Can Gen Z stop naming basic human things?

It's coming up to the end of 2023 – aka the year of Gen Z making up cool new terms for everyday words to make the rest of us feel old

If you're terminally online, or have an Instagram or TikTok account, this year it's been impossible to escape some of the year's buzziest terms.

Whether it's girl math or silent walking, if there's something Gen Z women on TikTok like to do, it's rebrand regular, mundane activities.

Here are just a few inescapable examples of Gen Z slang that have dominated 2023 and left us slightly confused.

Silent walking.

This is simply walking without listening to anything. The trend was promoted as a method to quiet and cleanse your mind. 

This transformative experience can also be achieved when your AirPods go flat.

Hot girl walk. 

This walk is supposedly dedicated to a hot girl walking as she thinks about three things: What you're grateful for, your goals, and how you're going to achieve them.

This is really just... walking and thinking... while being hot.

@emmaconnolly Eric most definitely understood the assignment beats and all #hotgirlwalk #hgw ♬ Did It On’em - Nicki Minaj

Girl dinner.

The odd, often random and chaotic dinner plates that girls assemble when they're alone and away from prying judgmental eyes.

In other words, dinner made up of a bunch of snacks. One could say the girl is simply snacking. At dinnertime.

Either way, it's fun. 


Girl math.

If one term took over 2023 more than any other, it's girl math. The term describes the way girls and women will justify spending money by making a series of rational deductions.

The concept has since branched out to 'gay math' or 'boy math or 'mum math' or 'work math'.

Big fan of this concept, but it is arguably based on the assumption that all women care about is shopping, which from my personal experience... is true. 

Main character energy.

"That girl has main character energy" is a common roast on social media, which means the person thinks they're the leading character in the movie (of their life), and surrounded by characters who exist just to serve their own story. 

This term is basically just describing someone who is totally self-indulgent or self-absorbed. In short, main character energy is shorthand for someone rather annoying.

Quiet quitting.

This is when an employee puts in minimal effort in their job, refusing to go the extra mile, do overtime, or bring any enthusiasm to their role. 

So basically, doing the bare minimum of your job. 

Everything shower.

This term describes a shower during which the showerer does everything: exfoliating and cleansing face and body, shampoo, conditioner and hair mask, potentially shaving as well.

In short, this is having a long shower. Or in my world, just having a shower before a night out.

@ashleylamarca class w ash- EVERYTHING shower🫰🏻🛁🫧🧖🏻‍♀️ everythingg is in myBI0 in “everything shower”<333 #everythingshower #everythingshowerrroutine #everythingshowers #everythingshowerproducts ♬ Young Folks - Shindig Society

Nothing shower.

A nothing shower is the antithesis of the everything shower – a shower when you do and wash nothing. It can be a good option as your second shower to warm up on a cold day, procrastinate or cry.

This shower serves an important purpose, but to many of us, it's just... a shower. 

Clean girl aesthetic.

This is a minimalist approach to style with luxe accessories and clothes, with makeup that emphasises a person's natural beauty.  

So... clean girl aesthetic is pinned on being hot and rich. 

Coastal grandma.

The coastal grandma's ultimate inspiration is Diane Keaton's character in Something's Gotta Give, as she wears almost exclusively linen shirts and cosy jumpers in white, cream and neutral tones.  

In other words, you can achieve the coastal grandma look by simply putting on a white woolen skivy. 

Latte makeup. 

This is simply combining a range of coffee-inspired colours and golden shimmer tones to create a makeup look; applying brown eye makeup, highlighter and bronzer to your face. 

And yes, it looks gorg.


My version of latte makeup ☕️ i loveee these colors 🥰

♬ original sound - Alissajanay

Blueberry milk nails.

This trend took off back in July, with loads of TikTokers sharing a nail colour inspired by blueberry-flavoured milk, so a creamy sheer blue shade. 

This is just baby blue nail polish, my friends. 

Fit check.

This term announces the showing off of one's outfit, and I have no issue with this term: direct and effective.


Vibe check. 

Same energy, but more something someone asks when they want to get a sense of the mood, the atmosphere, the general feeling. 

Again, no notes on this one. Do we need it? No. Do we still enjoy saying it? Big yes. 


Whether you're in your 'girlboss era', your 'lazy girl era' or something niche like your 'lavender checkered pantsuit era', this term can apply to any trend or activity or mood you've been embracing lately.

Sure you could just say 'I'm feeling like a girlboss lately' but where would the fun be in that?  

@ikrameeou #ikrameeou ♬ original sound - Neslihanfilms♾️


This is a term that was deeply rooted in Gen Z language in 2023 but will probably baffle anyone that's unfamiliar. It's typically used to describe how something is influenced by another thing. 

For instance, to say 'Delta Goodrem's new song is Innocent Eyes coded,' would suggest the singer's new track took inspiration from the style of her breakthrough album.

It's fun once you get the hang of it! But like all of the above slang, it's also just overcomplicating things that already exist. 

But tbh, I still drop all these terms into conversations with my younger peers to level up my cool-factor.

Feature image: TikTok/@emmaconnolly/@ashleylamarca. 

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