Break Every Yoke

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Feb 21 2013

A guide to high school slang

After a year and a half of teaching, I’ve become quite familiar with the slang of teenagers in Rhode Island and beyond. Below is my best attempt to define some of the terms and expressions that I hear most often in my classroom and hallways. Disclaimer: some of these are mildly offensive.

amped - adj. excited, joyful; hardly able to control oneself (“The bell is ringing in two minutes? I’m so amped!”)

beast - n. one who is very good at something (“I’m a beast yo, I just solved that equation all by myself.”)

come at one’s neck - idiom. to disrespect; to be unnecessarily belligerent (“Mister, I wasn’t talking! Why you comin’ at my neck?”)

coño - interj. [Dominican] used to express impatience or frustration (“Stop talking, we still need to do Example 3 coño!”)

cuff - interj. used to express that something is silly or foolish (“Cuff, I just wrote 5 + 3 = 9.”)

diablo - interj. [Dominican/Spanish] used to express frustration or disbelief (“We have homework today? Diablo!”)

dímelo - interj. [Dominican] what’s up; what’s good? (“Yo I ain’t seen you for a minute. Dímelo?”)

dustyadj. unacceptable, ugly (“Noo mister, I don’t want to make a poster. My writing is mad dusty.”)

fresh - adj. stylish, aesthetically pleasing (“Dang, look at Mr. K looking fresh in his V-neck and Jordans!”)

heated - adj. upset, frustrated (“Mr. B got me heated, he marked me absent when I was doing work in the library.”)

nice - adj. very good at something (“I scored 20 points last night! I’m nice, kid.”)

que lo que? - interj. [Dominican] what’s up? (“Hey mister! Que lo que? Did you try mangú yet?”)

ratchet - adj. ghetto; gross, annoying (“This school is mad ratchet, our heat don’t even work.”)

ta pasao - interj. [Dominican] used to express when someone has done something ridiculous (“You already finished your essay?? Tú ta pasao!”)

wavyadj. excellent, especially in appearance (“Mister, you always dress wavy on Casual Friday.”)

4 Responses

  1. gmason

    Wondering if “ratchet” derives from wretched? Love this list, though.

  2. Tee

    Just a note…coño has a dirtier meaning as well…

    • Indeed it does. I didn’t go there since that’s not how the kids use it.

  3. Sarah

    yo i learned “ratchet” from yuju a couple months ago! apparently it’s a part of philly slang as well hahahaha

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