Amy Fenster Brown’s guide to understanding what your teen is saying


Sometimes teenagers actually speak to their parents. I’ve seen it happen. Even if these interactions are few and far between, the moments when they do verbally open up to a parental unit can carry some real gems of conversation. Often the teens seem to be speaking their own language, leaving “elders” like us wondering what in the world the kids these days are saying. Lucky for you, I’m back with another decoder to keep you up to date on the teen lingo.  This way, if you happen upon one in the wild, you’ll walk away from the conversation having at least some inkling of what was discussed.

Preesh – My kid made up this one. It’s short for “appreciate.” When someone does something nice for you and you’re too busy to say both “thank” and “you,” simply say “preesh” so they know you appreciate the kind gesture. Abbreviations are so handy when you don’t want to utter extra syllables. We live in a fast-paced world, so it’s a welcome time saver to abbreve.

Gag or Gagging – Not with a spoon, like in my 80’s heyday. Not the “blarf, I might really puke at how gross that is” kind of gagging. Today’s gagging is positive. It’s when you find entertainment or excitement in something, like winning two bucks from a lottery scratch off ticket. I’m gagging at the possibilities of how I will spend both of my dollars! Confession, this one isn’t from the teens, it’s from the queens… the fierce queens on “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” the most educational show on television.

Salty – Your mom gets salty when you pass on the dinner she cooked because you just downed a hefty snack after she’d told you she was making your favorite noodle meat surprise casserole just the way you like it, hold the surprise. Salty is when you’re angry and frustrated and act flippant and dismissive to the source of your anger. Similar to eating salt too often, being salty too often could probably lead to high-blood pressure.

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Crossed – When two things come together they cross paths, like in that 1970’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commercial. Here was a guy walking down the street, minding his own business, eating a huge chocolate bar when boom! He crosses paths with a random woman moseying about town while innocently sticking her fingers in a gigantic open jar of peanut butter. The classic “chicken or egg” scenario plays out with them deliciously debating whether he got his chocolate in her peanut butter or she got her peanut butter on his chocolate. Either way, they crossed. In modern-day teen lingo crossed is when one simultaneously partakes in both alcohol and marijuana. You’re both drunk and high, or crossfaded, or crossed as the kids say. You probably couldn’t even draw a cross in this state, let alone walk a straight line. This Jewish mother advises against getting crossed, because two risky behaviors are not better than one.

Rizz – Short for charisma, rizz isn’t as much about self-confidence as it is suaveness perceived by others. When you have a lot of rizz you can charm your way into a good situation, or out of a bad one. Rizz is most often used in romantic situations, because that intangible “it factor” makes you desirable to date. Do we think maybe this is why the character who most enjoyed, uh, the company of men in the musical “Grease” was named Rizzo? She was really racking them up, first as Kenickie’s “old lady,” but also hinting at a past fling with Danny Zuko. And if you ask me, Stockard Channing had no business playing the role of a high school senior when she was, in fact, 33 years old during filming. Not even the most expensive makeup can give teen rizz to a tricenarian.

Pull – Like a moth to a flame or a magnet to, well, something magnetic, pull is what you have when you attract potential suitors. For example, one who pulls more than his friends will walk away from a party with more phone numbers of potential paramours to text. Looks, personality and earning potential can all factor into the level of pull one can attain. Mathematically it would seem that one who pulls a lot has unlimited rizz, a case in which the nice guy won’t finish last.