Top 42 Slang For Grow Up – Meaning & Usage

Growing up is a journey filled with ups and downs, and along the way, we pick up new words and phrases that reflect our maturing perspectives. In this article, we’ve gathered a collection of slang terms for growing up that will resonate with readers of all ages. Let’s explore how language evolves as we navigate the path to adulthood and beyond.

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1. Grow a pair

This phrase is often used to encourage someone to be more assertive or toughen up. It implies that the person needs to show more courage or take more risks.

  • For example, if someone is hesitant to confront a difficult situation, you might say, “Come on, grow a pair and stand up for yourself!”
  • In a sports context, a coach might yell at their team, “You need to grow a pair and start playing with more aggression!”
  • A friend might jokingly say, “You’re scared of trying new foods? Grow a pair and give it a shot!”

2. Put on your big boy pants

This phrase is used to tell someone to stop behaving childishly and start acting maturely. It implies that the person needs to take responsibility for their actions or decisions.

  • For instance, if someone is complaining about a difficult task, you might say, “Put on your big boy pants and get it done!”
  • In a work setting, a supervisor might say, “It’s time to put on your big boy pants and start meeting your deadlines.”
  • A parent might say to their child, “You’re old enough now, so put on your big boy pants and clean your room.”

3. Step up

This phrase is used to encourage someone to take initiative or take on a greater role in a situation. It implies that the person needs to step forward and contribute more.

  • For example, if someone is not doing their fair share of work in a group project, you might say, “Step up and do your part!”
  • In a leadership position, you might be told, “It’s time to step up and show your team what you’re capable of.”
  • A friend might say, “If you want to succeed, you need to step up and put in the effort.”

4. Rise to the occasion

This phrase is used to describe someone who performs exceptionally well in a difficult or challenging situation. It implies that the person is able to handle the pressure and excel.

  • For instance, if someone is nervous about giving a presentation, you might say, “I know you’ll rise to the occasion and impress everyone.”
  • In a sports context, a commentator might say, “He always rises to the occasion and delivers when it matters most.”
  • A teacher might encourage their students by saying, “This is your chance to shine. Rise to the occasion and show what you’re capable of.”

5. Be a grown-up

This phrase is used to tell someone to behave like an adult and take responsibility for their actions. It implies that the person needs to show maturity and make sensible decisions.

  • For example, if someone is being irresponsible, you might say, “It’s time to be a grown-up and start taking care of your responsibilities.”
  • In a social setting, someone might say, “We’re all adults here, so let’s be grown-ups and handle this situation maturely.”
  • A parent might remind their child, “You’re old enough now, so it’s time to be a grown-up and make good choices.”

6. Be an adult

This phrase means to behave in a responsible, mature, and independent manner, similar to how an adult would.

  • For example, a parent might say to their child, “It’s time to be an adult and start taking care of your own responsibilities.”
  • A friend might give advice, saying, “You need to be an adult and handle your own finances.”
  • In a workplace setting, a supervisor might tell an employee, “It’s important to be an adult and take ownership of your mistakes.”

7. Be mature

To be mature means to display emotional and intellectual development appropriate for one’s age.

  • For instance, a teacher might tell their students, “It’s time to be mature and handle conflicts with your classmates in a respectful way.”
  • A parent might say to their teenager, “You need to be mature and make responsible decisions.”
  • In a professional setting, a coworker might advise another, saying, “You should be mature and handle disagreements with your colleagues in a professional manner.”

8. Be responsible

To be responsible means to fulfill one’s duties and obligations, and to be accountable for one’s actions and decisions.

  • For example, a boss might say to their employee, “You need to be responsible and complete your tasks on time.”
  • A teacher might remind their students, “Being responsible means bringing your homework to class.”
  • A friend might encourage another, saying, “You should be responsible and pay your bills on time.”

9. Be accountable

Being accountable means taking responsibility for one’s actions, decisions, and their consequences.

  • For instance, a manager might tell their team, “We need to be accountable for our mistakes and find ways to improve.”
  • A parent might say to their child, “You need to be accountable for your behavior and apologize when you do something wrong.”
  • In a group project, a member might admit, “I made a mistake, and I’m accountable for the negative impact it had on our team.”

10. Be dependable

To be dependable means to be reliable, trustworthy, and able to be counted on.

  • For example, a friend might say, “I know I can always count on you. You’re dependable.”
  • A coworker might compliment another, saying, “You’re very dependable. I know I can rely on you to meet deadlines.”
  • A parent might tell their child, “It’s important to be dependable and keep your promises.”

11. Be reliable

To “be reliable” means to be someone who can be counted on and trusted to fulfill their obligations or commitments. It implies being responsible and dependable in various aspects of life.

  • For example, a parent might say to their child, “You need to be reliable and do your chores without being reminded.”
  • In a work context, a manager might tell their employee, “We need you to be reliable and meet your deadlines.”
  • A friend might say to another friend, “I know I can always count on you. You’re so reliable.”

12. Be sensible

To “be sensible” means to be practical, level-headed, and able to make rational decisions. It implies having good judgment and making choices that are reasonable and responsible.

  • For instance, a person might say, “Be sensible and save your money instead of spending it all.”
  • In a discussion about career choices, someone might advise, “It’s important to be sensible and consider the long-term prospects of a job.”
  • A friend might say to another friend, “You need to be sensible and think about the consequences before taking risks.”

13. Be grown

To “be grown” means to act in a mature and responsible manner, as expected of an adult. It implies taking on adult responsibilities and behaving in a way that reflects one’s age.

  • For example, a parent might say to their child, “You need to be grown and take care of yourself.”
  • In a conversation about relationships, someone might say, “It’s time to be grown and have open and honest communication.”
  • A friend might say to another friend, “You’re not a kid anymore. It’s time to be grown and handle your own problems.”

14. Be an elder

To “be an elder” means to act as a wise and respected figure, often with the connotation of being older and having more life experience. It implies being looked up to and sought after for guidance or advice.

  • For instance, in a community setting, someone might say, “We need someone to be an elder and lead us.”
  • In a conversation about family dynamics, a person might say, “The eldest sibling often takes on the role of being an elder.”
  • A friend might say to another friend, “You have a lot of wisdom. You should embrace your role as an elder and share your insights.”

15. Be a sage

To “be a sage” means to be wise, knowledgeable, and possessing deep understanding. It implies having wisdom beyond one’s years and being able to offer profound insights or advice.

  • For example, someone might say, “He has always been a sage, offering wise words in times of need.”
  • In a discussion about philosophy, a person might mention, “Ancient sages like Socrates and Confucius were revered for their wisdom.”
  • A friend might say to another friend seeking guidance, “You should talk to him. He’s a sage and can offer valuable perspective.”

16. Be a mentor

To be a mentor means to share your knowledge and experiences with others, usually in a specific field or area of expertise. It involves guiding and teaching others to help them grow and develop.

  • For example, a seasoned professional might say, “I want to be a mentor to young entrepreneurs and help them navigate the business world.”
  • A teacher might encourage a student by saying, “You have the potential to be a great mentor to your classmates.”
  • In a conversation about career development, someone might suggest, “Find a mentor who can provide guidance and support as you progress in your field.”

17. Be a role model

Being a role model means setting a positive example for others to follow. It involves displaying good behavior, values, and habits that others can look up to and emulate.

  • For instance, a parent might say to their child, “I want to be a role model for you and show you what it means to be kind and respectful.”
  • A celebrity might use their platform to promote positive messages and say, “I strive to be a role model for my fans and inspire them to chase their dreams.”
  • In a discussion about leadership, someone might emphasize the importance of being a role model by saying, “A good leader should always lead by example and be a positive role model for their team.”

18. Be a leader

To be a leader means to take charge and guide others towards a common goal. It involves making decisions, providing direction, and motivating others to achieve success.

  • For example, in a group project, someone might step up and say, “I’ll be the leader and coordinate everyone’s tasks.”
  • A team captain might inspire their teammates by saying, “Let’s work together and be leaders on and off the field.”
  • In a workplace setting, a manager might encourage their employees by saying, “We need strong leaders who can inspire and drive our team towards success.”

19. Put on your big girl panties

This slang phrase is used to encourage someone to be mature and handle things responsibly, especially in difficult or challenging situations. It implies that one should take responsibility for their actions and face challenges head-on.

  • For instance, a friend might say to another, “It’s time to put on your big girl panties and deal with the situation.”
  • In a discussion about personal growth, someone might use this phrase to emphasize the importance of maturity and responsibility by saying, “Sometimes, you just have to put on your big girl panties and face life’s challenges.”
  • In a workplace setting, a supervisor might use this phrase to motivate an employee to take ownership of their tasks and responsibilities.
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20. Act your age

To “act your age” means to behave in a manner that is appropriate for your age. It implies that one should display maturity and behave according to societal expectations and norms.

  • For example, a parent might say to their child, “You need to act your age and stop throwing tantrums.”
  • In a conversation about social etiquette, someone might advise another person by saying, “It’s important to act your age and be respectful in formal settings.”
  • In a discussion about relationships, someone might suggest, “If you want to be taken seriously, you need to act your age and communicate maturely.”

21. Be a man

This phrase is often used to encourage someone to behave in a mature and responsible manner, typically associated with traditional gender roles.

  • For example, a father might say to his son, “It’s time to be a man and take responsibility for your actions.”
  • In a discussion about gender expectations, someone might argue, “Saying ‘be a man’ reinforces harmful stereotypes.”
  • A coach might motivate their team by saying, “It’s time to step up and be men on the field.”

22. Be a woman

Similar to “be a man,” this phrase is used to encourage someone to behave in a mature and responsible manner, specifically in relation to traditional gender roles.

  • For instance, a mother might say to her daughter, “It’s time to be a woman and handle this situation with grace.”
  • In a conversation about gender equality, someone might argue, “Telling women to ‘be a woman’ limits their potential.”
  • A mentor might advise a young woman, “Don’t be afraid to assert yourself and be a woman in the workplace.”

23. Be a lady

This phrase is often used to encourage someone, usually a woman, to behave in a polite and dignified manner.

  • For example, a grandmother might say to her granddaughter, “Remember to always be a lady, even in difficult situations.”
  • In a discussion about gender expectations, someone might argue, “Telling women to ‘be a lady’ reinforces outdated stereotypes.”
  • A teacher might remind her students, “Part of being a lady is treating others with kindness and respect.”

24. Be a gentleman

Similar to “be a lady,” this phrase is used to encourage someone, typically a man, to behave in a polite and chivalrous manner.

  • For instance, a mother might say to her son, “It’s important to be a gentleman and always hold the door for others.”
  • In a conversation about gender roles, someone might argue, “Telling men to ‘be a gentleman’ can be restrictive and reinforce stereotypes.”
  • A mentor might advise a young man, “Being a gentleman means treating everyone with respect, regardless of gender.”

25. Be a grown-ass man

This phrase is often used to emphasize the expectation of someone, typically a man, to behave in a mature and responsible manner.

  • For example, a friend might say to their buddy, “Stop acting like a child and be a grown-ass man.”
  • In a discussion about personal development, someone might argue, “Being a grown-ass man means taking ownership of your actions and decisions.”
  • A mentor might motivate their mentee by saying, “It’s time to step up and be a grown-ass man in your career.”

26. Be a grown-ass woman

This phrase is used to encourage someone to behave in a responsible and mature manner, particularly when it comes to making decisions or handling difficult situations.

  • For example, a parent might say to their daughter, “It’s time to be a grown-ass woman and start taking care of your own responsibilities.”
  • In a conversation about relationships, a friend might advise, “If he can’t handle your success, then he’s not worth your time. Be a grown-ass woman and focus on yourself.”
  • A mentor might tell a young professional, “Don’t be afraid to speak up and assert yourself in the workplace. Be a grown-ass woman and show them what you’re capable of.”

27. Be an adult about it

This phrase is used to encourage someone to approach a situation or problem with maturity and responsibility, rather than reacting impulsively or childishly.

  • For instance, in a disagreement between friends, one might say, “Let’s be adults about this and have a calm discussion to resolve our issues.”
  • In a work setting, a supervisor might advise an employee, “Instead of complaining and gossiping, be an adult about it and address your concerns directly with your co-worker.”
  • A therapist might tell a patient, “It’s time to be an adult about your past traumas and seek professional help to heal and move forward.”

28. Be a grown-up about it

This phrase is used to encourage someone to handle a situation or problem in a mature and responsible manner, rather than behaving childishly or irresponsibly.

  • For example, a parent might say to their child, “You need to be a grown-up about it and apologize for your actions.”
  • In a discussion about financial responsibility, a financial advisor might suggest, “It’s time to be a grown-up about your finances and start budgeting and saving.”
  • A friend might advise another friend, “Instead of avoiding your problems, be a grown-up about it and face them head-on.”

29. Be mature about it

This phrase is used to encourage someone to approach a situation or problem with maturity, wisdom, and emotional intelligence, rather than reacting impulsively or immaturely.

  • For instance, in a conflict between romantic partners, one might say, “Let’s be mature about it and have a calm and respectful conversation to find a resolution.”
  • In a professional setting, a manager might advise an employee, “It’s important to be mature about feedback and use it as an opportunity for growth and improvement.”
  • A therapist might tell a patient, “Being mature about your emotions means recognizing and managing them in a healthy way, rather than acting out or suppressing them.”

30. Be responsible about it

This phrase is used to encourage someone to approach a situation or problem with responsibility and accountability, taking ownership of their actions and considering the consequences.

  • For example, a teacher might say to a student, “You need to be responsible about it and complete your assignments on time.”
  • In a discussion about environmental sustainability, an activist might urge, “It’s time to be responsible about our consumption and make choices that minimize our impact on the planet.”
  • A parent might advise their child, “Being responsible about your finances means saving money and making wise spending choices.”

31. Put on your big girl pants

This phrase is often used to tell someone to stop behaving childishly and start acting maturely. It implies that the person needs to face their responsibilities and handle situations like an adult.

  • For example, a parent might say to their child, “It’s time to put on your big girl pants and clean your room.”
  • In a work setting, a supervisor might tell an employee, “You need to put on your big girl pants and take ownership of your mistakes.”
  • A friend might say to someone who is avoiding a difficult conversation, “It’s time to put on your big girl pants and have that talk.”

32. Be a grown-ass adult

This expression is used to emphasize the importance of behaving like an adult and taking on adult responsibilities. It implies that the person needs to stop acting childish and start acting maturely.

  • For instance, a parent might say to their teenager, “You need to stop acting like a child and be a grown-ass adult.”
  • In a professional setting, a coworker might tell another coworker, “It’s time to be a grown-ass adult and meet your deadlines.”
  • A friend might say to someone who is avoiding their bills, “You can’t keep avoiding your responsibilities. Be a grown-ass adult and take care of them.”

33. Be a responsible adult

This phrase encourages someone to act in a responsible and mature manner. It emphasizes the importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions and fulfilling obligations.

  • For example, a teacher might say to a student, “It’s time to be a responsible adult and turn in your assignments on time.”
  • In a financial context, a financial advisor might tell a client, “You need to be a responsible adult and start saving for retirement.”
  • A parent might say to their child, “Part of growing up is learning to be a responsible adult and taking care of your own responsibilities.”

34. Be a mature adult

This phrase emphasizes the importance of acting with maturity and responsibility. It encourages someone to handle situations in a mature way and make responsible decisions.

  • For instance, a teacher might say to a student, “It’s time to be a mature adult and handle conflicts without resorting to name-calling.”
  • In a social setting, a friend might tell another friend, “You need to be a mature adult and apologize for your actions.”
  • A supervisor might say to an employee, “As a manager, it’s important for you to be a mature adult and set a good example for your team.”

35. Be a grown woman

This phrase specifically refers to women and encourages them to behave like adult women and take on adult responsibilities. It emphasizes the importance of maturity and responsibility.

  • For example, a parent might say to their daughter, “It’s time to be a grown woman and start making your own decisions.”
  • In a professional context, a mentor might tell a young woman, “To succeed in this industry, you need to be a grown woman and take charge of your career.”
  • A friend might say to another friend, “You can’t keep relying on others. Be a grown woman and take care of yourself.”

36. Be a grown man

This phrase is used to encourage someone to behave in a mature and responsible manner, typically associated with traditional gender roles.

  • For example, a father might say to his son, “It’s time to be a grown man and take responsibility for your actions.”
  • In a discussion about gender expectations, someone might argue, “Society needs to stop pressuring men to always be a ‘grown man’ and allow them to show vulnerability.”
  • A friend might advise another, “You need to stop acting like a child and start being a grown man.”

37. Be a grown-up now

This phrase is used to urge someone to behave in a mature and responsible manner, regardless of gender.

  • For instance, a teacher might say to a student, “You’re in high school now, it’s time to be a grown-up and take your studies seriously.”
  • In a conversation about personal development, someone might say, “I realized I needed to be a grown-up now and start taking care of my own finances.”
  • A parent might remind their child, “You’re old enough to make your own decisions, so it’s time to be a grown-up now.”

38. Be a grown-up already

This phrase is used to express impatience or frustration with someone who is not behaving in a mature manner, urging them to change their behavior.

  • For example, a coworker might say to a colleague who is always late, “Come on, be a grown-up already and start showing up on time.”
  • In a discussion about relationships, someone might vent, “I’m tired of dating people who can’t be a grown-up already and communicate openly.”
  • A friend might say to another, “You need to stop relying on others to solve your problems and be a grown-up already.”

39. Be a grown-up person

This phrase is used to encourage someone to behave in a mature and responsible manner, emphasizing the importance of personal growth and development.

  • For instance, a mentor might say to their mentee, “Being a grown-up person means taking ownership of your choices and learning from your mistakes.”
  • In a conversation about self-improvement, someone might say, “I’ve been working on becoming a grown-up person by setting goals and prioritizing my responsibilities.”
  • A parent might advise their child, “Being a grown-up person means being accountable for your actions and treating others with respect.”

40. Be a grown-up individual

This phrase is used to encourage someone to behave in a mature and responsible manner, emphasizing the importance of personal autonomy and individuality.

  • For example, a teacher might say to a student, “Each of you is an independent, grown-up individual capable of making your own choices.”
  • In a discussion about personal growth, someone might say, “Becoming a grown-up individual means finding your own path and making decisions based on your values.”
  • A friend might remind another, “You’re a grown-up individual now, so it’s time to start making decisions that align with your own goals and aspirations.”

41. Be a grown-up human

This phrase is used to encourage someone to behave in a responsible and mature manner. It emphasizes the importance of taking on adult responsibilities and making rational decisions.

  • For example, a parent might say to their child, “It’s time to be a grown-up human and clean your room.”
  • In a work setting, a supervisor might tell an employee, “You need to be a grown-up human and take ownership of your mistakes.”
  • A friend might say to another friend, “Stop acting like a child and be a grown-up human about this situation.”

42. Be a grown-up adult

This phrase is similar to “be a grown-up human” and is used to urge someone to behave in a mature and responsible manner. It emphasizes the importance of taking on adult responsibilities and making wise choices.

  • For instance, a teacher might say to a student, “It’s time to be a grown-up adult and start prioritizing your schoolwork.”
  • In a relationship, one partner might tell the other, “I need you to be a grown-up adult and communicate your feelings instead of shutting down.”
  • A mentor might advise their mentee, “In order to succeed in your career, you need to be a grown-up adult and take ownership of your professional development.”