There's a lot of terminology emerging online these days, especially through TikTok. And because of the popularity of the app, the rate of content and the proliferation of trends that are constantly evolving, many of these slang terms may go over your head if you're not paying attention.
So your online culture whisperer, The Digital Beour, is here to save you the embarrassment of not having a clue what the "younger generation" is saying by giving you an expert insight into their language.
Now, I'm not advocating for businesses to start using any or all of these terms in their social media or blogs- you would equally need an audience who understood the terms to justify their use. But it is always a good shout to at least have an awareness of them and not get left behind in the digital dust.
Over the coming weeks and months, I will be posting new words, so stay tuned to this blog.
1. "It's Giving..."
"It's giving...X" is a derivation of "to give off" i.e to give the impression of. This can be used negatively or positively, although it is typically used to describe a vibe, look or instance with a positive ironic connotation, derived from the phrase "giving X vibes."
For example: I have a pink dress and I pair it with pink shoes and a pink bag. I could reasonably say "It's giving Barbie"
The phrase is used to concisely summarise your thoughts by linking the present situation to another, often in a humourous way.
If you had a spray tan that was a little too orange I could say "It's giving Trump" or "It's giving Umpa Loompa". Often the game with this phrase is to make it as funny as possible so your reference should be clever and witty.
However, I can also use it as a stand-alone comment. If I simply say "it's giving" full stop, this is a compliment.
Person 1: "Do you like my new haircut?"
Person 2: "It's giving."
Person 1: "Really??!"
Person 2: "Definitely"
2. Girl Dinner
Explanation: The expression "girl dinner" is employed to describe a meal typically comprised of snacks, side dishes, and modest servings of (often haphazardly assembled) foods.
A girl dinner is commonly identified by its small and random portions.
This term is frequently used to describe meals resembling what might be commonly recognised as a snack tray, platter, or a small charcuterie board. Some examples of items found in a meal referred to as a girl dinner encompass bread pieces, cheese slices, cold cuts, fruits, vegetables, chips, and popcorn. Frequently, the term is employed to describe a meal fashioned with whatever items a person has on hand, including leftovers.
Commentary: What makes Girl Dinner truly revolutionary is the lack of effort needed to put it together which allows the girls (and all those who participate) to reclaim that time.
After all, coming home after a long day at work and needing to cook a meal that takes you the bones of an hour to prepare, eat and clean up after, not to mention the mental load and physical labour needed to shop for each ingredient, isn't exactly appealing to the modern woman. Girl Dinner offers a no-fuss, minimum-work solution and I'm here for it.
Unlike other trends, I believe businesses in the food and beverage sector could definitely hop on this phenomenon - I've yet to see a pub or restaurant use this trend in Cork and it would certainly gander some clicks and shares on social media as well as customers.
3. Girl Math
Girl math went viral in 2023 and was soon adopted into the internet vocabulary of all things girlsphere and TikTok. But there are several ways to explain the phrase and unlike other terms I've explored on this blog, is a little more nuanced. Here are some outlines of the internet phenomena and its uses:
1. Girl math is the balancing of an equation which typically women or women-identifying people make which justifies spending money on something because of the non-monetary value it brings.
It is a prioritisation of the experience of the purchase which is not necessarily related to the value of the object or purchase itself.
In Sex and the City Season 3, Carrie buys a chair from an artist who makes furniture. She tells her friend Miranda Hobbs that she bought it because he was 'very cute'. Miranda considers this for a moment before asking Carrie: "Did he ask you out?" to which Carrie nods and smiles.
Miranda then replies: "So the chair's a write off"
It was a very expensive chair. But it was "worth it"- not as a piece of furniture but because of what came with it.
2. However, the purchase can also be justified because of the amount of use someone might get out of it, which, if you break down into a cost-per-use equation, will be very cost-effective and "practically free".
Example: a pair of jeans is 150€ and it is not a necessary purchase. It's actually outside of your budget. However, if you calculate how many days you will wear them over the next five years, the cost per wear works out to be less than a few cents. Meaning it's practically free.
3. It is also a humourous rationalisation for making extravagant or unnecessary purchases just because want to.
The pair of shoes were 80€ and are now 30€. You didn't save (ie you keep the money in your pocket), you now have 50€ more to spend!
4. It can also be used in the context of having paid for something previously and then subsequently forgetting about it- the product, experience or refunding of that money is equated to a free gift.
I purchased a pair of tickets for a gig in December but the show isn't until April. By the time the show comes around, it will feel like I got free tickets.
I paid for my friend's dinner and forgot about it. Two weeks later they came to me and gave me 50€ to repay me. Because I forgot about having paid for the initial dinner, I have now 50€ extra.
This also can be described in the feeling you get when you find a fiver in your old coat pocket.
4. The Vibes
The feeling you experience in a specific location or circumstance, or when in the company of a particular individual.
Example 1: I'm not going near that pub, it's not good vibes.
Example 2: I really like her, she gives off good vibes.
Example 3: The vibes in that place are off.
Example 4: She is a whole vibe (usually to describe a person who is unique and has a lot of confidence and style- for example Zendaya)
Note: For Gen Z and Millenials, the vibes are everything. Like the ick, it is not something that you can really explain per se, it's something that is felt. Bad vibes will give you and your business a bad reputation. So you better be aware of the vibes and strive to ensure the vibes are good.
Good vibes can translate to warmth, inviting, calm, genuine, authentic, fun and light. Bad vibes can be creepy, disturbing, cold, uncomfortable, and slightly annoying. This list is not exhaustive.
5. Face card
Gaining popularity on platforms like TikTok and various social media channels, the term "face card" is commonly employed to describe an individual's facial appeal, primarily focusing on a woman's beauty.
Woman one: *shows a picture of Rihanna to her friend*
Woman two: "Face card never fails"
Make sure you check back tomorrow for more online slang terms you definitely don't know.