TikTok as a platform is confusing in itself. Moreover, many slang words and phrases have started popping amongst the pro TikTokers.
For you to hop on board the TikTok trend, you need to understand what these slangs mean. Here is a run-down of some slang words that Gen-Zs use on TikTok so you can at least pretend to be down with the kids.
New to the platform? Learn everything you need to know on getting started using TikTok.
21 TikTok slangs and what they mean
Our first acronym on this list means 'do not interact'. Users will caption their videos with DNI if they post NSFW content and don't want people under 18 to see it. People can also use it when they don't want anything to do with people who support or post certain things.
Live rent-free in my mind
This can refer to a person or a thing stuck in your head, and you can't stop thinking about it. Whether that be a catchy new song or just a weird video that came up on your fyp, anything can live "rent-free" in your mind.
- "This song lives rent-free in my mind."
CEO of (something)
Being the CEO of something means you either do that thing a lot or are good at it, and it means people see you as the boss of something.
- "I'm the CEO of clumsiness."
This word is commonly used in and outside the TikTok world to describe an overly aggressive and stubborn woman. Other characteristics include frequently asking for the manager, tattle-tailing, or having a blonde bob haircut.
- "Don't be a Karen."
This name comes from singer-songwriter Conan Gray's bestseller: Heather. The song describes how the singer "wishes they were Heather", implying they wish they were perfect. It means that you are desirable, and everyone wants to be you.
- "You're such a Heather."
This phrase means that whatever was said before or after wasn't a lie. It's just Gen-Z for 'seriously.'
- "No Cap, I love your new shirt."
This is a new addition to the TikTok platform; when people say 'sheesh', it just means they are shocked or impressed at something. It's usually drawn out to sound more like 'sheeeeeesh' as well.
'Vibe Check' is judging someone on how they seem by the 'vibes' you get from them. From there, you can either pass or not pass the 'vibe check'. Whether you pass or not depends on the person checking and what vibes they desire.
- "I'm sorry, you did not pass the vibe check."
Being a Simp or calling someone a Simp means that they are the most in love in a relationship. If someone is a 'Simp' for someone else, they will do anything for them.
- "You're such a Simp for her."
This jumble of words has no meaning at all, and it's just a bunch of letters people use as a hashtag to boost their videos onto people's for you pages. It's kind of like #fyp or #foryou.
Having the 'Tea' or spilling the 'Tea' means that you either have or are spilling gossip. It usually refers to a person or brand but can refer to anything where gossip is involved.
- Tati just spilled the tea on James Charles."
This comes from old southern US slang and is short for "I'm fixing to do something". It's just this phrase shortened and modernized by Gen-Z.
- "I'm finna throw hands."
This phrase is used all over social media to mean that someone is gorgeous and always has and always will be. You can also use it to say that someone is respected.
- "Face card never expired."
'ATP' has a couple of meanings on TikTok, and it can mean 'At this point where people will describe their current events, or 'Answer the phone.
- "ATP, we're all done."
Fire (or lit)
If something is 'fire' or 'lit', it means that it is crazy or cool. It's usually used to describe something that someone is really excited about.
- "Adele's new song is fire!"
Bussin commonly refers to food but can be used to describe anything, and it just means that something is delicious. It is most frequently used in Janelle Rohner's comments where people ask her if her food is 'bussin' or not.
- “Is it bussin Janelle?”
This is an acronym used on many social media platforms that means 'one of my followers'.
- "OOMF asked me this question."
When someone or something has a glow-up, it means that it has either a mental or physical improvement. Women on TikTok have glow-ups by getting their nails and hair done, having a self-care night, or journaling.
- "I'm about to force a glow up."
This is another TikTok acronym that means 'inspired by'. Creators not copying others will use IB (and usually tag that person in the caption, too) to describe where they got that idea from.
- "IB: @charlidamelio"
Similar to 'IB', 'DC' is an acronym meaning 'dance credits'. A creator will tag the person who came up with the dance in that video to give them credit for their creation.
- "DC: @addisonrae"
This one is kind of exactly as it sounds- someone hooking up with someone else in secret. The other person's identity is only known as the 'sneaky link.'
5 quick abbreviations used on TikTok
fr = for real
This is usually posed as a question when someone asks if you are serious or not. Asking if you are 'for real' means 'is the thing you just said actually true?'
POV = point of view
POVs are a whole genre of videos on TikTok where users act out a scene, and the viewer is forced into the 'point or view' of someone. They may be romance-related or maybe even acting out a scene in a movie.
smh = shaking my head
When someone says "smh", they are disappointed in something, or it didn't live up to their expectations. Or it can mean that you agree with something, and it depends on the context.
tfw = that feeling when
Users write 'tfw' to describe how they are feeling, and people more often than not use the comments to empathize with that person.
rt = retweet
Taking the phrase from Twitter, when someone says retweet, it means they agree with you strongly enough that they would retweet it on Twitter.
What's next? Learn how to use TikTok
Now that you understand and can use some of TikTok's most used slang terms, it might be time to download TikTok and give it a try for yourself.
TikTok Slang FAQ
How do you reverse other people's videos on TikTok?
If you want to reverse someone's video, go on the app and view the video once. After that, the 'effects' button will show up on the bottom of your screen.
Once you click on it, you'll see a 'reverse' option. If you click on this, then the video is played in reverse.
What does ✨ this ✨ mean on TikTok?
Sparkles in a ✨word✨ add emphasis to it. A person highlights the word with ✨sparkles✨ this way to show its importance. It commonly means positive emotions. For example: "I got a new dress, it's ✨fabulous✨ " or "Look at her shoes, they are ✨fantastic✨".
What does this 📈📈📈 mean on TikTok?
On TikTok 📈 means increase, and 📉 means decrease. TikTokers use it when they want to say something is growing. Or it can be meant sarcastically. For example: “My business is rocketing 📈📈📈” or "Because of the pandemic, my stock went 📉📉📉".