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Jonathan E. Magen
Jonathan E. Magen

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A Compendium of Gen-Z Terminology in Technical Contexts

I wonder if others like me, other non-sociologists, also find the whole notion of a generation irrelevant. Seems that more folks use generational designations to broadly label, disrespect, or deride others. So I (an elder-millenial, for those looking to label) would prefer to tell you how much my Gen-Z colleagues have taught me. Hopefully, when others have the chance to develop the appreciation I have gained.

To facilitate this, I have collected yet another list of terms used by my contemporaries. However, thre are two differences. One difference is that I only include that which I have personally experienced. The other is that these expressions have been presented specifically in the context of technology and computing.

Any essential expressions which are missing, are missing because I've never run into them myself.

Expressions of Words and Speech

A response to something exceedingly humorous, as if to say something is so funny that a politely exiting the situation is one's only reprieve.
Cap / No Cap
A lie. One might use this as others might say "for real" or "honestly" as in the example "That code worked on my machine, no cap!"
When someone says "I'm dead" they wish to indicate they have experienced extreme laughter or amusement. Seems to descend from the expression "died laughing".
To harshly criticize to the point of insult. A self-deprecating example might be "Thank goodness I have ESLint to drag my code."
Intense or otherwise noticable, usually positive. Can be used sarcastically in sentences such as "With so much company surveillance software on my computer, no wonder the fan is always extra."
Voiced or written abbreviation for "for real".
To hoard useful knowledge. This differs from its previous usage of denying others' belonging in a given group.
Here for it
Used to indicate a satisfactory approval such that it is, alone, enough motivation to justify one's presence.
High-Key and Low-Key
Either way this is an admission of approval or adoration in the face of relative distate within a given social group. It might be used conspiratorially to express an unpopular opinion "I low-key love Java". Alternatively you can use it as a proud declaration of enthusiasm in opposition to the conventional wisdom when saying "I high-key think Windows is right for this".
Hits different
If something hits different, it is uniquely positive. You may here it as "I thought Python had great docs but the Rust documentation hits different."
I love that for you
This term indicates both sincere and personal enthusiasm. It may be paired with a compliment in phrases such as "You are so good at explaining algorithms. I love that for you!" Though, it may also be used alone as a compliment.
An abbreviation, usually written, for "if you know, you know". This most often refers to insider knowledge or understanding, but could also highlight the presence of an in-joke.
Strong disapproval in response to learning of something undesirable. It most likely originated as shorthand for "that's so terrible, it should be imprisoned". If you were to tell how a cloud platform deleted virtual machines without warning, you might hear the "jail" in response.
Main Character / Main Character Energy
A person who has main character energy has become, positively, the center of attention. Someone who is the prime mover of, or instigator in, a situation.
Written abbreviations for "my face right now" and "my face when". Always coupled with a graphical depiction such an expressive emoji, GIF, or other image.
A spoken declaration of enthusiastic approval usually sprinkled throughout conversation. Those who hear it may safely macroexpand it to "I'm obsessed with that". It could be used in the same way as someone listening would say "uh-huh" or "go on" to informally confirm that their attention remains focused on the speaker.
Sending me
Used to indicate when someone or something induces amusement, as in "Our tech lead's source comment in the integration code absolutely sent me."
An exclamation that someone is "looking good" or seems impressive. Often used alone as a reaction or for emphasis in usages like "Did you see her bugfix? Sheesh!"
Anything or anyone noticeably enamored with a given subject. Can be used appreciatively or cheekily in sentences like "The Rust compiler catches so many bugs for me, what a simp!"
Short for "suspicious" and used to indicate distrust or disbelief. You might hear it stated that "It's sus because the tests pass but it produces the wrong output in production."

Graphical or Pictoral Expressions

It has been my experience that GIF reactions or messages are usually employed sparingly. On the other hand, emoji may be used liberally albeit with differing connotations.

See: Dead
As if to day: "I'm laughing so hard that I'm crying!"
Communicates that the sender is paying attention so closely, it's as if they're taking notes.

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