiftly shown to the door.
‘Meg’ is a derogatory term referencing Meg Griffin from the animated adult sitcom Family Guy, and basically means a ‘dowdy introvert’. Calling someone a ‘meg’ at the office, especially a fellow fan of the show, won’t end well for you.
Everybody feels ‘bonked’ at the end of a particularly long and hard day at work. Fortunately, there are other, far better, words to use to describe exhaustion. ‘Tired’, ‘fatigued’ and even ‘exhausted’ are just a few examples.
Originally used to describe food containing salt or too much salt, ‘salty’ can also be used to describe someone who is angry, agitated or upset, as well as someone who is mean, annoying or repulsive. For example: ‘I am so salty that I got passed up for that promotion’ or ‘Wendy is a salty cow’.
‘Gwop’ is derived from ‘George Washington on Paper’ and means – you got it – ‘money’. Since this isn’t the ghetto, we highly recommend that you use different terminology when building your case for a promotion or asking for a pay raise.
This means to bail on something because you think it is lame. For example, you might ‘dipset’ from a boring meeting about office supplies.
Calling someone ‘fam’ is actually a good thing. It basically means ‘family’ and refers to a close friend or your ‘bro’, ‘mate’ or ‘blud’. However, unless you work for or with chavs (and are one yourself), this is one slang word you definitely don’t want to use at work, especially when addressing clients.
I mentioned ‘bae’ earlier, It means ‘baby’ or ‘sweetheart’ and is derived from ‘before anyone else’. It also means ‘poop’ in Danish, but that’s a different story. The bottom line is that calling someone your ‘bae’ in the workplace can be construed as sexual harassment, so avoid it like the plague.
17. Hundo P
You can give a project 100 per cent or you can give it a ‘hundo P’ – preferably, the former. Yes, they mean the same thing and working with numbers and statistics often has its own terms and phrases, but using slang in the workplace (especially this kind of slang) must be stopped.
The annoying abbreviation of ‘totally’, as in: ‘Y’all totes know you shouldn’t be using slang in the workplace’.
‘BTdubs’ is a spoken slang for ‘BTW’ meaning ‘by the way’. Rather than say ‘bee-tee-double-u’ out loud, Millennials came up with ‘bee-tee-dubs’ because W was apparently too long to pronounce. The irony is that ‘BTdubs’ has the same number of syllables as ‘by the way’.
Everyone is familiar with ‘YOLO’ or ‘you only live once’, the 21st Century’s answer to Carpe Diem. It’s been around since at least 2011 and doesn’t seem to be disappearing anytime soon – but that doesn’t mean it has a place at work. If your answer to every mistake you make and every project deadline you miss is ‘YOLO’, remember: YOGFO – you only get fired once (per job).
Can you think of any other examples of inappropriate words, slang and phrases that we missed but should’ve been on this list? Do you think that using slang in the workplace is perfectly acceptable or do you believe that it’s better left for texting friends? Join the conversation below and let us know!
This article was originally published in January 2015