Top 42 Slang For Growing-Up – Meaning & Usage

Growing up is a journey filled with awkward moments, new experiences, and a whole lot of slang. From cringeworthy fashion trends to iconic TV shows, there are countless words and phrases that define the process of growing up. At Fluentslang, we’ve gathered a list of the top slang terms that will take you on a nostalgic trip down memory lane and remind you of all the ups and downs of coming of age. Get ready to reminisce and laugh as we explore the slang for growing up that will make you feel like a true adult.

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1. Teenager

A teenager refers to a person between the ages of 13 and 19. It is a transitional stage between childhood and adulthood. Teenagers are often characterized by their search for identity and independence.

  • For example, “I remember being a teenager and feeling like I knew everything.”
  • A parent might say, “My teenager is always glued to their phone.”
  • In a discussion about education, someone might mention, “Teenagers face a lot of pressure to succeed academically.”

2. Adolescence

Adolescence is the period of development between childhood and adulthood. It includes physical, cognitive, and emotional changes. Puberty is a specific stage within adolescence when a person’s body undergoes sexual maturation.

  • For instance, “Adolescence can be a challenging time as teenagers navigate through various changes.”
  • A teacher might say, “It’s important to understand the impact of adolescence on a student’s behavior and learning.”
  • In a conversation about parenting, someone might mention, “Puberty can be a difficult phase for both teenagers and their parents.”

3. Puberty

Puberty refers to the stage of development when a child’s body undergoes sexual maturation. It is characterized by various physical changes, such as the growth of body hair, development of secondary sexual characteristics, and the onset of menstruation in females.

  • For example, “Puberty usually begins around the age of 11 or 12.”
  • A health educator might say, “It’s important to educate teenagers about the physical changes they will experience during puberty.”
  • In a discussion about body image, someone might mention, “Puberty can be a challenging time as teenagers adjust to their changing bodies.”

4. Coming of age

Coming of age refers to the process or event that signifies a person’s transition from childhood to adulthood. It often involves rituals, ceremonies, or specific milestones that mark the individual’s new status and responsibilities.

  • For instance, “In many cultures, a sweet sixteen party is considered a coming of age celebration.”
  • A writer might say, “Coming of age stories often explore themes of self-discovery and identity.”
  • In a conversation about legal rights, someone might mention, “Turning 18 is often considered the coming of age where individuals gain certain legal privileges.”

5. Rite of passage

A rite of passage is a cultural or traditional ritual that marks a significant transition in a person’s life. It often involves a ceremony, event, or activity that symbolizes the individual’s entrance into a new stage or role within their community.

  • For example, “A bar mitzvah is a rite of passage for Jewish boys, symbolizing their entrance into adulthood.”
  • An anthropologist might say, “Rites of passage serve to reinforce cultural values and norms.”
  • In a discussion about cultural diversity, someone might mention, “Different cultures have unique rites of passage to mark important life milestones.”

6. Independence

The ability to make decisions and take actions without relying on others. Independence often refers to the transition from relying on parents or guardians to becoming self-sufficient.

  • For example, a teenager might say, “I can’t wait to move out and have independence.”
  • A person discussing personal growth might reflect, “Gaining independence was a crucial step in becoming an adult.”
  • Someone might advise a friend, “It’s important to balance independence with asking for help when needed.”

7. Responsibility

The state or fact of being accountable or responsible for something. Responsibility refers to the duty or obligation to fulfill certain tasks or roles.

  • For instance, a parent might say, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
  • In a conversation about work, someone might mention, “I was promoted because I showed great responsibility in my previous role.”
  • A teacher might remind students, “Part of growing up is taking responsibility for your actions.”

8. Maturity

The state or quality of being fully grown or developed, both physically and mentally. Maturity often refers to the ability to handle situations with wisdom, patience, and self-control.

  • For example, someone might say, “He showed a lot of maturity by apologizing for his mistake.”
  • A person reflecting on their own growth might share, “I’ve learned a lot about myself and gained maturity through life experiences.”
  • A teacher might praise a student, “Your maturity in handling conflicts is impressive.”

9. Growing up too fast

The act of experiencing the responsibilities and challenges of adulthood at a young age, often due to certain circumstances or pressures. Growing up too fast refers to the perception that someone is skipping or missing out on the typical experiences of childhood or adolescence.

  • For instance, a person might comment, “She’s growing up too fast, she should enjoy being a kid.”
  • In a discussion about societal expectations, someone might say, “Kids these days are often forced to grow up too fast.”
  • A parent might express concern, “I worry that my child is growing up too fast and missing out on important experiences.”

10. Nostalgia

A bittersweet longing for the past, often accompanied by fond memories. Nostalgia refers to the feeling of missing or yearning for moments, people, or things from one’s past.

  • For example, someone might say, “Looking at old photos always fills me with nostalgia.”
  • A person might reminisce, “I feel a wave of nostalgia whenever I visit my childhood home.”
  • A friend might share a nostalgic memory, “Remember when we used to spend summers at the beach? That was pure nostalgia.”

11. Finding oneself

The process of discovering and understanding one’s own identity, values, and purpose in life. “Finding oneself” often refers to a period of personal growth and exploration.

  • For instance, a person might say, “I’m taking a gap year to travel and find myself.”
  • In a conversation about personal development, someone might share, “Finding oneself is a lifelong journey of self-reflection and growth.”
  • A person discussing their experiences might say, “I went through a period of finding myself in my early twenties, trying to figure out who I really was.”

12. Evolving

The process of developing and changing over time. “Evolving” often refers to personal growth and transformation.

  • For example, a person might say, “I’ve been evolving and becoming a better version of myself.”
  • In a discussion about personal growth, someone might share, “Evolving requires being open to new experiences and constantly learning.”
  • A person reflecting on their journey might say, “I’ve evolved so much since I was a teenager, and I’m proud of the person I’ve become.”

13. Hormonal

Experiencing emotional fluctuations and mood swings due to changes in hormone levels, especially during puberty or certain stages of life.

  • For instance, a person might say, “I’m feeling so hormonal today, I can’t stop crying.”
  • In a conversation about teenage years, someone might share, “Being hormonal is a normal part of adolescence.”
  • A person discussing their experiences might say, “I remember feeling hormonal during pregnancy, with my emotions all over the place.”

14. Freedom

The state of being free from constraints or restrictions, and having the ability to make choices and decisions for oneself.

  • For example, a person might say, “Moving out of my parents’ house gave me a sense of freedom.”
  • In a discussion about adulthood, someone might share, “With freedom comes responsibility and the need to make important life decisions.”
  • A person reflecting on their journey might say, “Finding freedom in my own life has been a long and rewarding process.”

15. College-bound

Referring to the period of time when a person is getting ready to attend college or actively pursuing admission to a college or university.

  • For instance, a high school senior might say, “I’m college-bound and excited for the next chapter.”
  • In a conversation about higher education, someone might share, “Being college-bound comes with a mix of excitement and nerves.”
  • A person discussing their plans might say, “I’m taking college-bound courses and working hard to get into my dream school.”

16. Graduation

The act of receiving an academic degree or diploma upon completing a course of study. Graduation is often seen as a milestone in a person’s life, symbolizing their transition from one phase to another.

  • For example, “I can’t wait for graduation day and to celebrate my achievements.”
  • A student might say, “I’m counting down the days until graduation!”
  • A parent might proudly announce, “My child is graduating at the top of their class!”

17. First job

The initial employment opportunity a person has after completing their education or entering the workforce for the first time. A first job is often seen as a stepping stone towards a career and a way to gain experience.

  • For instance, “I just landed my first job at a local coffee shop.”
  • A person might say, “I’m excited to start my first job and learn new skills.”
  • Someone might ask, “What was your first job and how did it shape your career?”

18. Driver’s license

A government-issued document that grants permission to an individual to operate a motor vehicle. Obtaining a driver’s license is a significant milestone for many young people as it represents newfound independence and freedom.

  • For example, “I finally got my driver’s license and can now drive myself around.”
  • A teenager might eagerly say, “I can’t wait to get my driver’s license and go on road trips.”
  • Someone might ask, “Did you pass your driver’s license test on the first try?”

19. Part-time job

A form of employment where an individual works for fewer hours than a full-time job. Part-time jobs are often taken on by students or individuals who are looking for additional income or flexibility in their schedules.

  • For instance, “I have a part-time job at a local bookstore to earn some extra money.”
  • A person might say, “I’m juggling my part-time job with my studies.”
  • Someone might ask, “What’s your favorite part about having a part-time job?”

20. High school sweetheart

A term used to refer to a person’s romantic partner during their high school years. High school sweethearts are often seen as significant and hold a special place in a person’s memories of growing up.

  • For example, “I married my high school sweetheart and we’ve been together for over 10 years.”
  • A person might nostalgically say, “I still remember my high school sweetheart and the memories we made.”
  • Someone might ask, “Did you have a high school sweetheart, and if so, where are they now?”

21. Senioritis

Senioritis refers to a decline in motivation and effort during the final year of high school or college. It typically occurs when students become disengaged and unmotivated due to the anticipation of graduation or the belief that their grades no longer matter.

  • For example, a student might say, “I can’t focus on studying anymore, I’ve got a bad case of senioritis.”
  • Another might complain, “I have so much senioritis, I can’t wait to be done with school.”
  • A teacher might recognize senioritis in a student and say, “You need to push through senioritis and finish strong!”

22. College life

College life refers to the unique experiences and activities that students encounter while attending college. It encompasses everything from academics and social life to living on campus and participating in extracurricular activities.

  • For instance, a student might say, “I’m really enjoying college life, there’s so much to do and learn.”
  • Another might reflect on their college experience and say, “College life taught me independence and how to manage my time.”
  • A parent might ask their child about college life and say, “Tell me about your college life, I want to hear all about it!”

23. Roommate

A roommate is a person with whom you share a living space, such as a dorm room or apartment. Roommates often split rent and other expenses, and they may also develop a friendship or close bond through their shared living experience.

  • For example, a student might say, “I have the best roommate, we get along so well.”
  • Another might complain about their roommate and say, “My roommate is so messy, it’s driving me crazy.”
  • A person might ask a friend about their roommate and say, “How’s your roommate? Are you getting along?”

24. Freshman

A freshman is a first-year student, typically in high school or college. It is a term used to describe someone who is new to a particular educational institution and is often used to distinguish them from older students.

  • For instance, a freshman might say, “I’m excited and nervous to be starting high school as a freshman.”
  • Another might express their struggles as a freshman and say, “Being a college freshman is tough, everything is so new.”
  • A teacher might welcome a group of freshmen and say, “Welcome to high school, freshmen! We’re excited to have you here.”

25. Grown-ass

Grown-ass is a slang term used to describe someone who is mature, responsible, and independent. It is often used to emphasize that the person being described is fully capable of taking care of themselves and making responsible decisions.

  • For example, a person might say, “I’m a grown-ass adult, I can handle my own problems.”
  • Another might use the term to compliment someone and say, “You’re a grown-ass woman, you’ve accomplished so much.”
  • A friend might give advice and say, “You need to act like a grown-ass man and take responsibility for your actions.”

26. Popping cherries

This phrase is a slang term for losing one’s virginity, typically used by young people.

  • For example, a group of friends might be talking about their first sexual experiences and one might say, “I finally popped my cherry last night.”
  • In a coming-of-age movie, a character might confide in their best friend, “I’m nervous about popping my cherry.”
  • A teenager might ask their older sibling, “When did you pop your cherry?”

This term is often used to describe someone who is studying or working in the legal field.

  • For instance, a law student might introduce themselves by saying, “I’m a legal eagle in training.”
  • A lawyer might be referred to as a legal eagle by their colleagues or clients.
  • In a courtroom drama, a character might say, “We need a legal eagle to help us win this case.”

28. Big kid

This term is used to describe someone who is still young but exhibits behaviors or attitudes that are more typical of older individuals.

  • For example, a parent might say to their child, “You’re such a big kid now, you can help me with this.”
  • In a school setting, a teacher might say to a student, “I expect you to act like a big kid and take responsibility for your actions.”
  • A group of friends might be planning a trip and one might say, “We’re all big kids now, we can handle traveling on our own.”

29. Adult-ish

This term is used to describe someone who is not quite a full adult but is no longer a child.

  • For instance, a young adult might say, “I’m adult-ish now, I pay my own bills but still live with my parents.”
  • In a conversation about responsibilities, someone might say, “I have to do adult-ish things like grocery shopping and laundry.”
  • A person might describe their current stage of life by saying, “I’m in that weird adult-ish phase where I have some independence but still rely on my parents for certain things.”

30. #Adulting

This term is often used humorously or ironically to describe the act of doing things that are considered responsible or grown-up.

  • For example, someone might post a picture of themselves cooking a meal and caption it, “Look at me #adulting.”
  • In a conversation about life skills, a person might say, “I’m still learning how to adult, but I’m getting better.”
  • A young adult might jokingly complain, “I have to do laundry and pay bills today, #adulting is so hard.”

31. Grown and sexy

This phrase is used to describe someone who is both physically mature and sexually appealing. It implies a level of sophistication and confidence.

  • For example, “She’s not a girl anymore, she’s grown and sexy.”
  • In a conversation about dating preferences, someone might say, “I’m looking for someone who’s grown and sexy.”
  • A person might compliment someone by saying, “You’re looking grown and sexy tonight.”

32. Peter Pan syndrome

This term refers to someone who refuses to embrace the responsibilities and expectations of adulthood. It suggests a desire to remain childlike and avoid the challenges of maturity.

  • For instance, “He still lives with his parents and plays video games all day. He definitely has Peter Pan syndrome.”
  • In a discussion about career choices, someone might say, “I don’t want to get stuck in a job that makes me feel like I have Peter Pan syndrome.”
  • A person might self-identify by saying, “I’ve always had a bit of Peter Pan syndrome. I never want to lose my sense of wonder.”

33. Young at heart

This phrase describes someone who maintains a youthful outlook on life, despite their age. It suggests a sense of joy, curiosity, and enthusiasm.

  • For example, “She’s 70 years old, but she’s still young at heart.”
  • In a conversation about hobbies, someone might say, “I love skateboarding. It keeps me young at heart.”
  • A person might describe someone by saying, “He’s always up for adventure. He’s really young at heart.”

34. Age is just a number

This saying emphasizes that a person’s age does not determine their abilities, interests, or value. It suggests that one’s true nature and capabilities go beyond the limitations of age.

  • For instance, “Don’t worry about being too old to try something new. Age is just a number.”
  • In a conversation about relationships, someone might say, “I’m dating someone much older than me, but age is just a number.”
  • A person might encourage someone by saying, “You can achieve anything you set your mind to. Remember, age is just a number.”

35. Teenybopper

This term refers to a young teenage girl who is a devoted fan of popular music or teen idols. It suggests a certain level of immaturity or naivety.

  • For example, “She’s been following that boy band around for months. She’s such a teenybopper.”
  • In a discussion about music preferences, someone might say, “I used to be a teenybopper, but now I listen to more mature music.”
  • A person might describe someone by saying, “She’s always wearing the latest fashion trends. She’s definitely a teenybopper.”

36. Senior

– For example, “I can’t believe I’m finally a senior in high school!”

  • In a conversation about college, someone might say, “Seniors have the privilege of choosing their classes first.”
  • When referring to an elderly person, someone might say, “My grandparents are both seniors and still active.”

37. Grad

– For instance, “I’m so excited to be a grad and start my career!”

  • In a discussion about college, someone might ask, “How many grads do you think will attend the reunion?”
  • A proud parent might say, “My daughter is a grad and will be attending medical school in the fall.”

38. School’s out

– For example, “It’s finally summer! School’s out!”

  • In a conversation about childhood memories, someone might say, “I used to count down the days until school’s out.”
  • A teacher might announce, “School’s out, have a great summer everyone!”

39. Adulting is hard

– For instance, “I have to pay bills and do my own laundry now. Adulting is hard.”

  • In a conversation about adult responsibilities, someone might say, “I never realized how hard adulting would be.”
  • A young adult struggling with adult responsibilities might post on social media, “Adulting is hard, can I go back to being a kid?”

40. Turning the big (insert age)

– For example, “I’m turning the big 3-0 next month!”

  • In a discussion about birthday celebrations, someone might say, “Turning the big 5-0 calls for a big party.”
  • A person excited about turning 18 might say, “I can’t wait to finally turn the big 1-8 and have more freedom.”

41. Parental guidance

This term refers to the guidance and supervision provided by parents to their children. It is often used to describe the rules, advice, and support given by parents as their children navigate through life.

  • For example, a teenager might say, “I can’t go to the party without parental guidance.”
  • A person reminiscing about their childhood might say, “I miss the days when I had the comfort of parental guidance.”
  • In a discussion about parenting, someone might say, “It’s important for parents to provide strong parental guidance to their children.”

42. The good old days

This phrase is used to refer to a time in the past that is remembered fondly and seen as better or more enjoyable than the present.

  • For instance, someone might say, “I wish we could go back to the good old days when life was simpler.”
  • A person reminiscing about their childhood might say, “Those were the good old days, when we didn’t have smartphones.”
  • In a conversation about music, someone might say, “I miss the good old days of classic rock.”
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