AF and Other Jargon Your Teen is Probably Mumbling Under Their Breath

One mom's attempt to decode what her teen sons were REALLY saying...

by Nancy Reynolds

This Post: AF and Other Jargon Your Teen is Probably Mumbling Under their Breath

Written by: Ann Marie Gunther

Having two teenage boys, I overhear a lot of unidentified jargon. Sometimes it seems like they’re speaking in another language! While I often feel confused about what my kids are actually saying, there are a few phrases I’ve managed to figure out, and some I’ve started using myself, just to prove to my boys that I’m not as lame or uncool as they think I am.

Here’s a funny, relatable, and oh, SO true look at what teens are REALLY saying…either under their breath OR loud enough for the neighbors to hear. 

AF and Other Jargon Your Teen is Probably Mumbling Under the Breath


This is a fun one. I won’t get into exactly what this stands for, but as you read on you can surmise. After trying to convince my older teen to wear at least a hoodie on a bitterly cold, Northeastern day in January, he scoffed and exited the house in only a tank top. This was followed quickly by a loud shriek, “Ahhhh! It’s cold AF out here!”

AF gives weight to anything a teen is saying (i.e. “I’m tired AF!” “She’s cute AF!” “That’s crazy AF, man!”) and can be added to the end of most sentences to show JUST how tired, crazy, cute or cold (or anything else) they REALLY are.


Moving on to a recent meal where I asked my son how his chicken fingers were, he described them as being “mid.” This apparently meant that his said tenders weren’t amazing, but not disgusting enough to reject. Mid means middle of the road – not great, but then again, not too bad. On a scale of 1-10, mid is around a 5, 6, or 7. You can be told that the meal you prepared for your teen is mid, or that a teacher is mid, etc., and oftentimes that is the start and end of the description – don’t expect any supporting details. To be described as “mid” is kind of like, “meh.”


Bruh has far more meaning than I originally thought. I’ve noticed a certain reaction when I press my teens to do, well… practically anything, such as clean their rooms, do their homework, or even just look up from their devices and make direct eye contact with me. I’ll frequently hear a pained-sounding “Bruhhh!” in a tone that’s a cross between an agonizing groan and a whine. I had heard that “bruh” was a replacement for “dude.” However, when my kids use it with me, it’s never said in a positive way like “Rock on, dude!” In fact, the vibe is more like, “Bruhhh, please stop talking to me immediately before I perish under the weight of your words.” Generally, “bruh” implies total disappointment or “Geeeez… do I HAVE to?”

“That is SO Sus!”

I recently overheard my teen son complain that his friend stayed behind at the mall with a girl my son likes. “That is sus!” my other teen shouted indignantly. “He’s totally playing you!” Squinting hard, I used my mom powers of deduction to determine that “sus,” in fact, simply means…..suspicious! Easy stuff, folks! We can do this. FYI, you can also “sus something out,” which means to get to the bottom of shady behavior.

“This is Cap!”

Next up, I would often hear my teens yelling, “That is cap!” into their phones or gaming devices. Alternatively, usually in defense of themselves, I would hear shouts of “No cap!” I had to ask about this one. It seems that “cap” implies that someone is lying. “No cap” means truth.

To me, this seems backward and almost like a double negative. I mean, come on… “cap” should be the truth and “no cap” should be a lie, right? Can we redefine this? Anyhow, when “cap” is shouted indignantly it probably means that someone is talking crap about them. Now, there’s a new phrase we can suggest – talking crap.

“I’m Dead!”

One day in the car, I was trying to entertain my son and his friends by telling some lame story. I’ve realized that I seem to work awfully hard at getting a reaction out of these kids, probably because it’s so darn difficult (and, truthfully, rather entertaining).

On this particular day, I managed to get a laugh out of them (which thrilled me) and even got one girl to say, “Your mom is so funny!” (Blushing). She continued, “I’m dead!” Now I was totally puzzled. Why was she dead? It turns out that you can feel dead when someone is just so blasted funny that there is no other living word in the universe to describe the hilarity of the situation.


This one is by far the most ridiculous bit of slang. There may have been a time when I snooped a bit on my teens’ cell phones, just to keep an eye on things. Unfortunately, they’ve wizened up and now prying their phones from their gripping hands and guessing their passcodes makes it nearly impossible. Anyhow, back in the good old days, I would see messages like “Finna be there at 8” or “Finna talk to Sue tonight.” I had to Google this one, and here is why it’s absurd – apparently, phone spell checkers replace “gonna” with “finna,” and now “finna” is an actual word! It’s in the Oxford dictionary! That’s no cap!!


Recently, I asked my son if he had heard from a childhood friend of his. He responded that she had not been in touch, because she is “emo” now. When I asked what that meant, he said, “You know, no color, dead eyes.” (What!?) I asked him to please expand. Although his explanation wasn’t 100% clear, I pretty much surmised that no color meant dark hair and dark clothes. Dead eyes seemed to mean dark and moody feelings. Folks, I believe this refers to what in our day was called “Goth.” (But this is merely an educated guess… Lol.)

Using teen jargon correctly, at precisely the right time, will show your kids that you’re “with it.” After all, teenagers LOVE when we try to speak their lingo, especially in front of their friends. (Ahem… JK. Be prepared for large amounts of heavy sighing, eye-rolls, and “OMG, geeeez, mom… really???” comments.)

Case in point, I was recently in the car with my sons and friends, and I declared a squirrel in the middle of the road to be “mid.” They groaned in agony for some reason and told me I was using the word wrong. I shouted, “That is cap! No cap!” (forgetting which meant true vs. lie.) At this point, they were shrieking and their eyes were literally rolling back in their heads. “I’m dead!” one shouted.

Honestly, I don’t know what their problem was. After all, I’m cool AF.

About Ann Marie Gunther:

Ann Marie is a technologist and freelance writer who is blessed with two charismatic teen boys. The humor they bring makes her day, every day.

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