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High School teacher makes a Gen Z dictionary

May 6, 2019, 10:10 AM

(CNN) — Slang can be hard across any generational gap.

Baby boomers may have been confused to hear about an “airhead” in the 1980s or getting “tight” in the 1990s.

Just like those before them, today’s Gen Z teens have their own way of communicating.

Now, one teacher isn’t just taking notes on how to decipher it but also writing the definitions down.

James Callahan, a 43-year-old sociology teacher at Lowell High School in Massachusetts, decided to make a dictionary of all the slang words his students were using. His spreadsheet of terms went viral after one of his students shared it on Twitter.

“Teenagers sort of have their own language, and I want to be able to understand that and try to reach them at their level,” Callahan told CNN affiliate WFXT.

His entries include “slay” (do really well); “tea” (gossip); and “clap back” (respond to an insult with an equal or greater insult).

Callahan’s goal is to help adults understand their teenage children better, and he hopes all the attention translates into educational donations to the high school.

“It’s always kind of fun if I can use their words in my instruction, in my lectures, and the kids get a kick out of it, too, so I feel like it makes me a more effective and better teacher,” Callahan said.

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