What Does "Swag" Mean? The Atlantic's 'Ask A Tween' Web Series Will Teach You What All The Cool Kids Are Saying

I have a confession to make: I've been trying to pin down how to use "on fleek" without sounding like a mom for months. But apparently I'm not the only person who struggles to keep up with what the cool kids are saying these days, because the inaugural episode of The Atlantic's Ask A Tween web series just taught me what "on fleek" means and more. The entire episode is all about slang, and let me just say that it arrived just in time. I mean, how else are we supposed to keep up with all these weird new phrases?

The Ask A Tween crew recently headed to Alice Deal Middle School in Washington, D.C. to chat with some real, live tweens about their favorite hip new jive, and the results are simultaneously precious and headache-inducing. There are some current slang standards — for example, the oft-recited "yaaas" — as well as some newer ones that I had never heard of before and still cannot use in a sentence. "You're not my dad" and "barely" just sound like normal words to me, but apparently they mean something else more specific? Or something?

Class is now in session! Below is your study guide; the test is the next time you talk to a middle schooler. If they don't laugh at you, you've passed.

1. Werk

How to use "werk" in a tween sentence: "Werk, boo."

Adult translation: "You did your laundry two whole times this month! Werk!"

2. On Fleek

How to use "on fleek" in a tween sentence: "So, like, if your hair looks nice today you'll be like 'oh, my hair is on fleek.'"

Adult translation: "Literally is there ever a time when Rihanna's whole look is not on fleek?"

3. Slay

How to use "slay" in a tween sentence: "Whenever we wear cute outfits or something like that, we always say 'slay.'"

Adult translation: "This particular tween is slaying with her giant emoji t-shirt. I would like to know where I can purchase that t-shirt so I, too, can slay."

4. Swag

How to use "swag" in a tween sentence: "A lot of boys in a lot of my classes say, like, 'I'm so swag.'"

Adult translation: "I'm so swag that I got my heel caught in a subway grate and made it look so intentional that only one person laughed at me."

Watch the video below to study up:

The Atlantic on YouTube

Images: jovike/Flickr; The Atlantic/YouTube (4)