Urban Dictionary – Deciphering Teen Communication

Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 9.16.14 AMYou might have noticed the news last week that a bunch of new words and acronyms were added to the Oxford English Dictionary (online edition). If you’re a parent, some of those words may mean absolutely nothing to you. If your teen or pre teen has a cell phone or uses the internet, chances are that he has heard many more of them than you have, or even used them.

It’s actually a little bit misleading that the news accounts are ballyhooing this as the first inclusion of some words in the dictionary. They’ve been in one since shortly after they were coined, perhaps years ago, and it’s called Urban Dictionary.

If you’ve ever picked up your son’s cell phone and been baffled by some of the words in his text messages or social media posts, Urban Dictionary might be something you can use.

Did you know what Twerking was before Miley Cyrus put on that horrid performance at the VMA awards last weekend? You could have consulted Urban Dictionary:

Twerk:  The rhythmic gyrating of the lower fleshy extremities in a lascivious manner with the intent to elicit sexual arousal or laughter in ones intended audience.

Was there a time you didn’t have a clue what a subtweet is? You could have checked our Internet Glossary for Parents, or consulted Urban Dictionary:

Subtweet:  It’s the shortening of “subliminal tweet” which is directly referring to a particular person without mentioning their name or directly mentioning them and it basically indicates that the tweet in which the hashtag is used is a subliminal tweet.

Basically, it’s talking about someone behind their back but sort of in their face on Twitter!

Be warned, Urban Dictionary is not for the faint of heart – the definitions include plenty of profanity and sexual references – but if you’re trying to decipher your teen’s text messages or social media posts, it is a good place to start. Instead of being three steps behind your teen, you might only be one step behind.


Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.

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