The world is evolving, and so is everything in it, especially lingo. Just when you think you’re up to date, somebody says something else and has you running to Google with your tail tucked firmly between your legs. From the weirdest of abbreviations to those words that don’t even sound English, this article compiles 20 gen z slang words every Nigerian should know.

Generation Z, or Gen Z as you like it, are those born between the years 1997 and 2012 (roughly speaking). They are the internet generation, and rightly so. This generation runs the internet and social media, and as with every other thing they do, they do it in their own way, using their own language. For those who aren’t Gen Z, it might be hard to keep up, but when you can’t beat them, what do you do? You join them.

Below are 20 Gen Z slang words every Nigerian should know:

1. The math ain’t mathing

If there’s one thing math is supposed to do, it’s “mathing”, and when it doesn’t, something is definitely wrong. This phrase is used when something just does not add up. “Nigeria barely has stable electricity, and yet supplies uninterrupted power to other countries. This math definitely ain’t mathing.”

2. It’s giving

Dissecting the meaning of “it’s giving” can give you a headache, but when it’s said, you always just know what is implied. When used alone, it means something looks good. “Check you out, girl! It’s giving.” If it’s used as some sort of prefix, then it describes the type of vibes something gives off. “I love this theme. It’s giving 90’s disco.”

3. IMO

Nobody likes stress, especially not the zoomers generation, and if typing out “in my opinion” is stressful, then it has to go. Yup, “IMO” is short for “in my opinion.”

4. Understood the assignment

You’ve definitely seen this one, at least a thousand times. The phrase is used to praise someone for an amazing role deliverance or simply a job well done. “Have you heard Jay-Z’s verse on God did? That man understood the assignment.”

5. Sus

Gen Z is the sceptical and distrustful generation. It’s no wonder this particular slang came into being. “Sus” is short for “suspicious” or in other cases “suspect”. Bottom line is, whenever something fishy is going on, gen z’s are ever ready to sniff it out.

6. Cap/no cap

The word “cap” means “lie”, and its verb form “capping” means “lying”. “No cap” on the other hand, simply means “no lie” or “for real”. “Bruh, you got this watch for that much? Nah, you capping.”

7. Slept on

When something is “slept on”, it’s overlooked, ignored or underrated. Basically, it’s not getting the credit it deserves. It’s usually used in reference to music, but not always. “Nigerian gospel artists really be slept on globally.”

8. Shade

Always accompanied by the verb “throw”, shade is a comment, although said casually, aimed at disrespecting or insulting someone. “The music industry these days, is all about throwing shades.”

9. W/L

For some reason, gen Z’s have decided that the words “win” and “loss” are way too long. So now, simply saying “W” and “L” means the same thing. For instance, “Anthony Joshua seems to be taking his L really bad, and I’m not even throwing shades now.”

10. Aza

This Gen z slang may sound a bit razz, but when someone requests your aza, it’s something worth celebrating. They’re asking for your account details. A miracle, especially in this country where everyone refuses to “do transfer”.

11. Ment

This one is really simple and straightforward. “Ment” is shortened from the word “mental” and it means the same thing. “Can’t believe the man oh, asking me to do transfer. Gats be ment.” Lol.

12. Breakfast

Apparently, breakfast is no longer just the first meal of the day. When Nigerian gen z’s say the word breakfast, they usually mean heartbreak, and you’re either served or chopping it. One thing is certain though, breakfast will go around.

13. We outside

This literally means, you’re outside with friends, making money moves and getting lit (having fun).

14. Love to see it

This is often used as an affirmation that you like and are proud of something. Almost like a stamp of approval. ” Ouuu, black women are making waves in history. Love to see it.”

15. Trenches

Trenches is a gen z slang used to describe rural settlements or harsh/unfavorable circumstances, the ghetto. “I’m hustling really hard, just to leave the trenches.”

16. Hits different

When something “hits different”, it feels good, better than it normally does, or better under different circumstances. “Hot chocolate when it’s raining cats and dogs hits different.” This means hot chocolate is particularly better when it’s raining heavily than at any other time.

17. Appaz

I don’t know how, and I probably won’t ever know why, but “appaz” is short for “apparently”.

18. Not….

If it wasn’t already, It’s now clear beyond a reasonable doubt, that gen z’s say one thing, and mean the other. Whenever a sentence starts with the word “not”, it is in actual fact “so”. Case in point, “not me eating junk food while on a diet”, said the fellow doing exactly that. It is often used in a sarcastic and ridiculing way.

19. Iykyk

Not me pronouncing this as “aik-aik” the very first time, lol. Not that I know how it’s pronounced now anyway, but what I do know is that it’s short for “if you know, you know”. This gen z slang is used when referring to an inside joke, that only those who “know” can understand.

20. It’s the ….. for me

This phrase is used to point out a certain feature or characteristic that works or does it for you. You could be scrolling through your feeds and come across a picture you like and comment, “it’s the makeup for me”. On the other side of the coin, it could also be used to make fun of people. “It’s the big nose for me.”

You might also be interested in reading Popular Phrases in Nigerian Pidging English and Gen Z Fashion Trends in 2022.

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