Tuesday 06 Jun 2023
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This article first appeared in Digital Edge, The Edge Malaysia Weekly on December 26, 2022 - January 1, 2023

Most of us are acquainted with abbreviations such as LOL (laugh out loud, in case you were unsure), but thanks to social media like TikTok and the rise of Gen Z, a whole new set of slang and lingo has emerged, leaving the older ones puzzled. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are some popular slang words in 2022!


1. Yassify

The act of beautifying something, typically something that is unappealing or heteronormative; turning a zero-rated look into a 100.

Example: “You have yassified your look!”

Big hoop earrings, blinged-out makeup and long, flashy manicure extensions are the personification of being “yassified”. Typically, people yassify photos of notable figures, from Shrek to Thanos and even local politicians.


2. Bussin’

Something that is exceptionally good, often used to describe predominantly stellar food. For added emphasis, repeat the word twice or combine it with the word “sheesh”.

Example: “Mmm … This food is bussin’!”

If you follow deena (@halalsnacc) on TikTok, this word would already be on your radar. She rates food as “bussin’” or “not bussin’”. Next time you want to describe a specific food as super delicious, try saying bussin’ instead!


3. Situationship

A romantic or sexual relationship that is not considered to be formal or established.

Example: After being in a situationship for a year, Razi and Rani have decided to make their relationship official.

A situationship is akin to an unlabelled relationship, where two people are neither dating nor just friends. It usually happens during the early stages of a relationship when two people are still getting to know each other with no strings attached.


4. Sheesh!

A term used to hype up someone whenever they look good or do something good.

Example: “Sheesh, your fit is super fine!”

Older folk are familiar with the term as an expression of disappointment, annoyance or surprise. However, it took a positive turn when a few celebrities used it in that context, such as renowned basketball player LeBron James who wrote “sheesh” to convey his approval in a retweet about his signature pair of Nike sneakers on the court.

“Sheesh!” took over TikTok when user King Julio (@meetjulio) posted a video of a frog being serenaded by a chorus of “sheeshes” on Valentine’s Day. The audio has since been used in over 100,000 videos.


5. Healing

The process of mending a broken heart. Can also be used in the context of splurging (for example: holiday or an expensive meal) in the name of recovering from a heartbreak.

Example: “I’m healing again.” (coupled with a picture of an exorbitant receipt)

A new local slang, the term “healing” is famously used to describe people who are mending their broken hearts after a heartbreak. The term was first used to describe people who were staring into space or sitting alone. “Tengah healing ke tu?” (Are you healing?) is a common colloquial use of the term here.

However, “healing” has evolved to be used to humblebrag, with TikTokers using it as an excuse to splurge as an act of healing.


6. Rizz

A male’s ability to impress or charm women, solely based on their looks. Unspoken rizz: The ability to attract people with nothing but a glance and a beckon.

Example: “James still got rizz after all these years!”

Synonymous with “got game”, the term “rizz” was created by YouTube and Switch streamer Kai Cenat. He even launched the Rizz Academy, a crash course for anyone who wants to improve their dating and “rizzing” skills.


7. Caught in 4K

Caught red-handed with concrete evidence, typically on social media. Can also refer to getting a person’s reaction clearly on camera.

Example: “The car crash suspect was caught in 4K by netizens who were recording the incident by the roadside.”

The term “caught in 4K” is used when it is clear who is guilty in a specific incident, based on obvious proof. It is typically used when trying to catch suspects based on collective video or picture evidence available online, whether it’s for a car crash or to catch a cheating husband.


8. Naur

“No” in an Australian accent. It can also be amplified as “naurrrrrr” to express an absolute dislike of something or to sound more feisty.

Example: “Naur, I don’t like vegetables.”

Beyond taking a light-hearted jab at the Australian accent, “naur” has become the extreme version of “no”. It can be used to show extreme displeasure with something or someone, such as a TV series or a former high school nemesis.


9. Sus

Short for suspicious, “sus” can be used to question a person or an activity that is deemed to be such.

Example: “The new guy seems sus. I saw him sneak out of the storage room.”

“Sus” was made popular by cooperative multiplayer mobile game Among Us. Set in a spaceship, players need to figure out who the imposter is. The imposter’s mission is to kill as many people in the game as possible. Players call out potential suspects in the chat box with messages like “red sus” or “pink sus”.


10. Mid

Akin to “mediocre”. It is used to degrade an opposing opinion by labelling it as average or of poor quality.

Example: The singer’s first album was a banger but the latest one was mid. 

TikTokers have been using “mid” to complain about their unpleasant life experiences, such as uncomfortable hotel stays or an average college life. Some took it to another level by flexing their “mid” status, for example, flexing the use of a black surgical mask when everyone else is still using the generic, blue surgical mask in public.


11. Snatched

Akin to attractive, perfect or amazing. Snatched is an expression that conveys someone is on point with their look.

Example: “Her make-up snatched at the Christmas party.”

Snatched is the new “fleek”.


12. Cap or no cap

Another word for “lie”. Saying “no cap” means that you are telling the truth. If you say someone is “capping”, then you are saying they are lying.

Example: “You actually got tickets to the Taylor Swift concert? You’re capping.”

Typically used by creators who test out theories, “cap or no cap” can also be represented by the use of a physical cap. Creators such as PARTY SHIRT (@partyshirt) on TikTok, who test out the legitimacy of experiments and hacks seen on the app, have popularised the use of the term.

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