The inventing and trademarking of new slang has become a staple of the millennial generation. Just within the past couple of years, as those who make up the millennial age group or Generation Y (defined as those born between the years 1980 and 2000), grow into young adulthood, an explosion of up-and-coming vocabulary has come forth during this digital age.
Statements such as “on fleek” now characterize how “chic and put together” your outfit is, and we all know “the struggle is real” when it comes to making it through an 8 a.m. class. Even the Oxford Dictionary has got with the times. It's 2013 word of the year “selfie,” and 2015’s “tears of joy emoji” has made it apparent that our society’s use of text terms has become much more than everyday jargon.
I’m amused at my mother’s incorrect use of “Y.O.L.O.,” and I pester my grandmother with questions like, “Are you thirsty or nah?” as we walk through public places and she comments on all the handsome young men.
However, one of the most recent expressions to emerge from young people’s jargon even has me, a millennial, questioning its true definition. So I ask you, what is “lit”? “I literally associate the word with the little fire emoji," says one of my fellow 20-year old Generation Y’s.
Meanwhile, an older millennial timidly claims, “I think I know what it means, but I won’t use the slang the kids these days are making up.”
Another, who is 18 years of age, has identified the term “lit” as “turnt” or "awesome," which then requires defining yet another word. As defined by Urban Dictionary, "turnt" is to be hyped or intoxicated. Synonyms are "faded," "folded," "lit." So once again, we cycle back to the simple denotation of the word “lit.”
With so many definitions and substitutes for a single word, it’s a wonder how any of us are able to keep up with today’s terminology, nevermind those who are not from the millennial generation.
We are a generation that was raised with digital fluency and affordable technology. As those who were born before us struggle to keep up with the next cell phone upgrade or expressions we create, the “Silent Generation” or “Generation Z” (defined as the kids born from 2000 on), will only surpass the social-digital biosphere that we’ve established and find something even bigger.
That’s the thing about time. It never stops, and neither will the expanding technological resources continuously being produced. The same can be said for language. It is living. It will move, bend, change and re-create, but it will never remain static.