The Evolution and Impact of TikTok Slang: A Comprehensive Guide

by Tara Price

24th May, 2023

The Evolution and Impact of TikTok Slang: A Comprehensive Guide

TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, with over 1.7 billion monthly active users. It’s also a place where slang, acronyms, and memes thrive and spread like wildfire, where popular songs like Wanna Rock and Running Up that Hill go viral, and abbreviations turn into hashtags.

But what is TikTok slang? How did it originate and evolve? And what does it reveal about the culture and identity of Gen Z? In this article, we’ll explore these questions and more as we dive into the fascinating world of TikTok slang.

What is TikTok slang?

TikTok slang is the informal language that users use to communicate with one another and express themselves on the platform. It consists of words, phrases, abbreviations, hashtags, and sounds that are unique to TikTok or have a different meaning or usage on TikTok than elsewhere.

Some examples of popular TikTok slang terms and their meanings are:

  • Sneaky link: A secret romantic or sexual encounter with someone.
  • Gyatt: A term of endearment or affection for a friend or partner.
  • Rizz: A synonym for cool or awesome.
  • Opps: Short for opponents or enemies.
  • No cap: An expression that means no lie or exaggeration.
  • Bussin: A term that means delicious or amazing.
  • Sheesh: A sound that expresses excitement, admiration, or disbelief.

These terms are often used in captions, comments, hashtags, or audio clips to add humour, personality, or emphasis to a video. They can also help users connect with their audience, create trends, or join challenges.

How did TikTok slang evolve?

TikTok slang is not static. It changes and adapts to different trends, challenges, and contexts on the platform.

Some of the factors that contribute to the evolution of TikTok slang are:

  • Internet culture: TikTok slang draws inspiration from other online platforms and communities, such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, etc. Many TikTok slang terms are borrowed or modified from internet slang or memes that originated elsewhere.
  • Pop culture: TikTok slang is influenced by popular culture, such as music, movies, TV shows, celebrities, etc. Many TikTok slang terms are derived or inspired by lyrics, quotes, names, or references from pop culture sources.
  • Memes: TikTok slang is fueled by memes, which are humorous or catchy images, videos, sounds, or texts that are copied and spread online. Many TikTok slang terms are created or popularized by viral memes that circulate on the platform.
  • Challenges: TikTok slang is shaped by challenges, which are tasks or activities that users perform and share on the platform. Many TikTok slang terms are associated with specific challenges or used as prompts or instructions for challenges.

For example, the term POV (point of view) was originally used on TikTok to indicate that the video was meant to be watched from a certain perspective or scenario. However, over time, it evolved into a genre of videos that showcase different scenarios or stories from various points of view. Similarly, the term Heather was initially used on TikTok to refer to a character from the 1988 movie Heathers who was popular and envied by others.

However, after Conan Gray released a song called Heather in 2020, the term took on a new meaning as someone who is beautiful and desired by others.

How does TikTok slang impact language and communication?

TikTok slang has a significant impact on how people speak and write online and offline. Some of the effects of TikTok slang on language and communication are:

  • Creativity: TikTok slang encourages users to be creative and playful with language. Users can invent new words, phrases, sounds, or meanings; combine existing words or sounds; use wordplay or puns; etc. This can make language more expressive and fun.
  • Expressiveness: TikTok slang allows users to convey their emotions, opinions, attitudes, or personalities more effectively. Users can use TikTok slang to emphasise their points, show their approval or disapproval, express their excitement or frustration, etc. This can make language more engaging and persuasive.
  • Humour: TikTok slang adds humour and entertainment to language. Users can use TikTok slang to make jokes, tease or mock others, be sarcastic or ironic, etc. This can make language more enjoyable and relatable.

TikTok slang has also influenced other social media platforms and mainstream media. Many TikTok slang phrases have spread to websites like Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc., where other users or celebrities use them. Some TikTok slang terms have also been featured in news articles, magazines, podcasts, etc., where they are explained or analysed.

Navigating TikTok Slang: Tips and Tricks

TikTok slang can be fun and expressive, but it can also be confusing and overwhelming. How do you keep up with the latest terms and trends? How do you avoid using slang incorrectly or offensively?

Here are some tips and tricks to help you navigate TikTok slang:

  • Engage with popular content. One of the best ways to learn TikTok slang is to watch and interact with the videos that are trending or viral on the platform. You can find them on the For You Page (FYP) or by searching for hashtags. Pay attention to the captions, comments, audio clips, and hashtags that use slang terms and try to understand their meaning and context.
  • Explore diverse creators. Another way to learn TikTok slang is to follow and support creators from different backgrounds, cultures, and communities. You can discover them by browsing different categories, genres, or niches on TikTok. By doing so, you can expose yourself to a variety of slang terms that reflect the diversity and creativity of Gen Z culture.
  • Use online resources. If you encounter a slang term that you don’t know or are unsure about, you can use online resources to look it up or verify its meaning. Some of the most reliable and comprehensive sources for TikTok slang are Urban Dictionary, Dexerto, and here on Neon Music. These websites provide definitions, examples, origins, and usage tips for TikTok slang terms.

By following these tips and tricks, you can stay up-to-date with TikTok’s ever-changing slang and use it appropriately and respectfully. Remember, using TikTok slang can help you connect with the TikTok community and express yourself more effectively. But it can also cause misunderstanding or offense if used incorrectly or insensitively. So be mindful of the slang you use and the context you use it in.

How does TikTok slang reflect culture and society?

TikTok slang reflects the values, beliefs, and identities of Gen Z. Gen Z is the generation born between 1997 and 2012 that grew up with technology and social media.

Some of the ways that TikTok slang represents the culture and society of Gen Z are:

  • Diversity: TikTok slang showcases the diversity and inclusivity of Gen Z culture. Users can use TikTok slang to celebrate their ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion, etc. For example, “slay” is a term that means “to do something very well” or “to strongly impress someone”. It originated in black culture and is often used by LGBTQ+ users to compliment each other.
  • Empowerment: TikTok slang demonstrates the empowerment and confidence of Gen Z culture. Users can use TikTok slang to assert their authority, challenge norms, voice their opinions, etc. For example, CEO is a term that means “the best at something”. It originated in business jargon and is often used by users to praise themselves or others for their skills or achievements.
  • Solidarity: TikTok slang signifies the solidarity and community of Gen Z culture. Users can use TikTok slang to support each other; share experiences; create bonds; etc. For example, OOMF is an acronym that means “one of my followers”. It originated from Twitter and is often used by users to refer to someone they admire or relate to.

TikTok slang also has implications for culture and society at large. It can raise awareness about social issues, challenge stereotypes, promote diversity, etc.


TikTok slang is a fascinating phenomenon that reveals a lot about the platform and its users. It’s a dynamic form of language that evolves with trends, influences communication, reflects culture, and impacts society.

Craving more linguistic adventures in the vibrant world of TikTok? If you found this guide helpful and want to stay on top of the latest slang, don’t miss out on the captivating reads below!

Previous post

Be the first and never miss an update!

2024 © All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram