Everyone knows Gen Z are the ones currently deciding what’s in and what’s out.
But do you know what the top phrases they used in 2022 actually mean?
Using Google trends data, Preply – a language learning app – identified the top slang terms used in the last year which had people quickly hunting the internet to learn what they actually meant.
Here’s a breakdown of all the definitions, starting with the most-Googled:
1. Understood the assignment
Think of it as the 2022 edition of the phrase “killing it” – it means when someone put in additional effort and went above and beyond a brief, basically.
It went particularly viral back in 2021 when fans of various actors compared all the different roles they had played, alongside the caption, “they understood the assignment” – a tweet format which continued throughout 2022.
listen, jenna ortega is so good in wednesday and the scene where she dances is perfect proof that she understood the assignment pic.twitter.com/MIMjXrdsgR
— Nora Dominick (@noradominick) November 26, 2022
Ooh, probably not the one you want to be associated with.
Pronounced ‘chew-gee’, it means someone behind on trends, out of fashion, and who is a bit cringey. So if you’re still trying to use the word “random” to describe something quirky, you’re probably a bit cheugy in Gen Z’s eyes.
Sorry, we don’t make the rules.
Bussin’ is an adjective for something absolutely amazing, and usually related to food. Like this TikToker, who described Ikea meatballs as “bussin bussin”.
Presumably it stems from “bust a move” but we’re not too sure about the exact origins of this one.
4. Caught in 4k
This is somewhere between “caught in the act”, “caught in the trap” and “caught red-handed”, it usually refers to catching someone out – but with digital evidence.
That can be video proof, a voice recording, a text screenshot or a photo, it all counts.
Think of it like the 2022 edition of “we have the receipts”, except “4k” means the proof against someone is particularly high quality.
On social media, users often attached a camera emoji to really hammer home how it means someone (or their scandal) has been exposed.
5. Sending me
When something is hilarious online, LOL is no longer enough.
So Gen Z invented “sending me” to express how something is so hilarious, they are incapable of carrying on as normal.
Perhaps it originates from “sending me insane”, but either way it has a similar hysterical sentiment to “I’m literally screaming” and “I can’t deal”. So it’s a new way of laughing, but online.
6. Ate that
This is seriously high praise. Despite it sounding like the opposite, “ate that” means someone is doing such an amazing job. We know, it sounds like they consumed the task whole – but maybe that’s a good thing?
7. Main character
This one is somewhat easier to understand.
If you embody main character energy, then you are the central figure in every situation.
TikTok has made this one very popular. Think of that person who everyone looks at when you walk into a room like you’re in a movie – if you’re a main character, you’re this person now.
And it doesn’t matter how you attract that attention either, as this baptised baby proves:
He's got that main character energy pic.twitter.com/eNClGDLPHr
— made me smile (@mademe__smile) December 27, 2022
This is the ultimate compliment about your appearance.
It began with New York City drag culture back in the 1990s, but has resurfaced to mean anyone who is quite simply, very attractive, perfect and amazing.
It’s like an upgrade of “on point”, you look like perfection.
Confusingly, it was also used to describe a particular waist shape for hourglass figures as well – so you would have a “snatched waist” – but appears to have been extended to apply to appearances as a whole.