Aside from the occasional Urban Dictionary browse, I’ve learned that I’m horrible passé when it comes to street lingo. My lame lingo is more than so five minutes ago. After spending a day at a school in Queens painting it bright colors (booyah key lime walls!) I walked away with a newfound appreciation for the verbiage of today’s inner city youth. They gots SWAG, yo.

My lil buddies, Adele and Zsa Zsa (yes, like the actress) schooled me in what’s in and what’s out when it comes to lingo. Some words were like hearing a new language. “Jawn” means fine — as in, “That boy sure is jawn.” Of course, I googled this immediately upon returning to an internet connection, and found this very fascinating article on the etymology of “jawn” as a slang local Philadelphia term. But I digress.

Some terms were more intuitive — to “cut on” someone is to make fun of them. “Cuffed” is when you’re in a relationship, a la handcuffs.  When they told me “jacking” something was stealing it, I was like — and that’s actually part of the real English language. Please see “carjack.”

Either way, below I’ve shared a mini-dictionary of my learnings. I intend to use each of them at least once a day, to fully incorporate them into my vocabulary. Side note: I got a 45 minute separate lesson on the meaning of “swag” — an ambiguous but ever important label that is as complimentary as it is divisive (As in “Nicki Minaj USUALLY has swag but dayum, did you see her at the VMAs? She was a hot MESS.”)

flea = fresh; fly

tight = mad

dub = mistake; faux-pas

shake = fight

skeeve; griz; hit; lit = ugly

haan = expression of approval (mostly used in the context of egging on someone who is “cutting on” someone else)

get off my yang = get off my case

you went to DR = something you say to someone who is over the top

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