18 Irritating Millennial Phrases That Aren’t Welcome Anymore

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By Darryl Henderson

Baby boomers said ‘groovy’ while Gen X used ‘phat’ as a compliment; every generation has its own vocabulary of slang terms that don’t tend to age well. Unfortunately for millennials, their slang is particularly bad, so here are 18 of their most irritating phrases.


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An acronym for ‘you only live once,’ the supposed carefree phrase ‘YOLO’ inspired people for a fleeting moment, but it quickly became cringeworthy. The phrase dates back to the ‘90s, but it was made popular in the early 2010s by the rapper Drake.


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Lit was another term popularized by rappers of the 2010s, including A$AP Rocky and Travis Scott. It has two meanings: being intoxicated or under the influence and something that you perceive as ‘awesome.’ Either way, it’s past its sell-by date.


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The term ‘shook’ derives from the term ‘shook up’, which, according to Merriam-Webster, describes someone who is nervously upset and agitated. The term ended up making its way into camp culture, where it is often used exaggeratedly, such as when a singer announces a new album. What the heck!?

On Fleek

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The term ‘on fleek’ was one of many terms coined by an online personality in the first half of the 2010s. It’s used to describe something that is on point, usually related to makeup and, even more specifically, eyebrows. We just don’t understand this!


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Millennials often use the word ‘goals’ as a suffix when they’re describing something aspirational. The most common usages are squad goals, which describe an ideal situation within a group of friends, and relationship goals, which describe the perfect couple. Despite its good intentions, it’s incredibly annoying.


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For some reason, millennials went through a phase of describing everything they deemed to be somewhat decent as ‘ep.’’. Epic fail compilations lined the gutters of YouTube before the word eventually fizzled out of common usage, becoming cheesy and cringeworthy. Despite this, many millennials still use it!


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‘Bae’ found its way into millennial terminology in the mid-2010s, confusing older people and young people alike. This is because nobody could work out whether it was short for babe or an acronym for ‘before anyone else’. Either way, as TIME affirms, bae is a term of endearment, usually aimed toward your romantic partner.

I Can’t Even

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The phrase ‘I can’t even’ came about during the millennials’ worst phase: the sassy era. It’s used in gossip circles when someone is astonished at something their friend has said. However, its usage in insincere contexts quickly turned people against the phrase. Frankly, we think it’s an incomplete sentence!

Sorry Not Sorry

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‘Sorry, not sorry’ was another insincere term that millennials introduced during their nightmarish but brief sassy era. They used it to express false remorse toward someone, but thankfully, as the sassy era crumbled, so did this horrific piece of vocabulary.

I’m Dying

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It appears sinister on the surface, but ‘I’m dying’ was actually used by millennials to express that they found something funny. It’s a shortened version of the phrase, ‘I’m dying of laughter,’ and was quickly picked up by the nastier side of social media. Now, ‘I’m dead’ is more popular but equally annoying.


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For years, the cutesy term for a dog was ‘doggy’ until millennials decided to swoop in and refer to them as ‘doggos’. At the end of the 2010s, Doggo Instagram accounts were popping up left, right, and center, bringing the term further into the mainstream. It quickly got irritating, though. 


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‘Low-key’ first entered the millennial dictionary post-2010, as they began using it as an alternative to the word ‘discreet.’ This inevitably meant that the word ‘high-key’ was introduced as its opposite. USA Today suggests that low-key can also be used as a compliment, describing someone who doesn’t cause drama. It’s still annoying, though!


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‘Adulting’ was another term often used by millennials in an exaggerated fashion, such as when they did the dishes or bought a house plant. The term was originally used to describe something that you did that could be perceived as grown-up, such as buying a house, but now it’s lost its whole meaning!

It Is What It Is

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Originally used to indicate acceptance of a negative situation, ‘it is what it is’ soon became used for the most menial happenings. Even if millennials discovered they ran out of parmesan for their pasta, they would still say, ‘It is what it is.’ Way to ruin an otherwise inspirational phrase! 


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‘Yas’, sometimes stylized as ‘yaaaas,’ is firmly associated with campness and used as an alternative to ‘yes’. It’s up there with the most annoying of millennial terms, made even more grating when the word ‘queen’ is added to the end.


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The slang version of ‘extra’ is not overly different from its original meaning but is used as a descriptive word when referring to another person and their overdramatic ways. “She’s so extra” would be a common term for someone who is trying too hard to impress.

Glow Up

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‘Glow up’ is a complimentary term aimed toward people who have enjoyed a positive personal transformation. It usually refers to a person’s physical appearance but can also describe somebody who has smartened up their fashion style or personality. While it’s technically a compliment, it’s still rude and annoying!


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Last on our list, the term ‘stan’ was first made popular among millennials by the Eminem song of the same name, in which he describes an obsessed fan. Forbes defines the word as an ‘extremely or excessively enthusiastic and devoted fan,’ combining the words ‘stalker’ and ‘fan.’ Stan is a beautiful name, so this just ruined it!

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