Internet slang has come a long way from its humble beginnings when we peppered our AIMs and BBMs with acronyms like “lol” and “omg.” Today, the words and phrases we create evolve so quickly that keeping up requires you to be ~extremely online~ nearly all of the time, or you’ll fall behind. 

The words we make up and use online are — in addition to being weird and hilarious — a telling reflection of the times we’re living in. Here are some of our favorites.


Sheng, a mixture of Kiswahili and English spoken in Kenya. A casual inquiry, similar to “what’s the plan?”


Brazilian Portuguese. A man who politically aligns himself with the progressive left, but privately holds misogynistic and homophobic attitudes

Translation: “what about this girl who dressed up as a feminist esquerdomacho for Halloween??? best costume ever”


Brazilian Portuguese. A queer person; usually a gay man. The term initially referenced the click-clack, or “pock-pock” sound made by heels hitting the floor. This used to be a derogatory term on Brazilian social media, but it no longer has negative connotations

oi sumido

Brazilian Portuguese. This literally means “hi, stranger,” and is the equivalent to “you up?” in English; often used when a romantic or sexual interest is implied

Translation: “I received an “oi sumido!” when I went to look, it was from 99 [a Brazilian ride-hailing app]”

柠檬精 (ningmengjing)

Mandarin. Literally means “lemon fairy”; is used to describe someone who is sour with envy

mili pili

Argentine Spanish. An abbreviation of common the Spanish female names Milagros and Pilar, this is shorthand for young, affluent women who are likely Catholic and embrace an entitled, basic lifestyle. Sometimes shortened to “mili”

Translation: “God I’m sick of these Milis on Instagram”


South African English. The feeling of being challenged, cheated, or disturbed

彩虹屁 (caihong pi)

Mandarin. Literally translates to “rainbow fart”; a compliment given in an intentionally exaggerated and silly way

Translation: “Sehun stood behind the fans and listened to their rainbow fart! He even questioned whether their compliment is real? LOL! Netizens: ‘Both the idol and fans are so dope!'”

 奶茶自由 (naicha ziyou); 车厘子自由(chelizi ziyou); and 口红自由 (kouhong ziyou)

Mandarin. Translates to “bubble tea freedom,” “cherries freedom,” and “lipstick freedom,” respectively. Each describes a different (low) level of financial independence, signaling that you have enough money to afford all the bubble tea (about ¥20), cherries (about ¥100+/kilogram), or lipstick (¥200+) that you want