Here Are the Top 10 Slang Words of 2016

top 10 slang words of 2016

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In the vibrant landscape of language evolution, 2016 was a year marked by creativity and brevity in communication. This article explores the top 10 slang words of 2016, words that not only shaped casual conversations but also became cultural markers, reflecting the nuances of that unique time. Let’s dive into the Top 10 Slang Words of 2016 and uncover how they left an indelible mark on our vernacular.

1. The Rise of ‘Bae’

In 2016, ‘Bae’ soared to unparalleled heights as a term of endearment, making it one of the top 10 slang words of 2016. Derived from “before anyone else,” it quickly embedded itself in the lexicon of love and companionship. Whether referring to a romantic partner or a close friend, ‘Bae’ exemplified the evolving nature of relationships in the digital age.

  • Example: “I’m going to the movies with my bae tonight.”

With roots in African American Vernacular English (AAVE), ‘Bae’ bridged the gap between traditional and contemporary expressions, earning its place as a quintessential term of the top 10 slang words of 2016.

top 10 slang words of 2016

2. Lit: The Fire of Cultural Expression

‘Lit’ became the torchbearer of enthusiasm and excitement in 2016, solidifying its spot in the top 10 slang words of 2016. This multifaceted term transcended its original meaning of illumination to symbolize something remarkable or exhilarating.

  • Example: “That concert was lit!”

From parties to experiences, ‘Lit’ infused conversations with energy and became a cultural thermometer measuring the intensity of a moment, making it a standout among the top 10 slang words of 2016.

3. Bestest: Redefining Superlative Bonds

In 2016, ‘Bestest’ emerged as an endearing term stretching the boundaries of superlatives, earning its place in the top 10 slang words of 2016. It wasn’t just about having a best friend; it was about having someone beyond the best—a confidant and companion.

  • Example: “You’re my bestest friend in the whole world.”

‘Bestest’ reflected the yearning for connection and the desire to articulate relationships that surpass the ordinary, highlighting its significance in the top 10 slang words of 2016.

4. Y’know: The Casual Connector Among the Top 10 Slang Words of 2016

‘Y’know,’ a contraction of “you know,” found its niche as a casual connector of thoughts in 2016, becoming one of the top 10 slang words of 2016. This slang term acted as a linguistic bridge, effortlessly linking phrases and ideas.

  • Example: “It’s really hot today, y’know?”

Beyond its grammatical simplicity, ‘Y’know’ encapsulated the informal and inclusive nature of language during that time, securing its spot among the top 10 slang words of 2016.

5. Luv: A Reimagining of Affection

‘Luv’ emerged in 2016 as a charming deviation from the conventional spelling of love, making it one of the top 10 slang words of 2016. Simplifying the expression while retaining its warmth, ‘Luv’ became a versatile companion in messages, comments, and captions.

  • Example: “I absolutely luv your new haircut!”

It captured the essence of heartfelt connections in a fast-paced digital world, cementing its place in the top 10 slang words of 2016.

6. -esque: A Suffix of Stylish Flair

The suffix ‘-esque,’ derived from French, added stylistic flair to language in 2016, becoming a notable entry in the top 10 slang words of 2016.

  • Example: “Her dress is very vintage-esque.”

It transformed ordinary words into sophisticated descriptors, infusing an aesthetic quality into fashion, art, and everyday conversation. ‘-esque’ became an unmissable component of linguistic evolution, securing its place among the top 10 slang words of 2016.

7. Freakin: The Emphasis Enhancer

‘Freakin’ emerged as the emphasis enhancer of 2016, making it one of the top 10 slang words of 2016. This casual replacement for more potent expletives added emphasis without crossing into explicit territory.

  • Example: “That movie was freakin’ awesome!”

‘Freakin’ injected fervor into conversations, adapting to various contexts while maintaining its ability to intensify expressions, highlighting its role in the top 10 slang words of 2016.

8. Nah: The Art of Denial

‘Nah,’ a succinct powerhouse of negation, became the preferred way to reject, dismiss, or disagree in 2016, earning its place in the top 10 slang words of 2016. It evolved into a versatile tool, wielded in various social scenarios, showcasing how a single, seemingly mundane term can shape the dynamics of informal communication.

  • Example: “Do you want to go to the party?” “Nah, I’m staying in tonight.”

‘Nah’ stands out as a significant entry in the top 10 slang words of 2016.

9. Dat: Simplifying Pronouns

In the pursuit of linguistic efficiency, ‘Dat’ rose in 2016 as a simplified version of the pronoun ‘that,’ making it one of the top 10 slang words of 2016. This slang term, with its roots in informal speech, became a shorthand method to convey familiarity and ease.

  • Example: “Look at dat cute puppy!”

‘Dat’ reflects the dynamic nature of language in an ever-evolving cultural landscape, securing its place among the top 10 slang words of 2016.

10. Insta-: The Prefix of Instant Gratification

The prefix ‘Insta-,’ originating from Instagram, embedded itself deeply in the linguistic fabric of 2016, becoming a key component of the top 10 slang words of 2016. It became a symbol of swiftness and immediacy, from ‘Insta-famous’ to ‘Insta-worthy,’ reflecting a societal inclination towards rapid satisfaction.

  • Example: “This sunset is totally Insta-worthy!”

‘Insta-‘ emerged as a linguistic bridge between the virtual and tangible realms, making it an indispensable part of the top 10 slang words of 2016.

The top 10 slang words of 2016 not only encapsulate the spirit and trends of that year but also highlight the ever-evolving nature of our language. These terms have left a lasting imprint on our vernacular, continuing to influence how we communicate today.

The Rise and Evolution of Slang Words in Recent Years

The phenomenon of slang words isn’t new, but their proliferation and impact have surged dramatically in recent years. The rise of the top 10 slang words of 2016 marked a pivotal moment in this linguistic evolution, but the trend has continued to grow, influenced by various socio-cultural and technological factors. The creation and adoption of slang words are driven by the need for brevity, creativity, and identity within communities, and their impact on communication is profound.

Reasons for the Rise of Slang Words

  1. Technological Influence: One of the primary drivers of new slang terms is technology, particularly social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. These platforms thrive on brevity and immediacy, necessitating the creation of short, impactful terms. For instance, the 140-character limit on Twitter encouraged users to coin new words and abbreviations to convey their messages succinctly.
  2. Cultural Dynamics: Slang words often emerge from cultural movements and shifts. As different subcultures gain prominence, their unique forms of expression infiltrate mainstream language. This was evident with the top 10 slang words of 2016, many of which originated from African American Vernacular English (AAVE) and youth subcultures. The adoption of these terms by wider audiences reflects the dynamic interplay between culture and language.
  3. Globalization and Multiculturalism: The blending of cultures due to globalization has also contributed to the rise of slang. Words from different languages and cultures mix, creating hybrid terms that resonate with a global audience. This cross-pollination of language helps people from diverse backgrounds find common ground and share experiences.
  4. Identity and Group Dynamics: Slang words serve as a means of establishing identity and solidarity within groups. Using specific slang can signal membership in a particular community, whether it’s based on age, profession, or interest. This sense of belonging and differentiation drives the continuous creation of new slang terms.

Impact on Communication

  1. Efficiency and Brevity: Slang words enhance communication efficiency by condensing complex ideas into single words or short phrases. This is particularly useful in fast-paced digital communication, where time and space are limited. For example, saying “lit” instead of “exciting and fun” saves time and effort while still conveying the intended meaning.
  2. Emotional Expression: Slang words often carry emotional weight that standard language might lack. They can convey attitudes, emotions, and cultural nuances more effectively. This emotional richness enhances interpersonal communication, allowing for more expressive and nuanced interactions.
  3. Cultural Reflection: The slang of a particular time reflects its cultural landscape. The top 10 slang words of 2016, such as “bae” and “lit,” mirrored the social dynamics, technological advancements, and cultural trends of that year. As slang evolves, it continues to serve as a linguistic snapshot of contemporary society.
  4. Language Evolution: The continuous influx of slang contributes to the natural evolution of language. As new terms are created and adopted, they can eventually become part of the standard lexicon. This ongoing process ensures that language remains vibrant and adaptable to changing times.
  5. Accessibility and Inclusion: Slang can democratize language by making it more accessible and relatable to younger generations and diverse communities. It breaks down formal barriers and allows for more inclusive communication, bridging gaps between different social groups.

The rise of slang words, exemplified by the top 10 slang words of 2016, is a testament to the dynamic nature of language. Driven by technology, cultural shifts, and the need for efficient and expressive communication, slang continues to evolve, shaping how we interact and connect with one another. Its impact is far-reaching, influencing not only our daily conversations but also the broader linguistic landscape.


The top 10 slang words of 2016 stand as a testament to the dynamic nature of communication. From the affectionate ‘Bae’ to the instantaneous ‘Insta-,’ these words wove themselves into everyday conversations, leaving an enduring legacy. As we bid adieu to these linguistic gems, we acknowledge their role in shaping not just words but the very essence of how we connect, express, and navigate human interaction.


How did these slang words become popular in 2016?

The popularity of the top 10 slang words of 2016 can be attributed to the intersection of social media, digital communication, and cultural trends. As these words resonated with the dynamics of the time, they spread rapidly through online platforms and conversations.

Were these slang words specific to certain demographics or widely adopted?

The beauty of the top 10 slang words of 2016 lies in their versatility. While some originated in specific communities or subcultures, they transcended demographics, becoming widely adopted across various age groups and social circles.

How have these slang words influenced language today?

The impact of the top 10 slang words of 2016 extends beyond the year, shaping the ongoing evolution of language. Many terms have become integrated into everyday speech, reflecting the enduring influence of 2016’s vernacular innovations on contemporary communication.

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