Lucy Tobin teaches parents to 'teen-speak'


Parents, do you know what it means to have a “benny”? Be “juiced”? Or to “unass”?

Journalist Lucy Tobin reveals all in her latest publication, Pimp Your Vocab (Portico, £7.99), a guide to “teenglish”.

Aimed at adults, it is a funny and informative dictionary of words and expressions used by teenagers and students, to help bridge the communication gap between teachers and students, parents (rents) and children (kidults).

Miss Tobin, 23, tells People: “When I was at Oxford University I found that a lot of situations cropped up where tutors didn’t understand students so I thought it would be fun to do a book on it.” What are some of the most controversial phrases? “The use of the word ‘raped’. Teenagers use it to mean ‘to be beaten by a task or an event’ but when adults, who don’t know the new meaning, hear it they can be quite shocked.”

Her research involved strategically positioning herself near teenagers on the tube and noting down the phrases they would say. She says: “All the debreviated language shows how harassed our society is and says a lot about priorities, particularly the proliferation of words about drinking.” (Gazeboed, smashed, hammered and obliterated — to name a few). “There is something quite optimistic about the inventiveness of the language used by teenagers (and kidults). It’s quite fun that kids have their own language that parents don’t understand.”

London-based, Miss Tobin works on the City desk at the Evening Standard.

And rents: in case you were wondering, to have a “benny” means to become angry; “juiced” means excited and “to unass” is to leave somewhere very fast.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive