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What does it mean to say that Colorado Parents are “bussin'”?

If you don’t know, you may not be speaking the same language as your teens. But here’s a hint — here in Colorado, we’re better at it than most other parents in a recent national survey.

A crowd gathered to watch the Junior River Surf contestants. All participants were local youth from Buena Vista and Salida. Photo by Carly Winchell.

It has probably been said since time immortal that parents and their kids don’t understand each other. Through the decades the younger generation has created its own terms for what is hot (cool) or otherwise great. In fact, each generation crafts its own fabulous, quirky lingo. But these days, language evolves so fast – and if you’re the parent of a young person, what they say might just end up sounding completely alien.

To keep up with the latest additions to our language U.S. conducted a survey of 3,000 parents to find out how much they really know about the younger generations’ 2023 slang. It turns out that nationally, parents are frankly baffled about what their offspring are trying to communicate to them.

“We hope that by shedding light on 2023’s slang trends, we can help parents not just ‘keep up’ but also feel more connected to their children’s world,” said Shaun Connell from “After all, language is a vital tool for communication and understanding, and these new words are a testament to its living, breathing nature”.

Parents were quizzed on what the term ‘bussin’ means, as well as other youth expressions. One in four parents didn’t have a clue – could it mean being extremely busy, like the word ‘bustling’ (some 14 percent of parents thought this was it)? Or does it mean ‘making a lot of noise’, (the answer of six percent of parents). Five percent presumed it means arriving late, like a tardy bus, which we can kind of see the logic behind … but 75 percent of parents were pretty confident, slang-wise.

When broken down by state, U.S. found that parents in Vermont placed last when it comes to street lingo; only 25 passed. But parents in Colorado, on the other hand, scored a literate 72 percent, placing them among the most street-smart in America when it comes to their kids’ slang.

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There are some other slang words and phrases you might not have heard of (I certainly hadn’t), such as ‘rizz.’ Could this be something to do with, um, rice, and maybe mean that something is bland and tasteless, a bit like rice is? Or that something is rising? Nope – rizz means to flirt, or to charm.

This next one may be more familiar, especially to anyone who watches RuPaul’s Drag Race. To ‘slay’ does not mean to kill or destroy (well not literally, anyway) – it means to kill it in the fashion sense, where your look is so incredible that all other people’s looks are made inferior, or destroyed by it.

And this one might make the most sense of all – when someone ends a sentence or conversation by actually saying out loud the word ‘period’ – we know that in written text, the period signifies the full stop, or end of the sentence, but to voice it adds extra emphasis that there is nothing more to be said on the matter.

Language is a living, breathing thing, and as it has always done, it will continue to evolve. Now if only parents can keep up.

Editor’s Note: In its simplest form, “bussin” is used in memes to describe delicious food, oftentimes as a caption alongside images of the dish or item. Since then, bussin’ has expanded beyond the realm of food as a way to describe just about anything that’s deemed incredible. There you go, parents! For the record, I haven’t gotten beyond “Oh Snap!”